China

China logró producir autos eléctricos baratos. EE. UU. tiene que intentarlo también

Pasó muy rápido, tan rápido que tal vez no lo hayas notado. En los últimos meses, los tres grandes fabricantes de automóviles de Estados Unidos —Ford, General Motors y Stellantis, la empresa del nombre peculiar que es propietaria de Dodge, Chrysler y Jeep— comenzaron a estar en un gran aprieto.

Sé que esto puede sonar ridículo. Ford, General Motors y Stellantis obtuvieron miles de millones en ganancias el año pasado, incluso después de una larga huelga de trabajadores de la industria automotriz, y las tres empresas prevén un gran 2024. Pero hace poco, los Tres Grandes se vieron superados e imposibilitados de alcanzar sus objetivos de ventas de vehículos eléctricos al mismo tiempo que aparecía una línea de nuevos coches eléctricos extranjeros asequibles, listos para inundar el mercado mundial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un élevage d'huîtres sur la côte ouest de Kinmen, à quelques kilomètres de la ville chinoise de Xiamen. ANN WANG / REUTERS

Si l'élection de William Lai à la présidence de Taïwan, le 13 janvier dernier, réaffirme l'identité de la nation taïwanaise au sein du monde chinois, elle ouvre une nouvelle phase de tension entre les deux rives du détroit de Formose dont les conséquences, à terme, seront loin d'être négligeables. La décision unilatérale de Pékin de modifier la trajectoire de la route aérienne civile M503, près de la ligne médiane, le 31 janvier, et l'incident mortel du 15 février, confirment les contours d'une stratégie chinoise de tensions sous le seuil, aux parades incertaines.

Le 15 février 2024, deux pêcheurs chinois se sont noyés donc à environ un mile marin au large de l'archipel de Kinmen après avoir été pourchassés par les garde-côtes taïwanais.…  Seguir leyendo »

China Is Running Out of Lines to Cross in the Taiwan Strait

In 2020 the balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait began a gradual but profound shift in China’s favor.

That August, Alex Azar, then the health and human services secretary, became the highest-ranking U.S. cabinet official to visit Taiwan in more than four decades. Though he was there to talk about the pandemic, China’s People’s Liberation Army (P.L.A.) responded by carrying out large-scale military exercises around the self-governing island, sending aircraft over the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the halfway point between China and Taiwan, for only the third time in more than 20 years. Since then, China has responded to such visits and other perceived provocations by flying more than 4,800 sorties, with growing numbers of aircraft flying in locations previously seen as off-limits and conducting dozens of increasingly complex air and naval military exercises around Taiwan.…  Seguir leyendo »

A clerk counts banknotes at a bank outlet in Hai'an in east China's Jiangsu province (Image credit XU JINBAI/ Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Consumer prices in China have now fallen in five out of the last seven months, and the annual inflation rate fell to minus 0.8 per cent in January.

There is a growing risk that deflation and weak economic activity might aggravate each other, creating a kind of ‘doom loop’: prices fall because demand is weak, and demand stays weak since Chinese households reckon it’s better to delay spending in the hope that goods and services get even cheaper.

All this should have some implications for Chinese exchange rate policy: a weaker renminbi (CNY) could raise the domestic price of imported goods by enough to help unroot China’s deflationary psychology before it really establishes itself.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meeting in eastern Russia, September 2023. Mikhail Metzel / Kremlin / Reuters

North Korea has long been a source of instability, but a new development over the past year threatens to make things even worse: the country is teaming up with Russia. At a meeting in Pyongyang last July, North Korea’s defense minister, Kang Sun Nam, and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, vowed to expand their countries’ military cooperation to “resolutely stand against” their “common enemy”, the United States. Then, at a September summit with President Vladimir Putin in Russia, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toasted the Kremlin’s “sacred struggle” against “a band of evil”—a reference to Western countries—and called Putin the “Korean people’s closest friend”.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por qué Maldivas rechaza a la India?

Lejos de las guerras en Ucrania y Gaza que hoy por hoy acaparan los titulares, en un rincón del Mar Arábigo se viene desarrollando un conflicto diplomático extraño entre la India y Maldivas, que amenaza los intereses estratégicos indios.

La India y Maldivas son adversarios improbables. Con una superficie de 3,1 millones de kilómetros cuadrados, la India es 11.000 veces más grande que Maldivas, con una superficie que apenas llega a 300 kilómetros cuadrados. La población de la India de más de 1.400 millones de habitantes eclipsa los 500.000 residentes de Maldivas.

Asimismo, Maldivas ha necesitado del apoyo de la India, su vecino más próximo, en todo tipo de crisis por las que atravesó.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese soldiers at a military base in Taitung, Taiwan, January 2024. Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

Washington and its allies face many potential geopolitical catastrophes over the next decade, but nearly all pale in comparison to what would ensue if China annexed or invaded Taiwan. Such an outcome, one U.S. official put it, “would be a disaster of utmost importance to the United States, and I am convinced that time is of the essence”. That was General Douglas MacArthur in June 1950, then overseeing occupied Japan and worrying in a top-secret memo to Washington about the prospect that the Communists in China might seek to vanquish their Nationalist enemies once and for all. More than 70 years later, MacArthur’s words ring truer than ever.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Por qué China se estanca?

Ya ha pasado un año desde que China relajó las medidas de COVID cero que venían asfixiando la actividad económica, pero el país todavía no ha experimentado el rebote que los responsables de las políticas y los analistas habían anticipado. Por el contrario, los indicadores económicos del año pasado han pintado un panorama desalentador.

Las consecuencias del colapso del gigantesco desarrollador inmobiliario Evergrande en 2021 todavía no han llegado a su fin, y el sector sigue atravesando dificultades, inclusive después de que el gobierno relajara las restricciones de compra en ciudades como Guangzhou y Shanghái. La salud financiera de China también se ha deteriorado de la mano de la bola de nieve en que se convirtió la deuda de los gobiernos locales, lo que llevó a Moody´s a rebajar la perspectiva crediticia del país en diciembre.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks by Foreign Minister Qin Gang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 13, 2023. (Andy Wong/AP)

For nearly eight months, diplomats around the world have puzzled over the sudden disappearance and firing of China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang. China watchers have shared plenty of speculation, but Beijing has said nothing officially — and even the CIA doesn’t know for certain what happened.

Theories about Qin’s fall from power have focused on his relationship with a Chinese TV journalist named Fu Xiaotian. Qin, though married to another woman, was linked publicly to Fu after she had a child with an unidentified father through an American surrogate in 2022, just before he returned from his post as ambassador to Washington.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Philippine supply boat and a Chinese coast guard ship in the South China Sea, October 2023. Adrian Portu / Reuters

As China increasingly threatens to use force against Taiwan, the United States is rightly focused on the dangers of conflict over the island. But there is an equal risk of crisis, confrontation, and even war over a different area—the South China Sea. China is aggressively pursuing its claims throughout the sea, through which over $3 trillion in trade flows each year. Over the last decade, Beijing has built military bases on a series of reclaimed islands and harassed other countries that claim rights in the sea. Most recently, it has raised the risk of disaster by unsafely intercepting ships and aircraft belonging to the United States and its allies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) being welcomed by Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) in Beijing, China on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Presidency of Iran / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A Reuters report on 26 January claimed that China recently attempted to nudge Iran into reining in Houthi attacks against civilian ships in the Red Sea.

However, the report created confusion about precisely what Beijing’s demands were.
The prevailing narrative has been that China asked Iran to refrain from impeding international shipping, and to abandon its strategy of linking such attacks to the war in Gaza. However, this is misleading.

Chinese interests only

China may indeed have pressed Iran in the past weeks. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters, ‘China has been making active efforts to ease tensions in the Red Sea from the very beginning.’…  Seguir leyendo »

People walking in Shanghai, December 2022. Aly Song / Reuters

Over the past two decades, Chinese leaders have built a high-tech surveillance system of seemingly extraordinary sophistication. Facial recognition software, Internet monitoring, and ubiquitous video cameras give the impression that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has finally accomplished the dictator’s dream of building a surveillance state like the one imagined in George Orwell’s 1984.

A high-tech surveillance network now blankets the entire country, and the potency of this system was on full display in November 2022, when nationwide protests against China’s Covid lockdown shocked the party. Although the protesters were careful to conceal their faces with masks and hats, the police used mobile-phone location data to track them down.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las perspectivas económicas de China son más alentadoras de lo que parecen

El inicio de 2024 ha estado marcado por una ola de pronósticos cada vez más pesimistas para la economía de China. Mientras que el gobierno chino sigue siendo optimista, el Fondo Monetario Internacional proyecta que el crecimiento del PIB se desacelerará a 4,6% este año, con respecto a 5,4% en 2023. Por otra parte, se espera que las pérdidas del mercado bursátil chino continúen después de que los precios de las acciones cayeran a su nivel más bajo en cinco años.

Sin embargo, las perspectivas económicas de China son más alentadoras de lo que parecen. Si bien el gobierno todavía tiene que publicar su propia perspectiva para 2024, la mayoría de los economistas chinos espera que fije una meta de crecimiento anual de 5%.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tourists inspect Russian wooden dolls showing Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin, in downtown Moscow on Nov. 15, 2023. Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

As the invasion of Ukraine heads into its third year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been working nonstop to ensure diplomatic and military support amid increasing war fatigue. Russia’s influence in Europe is still visible, taking advantage of the uncertainty of European elites. A year of elections may change the geopolitical map in the same way that Slovakia turned away from its previous support for Kyiv after the 2023 election.

China is watching and learning from these processes; building its peacemaking image; and benefiting from the chaos on the international markets, buying cheap gas and oil and helping Russia’s economy with what was lost due to Western sanctions.…  Seguir leyendo »

China Is Trying to Have It Both Ways in the Middle East

There has been plenty of hand-wringing in the West about the prospect of China displacing — or at least rivaling — the United States as the world’s leading superpower. But the evolving security crisis in the Red Sea makes clear that this remains a distant prospect.

China, with a trade-led economy dependent on the free flow of commerce through chokepoints like the Bab el-Mandeb strait off Yemen, relies on the United States to protect international sea lanes. The U.S.-led military response to the Houthi militia attacks on international shipping may not ultimately be the answer to the current crisis — the Houthis, so far, appear undeterred — but the United States has at least demonstrated a clear commitment to keeping open vital trade routes that connect China to the Middle East and Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

An aerial photo showing a residential area of Country Garden in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province, on January 2, 2024. (Photo by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Last week’s news that China’s GDP grew 5.2 per cent in 2023 gave some comfort to policymakers in Beijing. The data allowed them to claim success over their target to grow the economy by around 5 per cent for the whole year.

But the mood among Chinese households and corporates is much bleaker than the data suggest; and without the post-lockdown economic bounce that supported China’s growth rate in 2023, growth looks set to weaken this year, limiting the support that China might provide for the rest of the world economy.

A deflationary trap

Chinese households are gloomy to a large degree because the value of their main asset, namely property, has been suffering losses for a considerable time now.…  Seguir leyendo »

Chinese Premier Li Qiang speaks during an annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 16. (Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Chinese Premier Li Qiang pitched his country as a solid investment destination. The Chinese economy, Li said, has “huge potential”, and choosing it “is not a risk, but an opportunity”.

His audience listened skeptically. After decades of unstoppable Chinese economic, demographic and military growth, the past two years have seen more trouble than triumphs. That has led some analysts to worry not about the rise of Chinese power but instead the irrevocable decline of China’s economy.

These fears are utterly premature. Worse, if they represent the assumptions on which U.S. policy is based, America will fail to rise to China’s challenge.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los obstáculos para una invasión exitosa de la isla por parte de China siguen siendo formidables.

Xi Jinping cree que la historia se mueve a su favor. En su visita a Vladimir Putin en Moscú el pasado mes de marzo, el líder chino le dijo al presidente ruso: "Ahora mismo, estamos asistiendo a un cambio nunca visto en 100 años y estamos impulsando este cambio juntos".

Aquella frase dio la vuelta al mundo. Las palabras de Xi fueron vistas como un claro respaldo a la invasión rusa de Ucrania - y una sugerencia de que China, también, pronto desempeñará su papel para "impulsar este cambio".…  Seguir leyendo »

Entre satellites chinois et stratégies électorales à Taïwan

Le mardi 9 janvier 2024 à 15 h 04, le ministère de la Défense de la République de Chine, Taïwan, a émis une alerte invitant la population à la plus grande prudence à la suite du passage d’un satellite chinois dans l’espace aérien de l’île.

Le message rédigé en caractères chinois et suivi d’une traduction en anglais est apparu sur les téléphones intelligents des résidents de Taïwan, suscitant de nombreuses inquiétudes, amplifiées par ce qui a été ultérieurement qualifié par le ministère lui-même comme une erreur de traduction. En effet, alors que le message en chinois indiquait « La Chine a lancé un satellite à 15 h 04 et il a déjà survolé la partie méridionale du pays.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinians inspecting the site of an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, December 2023. Sami Abu Tabak / Reuters

Over the past year, as Western diplomats shuttled frantically from one end of the world to the other in their struggle to contain an ever-growing succession of wars, crises, and other calamities—from Ukraine to Darfur to Nagorno-Karabakh to the Democratic Republic of the Congo—China leaned in to the disorder. Hamas’s October 7 attack and Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip have presented Beijing with yet another crisis to exploit. While the United States discredits itself with the countries of the global South through its seemingly unqualified support for Israel, Beijing has carefully calibrated its response to the war, paying close attention to public opinion in the developing world.…  Seguir leyendo »