News Article

Xi Jinping’s right-hand man moved to improve Japan ties

Xi Jinping tasks Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan with bolster ties with Japan

The new mandate has been given to China’s Vice-Chairman Wang Qishan, President Xi Jinping‘s closest assistant and the former enforcer of the leader’s comprehensive anti-corruption campaign: to improve relations with Japan.

China’s relations with Japan have historically been turned to escape a crisis. After the 1989 assault on Tiananmen Square, Beijing moved to reinforce its ties with Tokyo to break its international isolation.

Wang’s appearance at the top of Japanese diplomacy could reflect Xi Jinping’s rough terrain, including the potentially embarrassing chance of China failing to meet its predecessor’s goal of doubling GDP per capita by 2020, compared to 2010 levels.

Hu Jintao declared the big goal in his last speech to the nation before he became the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

It was seven years ago. Today, the risk of missing this goal is lingering in the Chinese government’s economic corridors.

“There was a real possibility that Xi Jinping would fail to reach the goal passed on to him by Hu,” one person said. Once ridiculed as an incompetent leader with little success, Hu suddenly finds herself praised for having had a stable financial hand and perhaps for supervising the end of a period of the golden rule for Chinese economics.

The Chinese central bank official expressed confidence immediately after the 2012 national conference of the Party where he was forecasting that doubling GDP “can be achieved one or two years ahead of schedule.” But the situation changed dramatically with the China economy growing 6 per cent realistically in the July-September quarter of 2019, its slowest growth rate since the 1992 period.

Macroeconomic policies and the Chinese trade war with the United States continue to increase economic pressure.

The Chinese government is now somewhat in desperation expected to inflate past GDP figures based on a new small business survey.

Initially, China was said to require at least 6.2% growth in 2019 and 2020 to meet the GDP goal. But the target can be reached with rising revisions of previous GDP figures even if growth slows slightly below 6 per cent in 2020.

Call it a wand of magic.

Chinese GDP figures in a country which strictly regulates what people can say about the economy is politically sensitive.

An influential economist who has been said to be Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s advisor recently predicted that growth “will not surpass 5 per cent on average.” over the next decade. In a video widely circulated inside China, the economist declared, “Given the severity of the Chinese economy, it is important to secure growth of 4 per cent first.”

But Chinese economic statistics are unquestionably inflated. The Xi Government itself proceeded to warn local officials not to pump up local growth figures and report to the central government in error.

Xiang Songzuo, a professor at the University of Renmin in China, stressed that the growth rate for the quarter between July and September could be lower than the official figure of 6%.

Xiang said Chinese growth figures do not aggregate in a recent Nikkei interview given the factors of government tax revenues and corporate incomes. He’s right, and there are alarm bells among party leaders.

On Friday, the large 25-member Politburo of the party held a meeting and reaffirmed “six stabilities” in the economic policies of next year.

The top of the list is job stability, suggesting that despite 6% growth, many countries envy the pace.

In the meantime, there are no references to debt reduction or property speculation reduction. This indicates that the development of the economy is more important than the introduction of structural reforms.

Another exciting passage was made. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the Politburo spoke about “transforming external pressure into motivation for deepening reform and further opening-up, and focusing on running China’s affairs well,”

The unfamiliar statement suggests a shift from the US rejection of the structural reform demands that have been maintained by the administration since May. Overall, Xi is on a rough road. Relations between China and the United States are tense. The economy of China is in dire straits. And Beijing is being criticised internationally for its hard-line approach to the autonomous region of Xinjiang Uighur and Hong Kong.

China’s difficulties are often reflected in the layout of state-run Chinese Central Television news stories. CCTV’s topic on Friday night was the Politburo meeting of the day, which discussed the need to avoid an economic crisis. After this chapter, there were reports critical of the Uighur Human Rights Protection Act adopted by the United States. Parliament of Representatives.

CCTV then surprisingly broadcast a story about Japan, showing extended footage of Wang’s talks with the Secretary-General of the Japanese Secretariat for National Security, Shigeru Kitamura.

The high-profile coverage of the event is essential: media reports in China are often propaganda vehicles coordinated by the advertising department of the party.

In the latter’s first term as party leader Wang headed Xi’s flagship anti-corruption drive. While Wang is not among the approximately 200 members of the Central Committee, he is currently the “eighth member” of the 7-man Politburo Permanent Committee.

Wang also has many friends on Wall Street and has, for a long time been responsible for changing China’s economic ties with the United States. But Wang’s supernatural influence seems to has diminished after President Donald Trump got to power. His role in China’s relations with the US has recently been limited. Then, he began to take over the relationship between China and Japan.

In October, Wang visited Japan for the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito. Last week, at the direct request of Xi Jinping, Wang visited Kitamura.

China has historically chosen to escape the crisis through its relations with Japan. China faced economic sanctions from the West in 1989 after the military crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations on Beijing Tiananmen Square. In the end, enhanced ties with Japan helped China escape its international isolation.

Now Beijing is giving top priority to Xi Jinping’s planned visit to Japan in April in the face of a possible crisis in its ties with Washington. Sino-Japanese links are a world away from when tensions erupted over Japan’s nationalisation of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea seven years ago.

A wave of anti-Japanese demonstrations in China has sparked the nationalisation, and many Japanese companies have been vandalised by angry protesters, tilting bilateral ties into their lowest level.

China is now moving closer to Japan rapidly.

The recent release of a Japanese professor in Beijing is closely connected.

Lim Chuan-tiong, a professor at the Wuhan Research Center for Japanese Studies in Chinese Hubei Province, said that “the early resolution of the case in detention can be welcomed as there were even initiatives to cancel China trips among Japanese scholars.

But Lim also warns Japan against working too excitingly. How much time does the underlying trend to improve Chinese-Japanese relations last? They are closely linked to the new US-China cold war,’ he said.

Paradoxically, Japan’s strategic value will decrease significantly if China’s economy begins to smoke and US relations stabilise. Seven years ago, the wave of anti-Japanese demonstrations across China showed how rapidly connections could develop.

This is international politics’ harsh reality.

 

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