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Posts Tagged ‘China’

On January 19th the Council was fortunate to host H.E. Zhou Wenzhong, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China. The Ambassador expressed his optimism about current US-China relations and noted that both nations have much in common but should respect and accommodate each others’ core interests. Ambassador Zhou took a number of questions from the audience on a range of topics, including the issue of Google’s potential withdrawal from China, US perceptions of the People’s Republic and the importance of student exchanges.

To listen to the entire program with Ambassador Zhou, visit our online audio archive. To read about China’s recent warning to the US on account of President Obama’s scheduled meeting with the Dalai Lama, visit The New York Times.

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The World Affairs Council was honored to host the President of Kosovo, Dr. Fatmir Sejdiu, on January 12. As the leader of the world’s youngest country, Dr. Sejdiu is optimistic about Kosovo’s future, but also recognizes the many challenges it faces. Regionally, Kosovo is challenged by Serbia’s continued refusal to acknowledge the state’s independence. Globally, Kosovo has only been recognized by 65 of the 192 sovereign UN member states, including the United States and 22 of the 27 European Union member states; notably absent from this group are Spain, Russia and China. As Kosovo’s second anniversary approaches, the president ended on a positive note: “We can’t forget, but we can move forward!”

To listen to the entire program with President Sejdiu, please visit our online archive. To read about the latest country to recognize Kosovo’s independence, Mauritania, click here, and to learn more about the Serbian position, read the recent New York Times interview with Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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According to a Foreign Policy magazine article by Robert Fogel in the January/February issue, China’s economy will reach $123 trillion dollars in 2040. That’s almost three times the economic output of the entire world in 2000.

To continue the discussion about China and its relationship to the rest of the world, join the World Affairs Council on Tuesday, January 19 for “US-China Relations: Present and Future” with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Zhou Wenzhong. He will discuss the significance of strong US-China bilateral relations, as well as offer the Chinese perspective on its growing role in the world.

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Ambassador Richard Jones, Deputy Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, joined the Council last week to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2009. Released earlier this month, the report examines two scenarios: the Reference Scenario and the 450 Scenario. The first tracks changes in world energy supply and demand if government policies do not change, while the second shows what would happen were governments to dramatically alter their carbon emissions so that the level of carbon in the atmosphere is 450 parts per million (ppm). Ambassador Jones acknowledged the difficulty and cost of making the 450 scenario a reality, but said that we must aim for it nonetheless. Energy efficiency, using less energy to do the same amount of work, will be key and, he believes, a price is going to have to be put on carbon. He ended the presentation with positive news. Although China, Russia, and India are not members of the OECD or the IEA, they have been working with the International Energy Agency for the last few years to bring their policies and practices closer to those of its member states.

To listen to the entire presentation, visit our online audio archive.

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Zachary Karabell, noted author and economic trend analyst, will be joining the Council on October 21 to discuss the economic relationship between China and the United States and the speed at which it is changing. This week Karabell wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Deficits and the Chinese Challenge,” which uses the post-war British experience to warn of the challenges faced by a superpower in debt.

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After 60 years of Communist rule, the People’s Republic of China celebrated their anniversary today with military demonstrations, parades, and fireworks. Hu Jintao, Communist Party leader and President, spoke in Tiananmen Square from the same spot Mao Zedong had declared the creation of a new China: “[We] have triumphed over all sorts of difficulties and setbacks and risks to gain the great achievements evident to the world. Today, a socialist China geared towards modernization, the world and the future towers majestically in the east. We have realized the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

You can read more about the anniversary celebration in this article from the New York Times and watch highlights from the celebration below.

As the People’s Republic of China celebrates its 60th anniversary, on Monday, October 5th, the World Affairs Council will be hosting a distinguished panel of China experts who will examine the future role for democracy in the People’s Republic of China.

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The construction of the Nabucco pipeline, slated for completion in 2012, is part of the effort to reduce European dependence on Russian gas amid concerns and fears that Russia, the supplier of between 30 and 40% of Europe’s natural gas, will use its economic leverage for political gains. However, recent developments in Turkmenistan, China, Iran, Turkey, and Europe itself, raise many questions and uncertainties regarding the future of the Nabucco pipeline. What are the new implications of and aims for building such a pipeline? Is continued construction necessary? What are the benefits and dangers of using the Nabucco pipeline—or rather the promise of its discontinuation—as a political bargaining chip? Steve LeVine, foreign affairs and energy correspondent for BusinessWeek and author of The Oil and the Glory and Putin’s Labyrinth, joined the Council and the Young Professionals International Forum (IF) last night to share his thoughts and insights into pipeline politics and Russia’s new energy diplomacy. Full program recordings will be available soon at our online archive. 

For more on pipeline politics, check out this article from Deutsche Welle on the recently signed agreement between Russia and Turkey to build the South Stream pipeline, a new rival to the Nabucco pipeline.

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Award winning photojournalist Paolo Woods joined the Council last night to share a stunning visual account of the economic, social, and environmental impact of Chinese investment in Africa. His photographs, published in the recently translated book China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing’s Expansion in Africa, reveal a lesser-known story of Chinese economic success and uncover how “Made in China” has become increasingly synonymous with “Extracted in Africa.” Woods’ photographs also highlight Chinese contributions to infrastructure and development across the continent where colonial powers before them had failed. Perhaps the most intriguing photographs in the series are those that capture everyday life of Chinese in Africa. Despite the success of economic cooperation, social and cultural isolation persists. A full video recording of the program, including Paolo Woods’ complete series and commentary, is now avaliable here on our online archive. Below is one of the amazing photographs from China Safari and a quick video clip of the event.

Mr. Wood was born in Shanghai in 1948 and arrived in Nigeria at the end of the 70¹s were he stared an industrial empire that includes today about 15 factories with more then 1600 workers, construction companies, hotels and restaurants. He is an official adviser to the president and has obtained the title of African chief and the authorization to use police cars as his own which helps in the monstrous Lagos traffic jams. He uses as well the police as private bodyguards, like here on the construction site of 544 villas built at record speed on the Lekki peninsula near the headquarters of the Chevron oil company.

Mr. Wood (pictured above) was born in Shanghai in 1948 and arrived in Nigeria at the end of the 70's were he stared an industrial empire that today includes about 15 factories with more then 1600 workers, construction companies, hotels and restaurants. He is an official adviser to the president and has obtained the title of African chief and the authorization to use police cars as his own, which helps in the monstrous Lagos traffic jams. He uses as well the police as private bodyguards, like here on the construction site of 544 villas built at record speed on the Lekki peninsula near the headquarters of the Chevron oil company.

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Eat food. Sound simple? Not according to Michael Pollan. In his most recent book, In Defense of Food, Pollan uses fourteen pages alone to define “food,” as opposed to what he calls “edible food-like substances.” In his lecture, “The Politics of Food: Changing the Way the World Eats,” Pollan argued that society’s obsession with discovering the “evil nutrient” and our drive to manufacture “nutritious” food have created a crisis of the American diet. Pollan pointed out that throughout history and across geographical regions, humans have thrived off a diverse array of diets, from seal blubber to corn. But as populations adopt a “Western diet” (one low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and high in processed foods often misleadingly marketed as healthy), they predictably develop a common set of chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. This in turn drives up the cost of healthcare, as is already evident in the United States and is quickly becoming the case in developing countries such as China.

What roles do culture, politics, and economics play in shaping the American diet? How does this impact other issues such as healthcare reform and climate change? What simple rules can we follow to improve our diets and approach to nutrition and to ultimately create a healthier society?

Did you miss Michael Pollan’s lecture? Click here for audio and video recordings of the program. Don’t forget to become a fan of the World Affairs Council on Facebook and to click here to follow us on Twitter.

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Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary 0f the 1959 Tibetan demonstrations against China’s presence in Tibet – protests that sent the 14th Dalai Lama and thousands of others into exile in India.  In remarks made yesterday, the Dalai Lama harshly denounced the Chinese Communist Party  – saying that “through a series of repressive and violent campaigns” they have “thrust Tibetans into such depths of suffering and hardship that they literally experienced hell on earth,” as quoted by a NY Times article today.

Here at the Council last night, we heard from Tenzin N. Tethong,  a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and former Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet in Dharamsala. Update: He highlighted the geopolitical implications of China’s invasion of Tibet, and cited these as further reason why Tibet should be granted greater autonomy – not only for the sake of the Tibetan people and the preservation of Tibetan culture but to enhance Tibet’s ability to act as a buffer between China and India once again.  Although talks between the Tibetan and Chinese governments remain at a standstill, Tenzin imparted a real sense of hope among Tibetans for the future.  Their “human spirit is very strong,” he said, and they will not give up.

The program will be available soon in our audio/video archive, and you can read more about Tibet’s recent past in a Human Rights Watch report released yesterday.

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