Thursday, January 14, 2010

Op-Ed Contributor - A Smoking Dragon in Sheep's Clothing -

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    • On climate change, trade liberalization, currency and related issues, China — despite its emergence as a financial and trade Goliath — defines itself as a developing country and expediently seeks to join hands with poor nations so it can shield practices like manipulating the value of its currency, the renminbi, maintaining an abnormally high trade surplus, restricting goods manufactured by foreign companies in China from entering its markets, and continuing to bring on line two new coal-fired power plants every week.

      But on political and security issues, it sees itself as without a peer in Asia, and is greatly enthused by the idea of a U.S-China “Group of Two.”

      If a U.S.-China global diarchy were needed on any issue, it is on countering accelerated global warming. But on that issue, as Copenhagen revealed, China is not the self-touted rising superpower but a scheming power that uses poor states as a front to obstruct progress through procedural wrangling.

    • China’s practices are hurting poor and rich countries alike.
    • Copenhagen thus was a turning point in that respect. China, the world’s largest and longest-surviving autocracy that still flouts international norms on trade, human rights and currency, is likely to come under greater pressure to fall in line or be seen as a self-serving power whose interests are at odds with the rest of the world — both developed and developing.

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