Giant on the move
We’re merging our Changing China and Raw Japan pages into Global News Journal, our main forum for analysis and discussion on international news. You’ll find entries on China here and Japan here. Please join us in our new home.
from Sebastian Tong:
The growing acrimony in the international debate over China's currency policy has led some to warn that Beijing could dig in its heels if pushed to hard to let its yuan rise.
But Barclays Capital says Beijing could let its currency strengthen as early as next month, notwithstanding its public resolve against Washington's threat to label it as a currency manipulator.
from Global News Journal:
A performer holds over-sized deck cards in front of the Resorts World Sentosa casino Feb. 14 (REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez)
At least 264 people in Singapore have asked to be put on a list that would prevent them from entering the city state's newly opened casino. Except for nine housewives and 19 unemployed people, the rest had jobs and probably families that they did not want to hurt with a gambling problem. Family members who think a relative might have a gambling problem can also apply to have them banned.
I just discovered roller disco in China! The oh so 1980s disco craze is still rolling on in China due to a huge following from the country’s masses of migrant workers.
On a regular weeknight, the Xinxiang roller skating rink in one of Shanghai’s less fancy districts is teeming with crowds of young migrant workers, mostly in their 20s.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
The Real News had an interview last week with former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski who talks about how U.S. policy is playing out across Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China. The second part of the interview covers his support for the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, but here is what he has to say about Pakistan and the regional dynamics:
"We are in Afghanistan because we have been there for 8 years, now getting out is easy to say, but by now if we get out, quickly, the question arises, what follows? Is there going to be again a very sort of militant regime in Afghanistan which might tolerate al Qaeda's presence and beyond that is now a new issue, namely the conflict in Afghanistan has come to be connected with the conflict in Pakistan. Pakistan is an important country of 170 million people which has nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons, and delivery systems, delivery systems to the entire region around so we have to think much more responsibly on how to deal with this problem ... "
Reuters Television recently visited the ice sculpture competition at the International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, capital of China’s frozen Heilongjiang province.
If you would like to make your own ice sculpture, please follow the simple instructions in the video below.
from Global News Journal:
(Photographs by Lee Jae-won)
North Korea said on Tuesday it had detained a U.S. citizen who entered its territory, apparently confirming a report that an American activist crossed into the
state to raise awareness about Pyongyang's human rights abuses. Robert Park, 28, walked over the frozen Tumen river from
China and into the North last Friday, other activists said. The Korean-American told Reuters ahead of the crossing that it was his duty as a
Christian to make the journey and that he was carrying a letter calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to step down.
Park had an exclusive interview with Reuters last week before starting on his journey. The following are excerpts from the conversation. He requested that the comments be held until he was in North Korea.
Taiwan and China, once bitter political rivals, jubilantly exchanged gifts after upbeat trade talks this week. But the festive atmosphere faded when Taiwan’s top policymaker Lai Shin-yuan reminded visiting Chinese negotiator Chen Yunlin of an ominous, obvious fact: Taiwan’s public feels “uncomfortable” with China aiming missiles at it.
Taiwan accuses China of pointing 1,000 to 1,500 short-range or mid-range missiles in its direction to deter any move toward de jure independence. Taiwan is self-ruled today but China claims it. Missiles, however, weren’t on this week’s can-do agenda. Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou has said China-Taiwan talks for now should avoid political issues until more mutual trust accumulates through discussion of lighter topics such as trade.
And Lai’s statement did little good on the surface. Taiwan’s Chinese-language China Times newspaper said the Chinese negotiator replied that Beijing is in no hurry to discuss political issues. Another Taiwan paper, the United Daily News, reported that negotiator told Lai the missile issue would take time to solve.
Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” stadium, the tangled steel structure that starred as the focal point of the 2008 Summer Games, has been dressed up for winter in hopes of drawing post-Olympics visitors — and their cash.
Transformed into a winter-themed sports park, the stadium — which in its glory days packed some 80,000 cheering spectators into row after row of seats — now includes snowboard and ski slopes inside the inner ring, as well as a short toboggan tube, all covered in man-made snow.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
When President Barack Obama suggested in Beijing last month that China and the United States could cooperate on bringing stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and indeed to "all of South Asia", much of the attention was diverted to India, where the media saw it as inviting unwarranted Chinese interference in the region.
But what about asking a different question? Can China help stabilise the region?