Archive for December 7, 2010
The Long Arm of the Yuan
Morocco, the Philippines and Egypt are all close U.S. allies that have received billions of dollars in military and civilian aid from America. But all are among 19 countries boycotting the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony this week honoring Chinese dissident Liu Xiabo.
While Morocco, whose relationship with the U.S. goes back to the 18th Century, will be getting more than $700 million in economic aid from the U.S. over the next five years, the North African kingdom also has developed “substantial trade interests” with China — including the sale of Moroccan phosphates.
The story is much the same with the the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The British newspaper, The Telegraph sees the boycott as a sign of China’s growing influence and Washington’s waning global prestige.
Coupled with China’s reluctance or inability to rein in the bellicose actions of its client state, North Korea, China’s use of trade and the yuan as a cudgel makes us wonder how much of a strategic threat China poses for the U.S. in the future. In addition to its growing arms buildup, China has been sabre-rattling over territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam in the waters around China. It is also buying up resources and building infrastructure in Africa and Latin America. China also wants to be a player in the Arctic Ocean, where melting ice could open up a shorter shipping route to the West for Chinese goods.