Barely covered by Western media, the situation in the Pacific Rim is not improving. The U.S. has been disengaging from other regions and focusing its energy in this area of the world, and this has created considerable tensions among the countries of the region. A few weeks ago, Beijing was infuriated by the announcement that South Korea will start using a U.S. missile system in 2017.
On Saturday the official newspaper of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, did not spare any criticism, even making an open and real threat against the United States. The editorial stated: “you will pay.”
This is not a threat to be taken lightly. Beijing feels surrounded, almost all the countries on its borders are “against” the giant — although Manila can be a wildcard for Beijing — despite its attempts to bring back to Pyongyang some sort of diplomatic decency. The risk of incidents is stagnating in an area prey to social transformations that foment nationalism, increasing the risks. My attempt to make sense of it: In this area, where social transformations are fomenting nationalist movements, the risk of incidents increases.
The Chinese yuan becomes part of the IMF basket
For sure it is a great success, but is it premature? And, will it benefit Beijing? This is will be clarified in the near future. Certainly the inclusion of the yuan in the basket of Special Drawing Rights of the International Monetary Fund is a historical fact.
The yuan (rmb) was added in early October. It certainly is a diplomatic success for China, which had been trying for years to get this status, especially after the entry into the WTO (and it hopes that this will also lead to the status of “market economy”). The news in China has been coupled to the celebrations for the festival of the People’s Republic, which was founded by Mao on Oct. 1, 1949.
Christine Lagarde, the president of the IMF, has called the inclusion of the yuan as the fifth currency in the basket “an important and historic milestone” for the international financial systems, because it represents the recognition of the progress China has made in the reform of its financial and monetary assets. The yuan’s weight in the basket is equal to 10.92 percent, only behind the U.S. dollar (41.73 percent) and the euro (30.93 percent). The other currencies are the Japanese yen and the British pound.
Xi has targeted the Young Communist League to ‘consolidate’ his power
With a net cut to the budget, along with a series of “political maneuvers,” the secretary and president Xi Jinping are apparently trying to reduce the great power of the Young Communist League, the fiefdom of former President Hu Jintao and the current Premier Li Keqiang.
Xi is already preparing for the 2017 conference, when the new members of the Central Office of the Politburo will be elected. Only Xi and Li will hold the top and second positions in the seven-member group. The other five must be replaced due to their age.
The appointments will be critical because in 2022, when the new leaders of the party will have to decide who will succeed President Xi. And the latter, like his predecessors, tries to make his moves in advance, to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
There are three major groups within the party. First, the one to which Xi belongs: the “Zhejiang” group, from the province where Xi was secretary from 2002 to 2007. This group is opposed to the second one, the League. In the background there is a third group, from “Shanghai,” with close ties to the CCP grand old man Jiang Zemin.
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