China’s development bank plans test rising power’s strategic shift

In an influential speech in 2005, then-US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick called on China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international community. To optimists, China’s recent efforts in creating high-profile international development banks shows that it is gradually embracing that role.

China signed an agreement in July with the four other BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa – to create the New Development Bank (NDB) to provide loans and liquidity to member nations. Just three months later, Beijing pioneered the effort to create an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance development projects in the region. Twenty nations as diverse as Qatar, India, Singapore and Thailand signed on as founding members. China plans to provide the majority of the capital required to finance the new bank’s operations, with the headquarters located in Beijing.

The US and its allies view the China-backed AIIB with deep suspicion. It is an open secret that Washington has successfully pressured Australia and South Korea to refrain from joining the new development bank. What explains such hostility toward the Chinese effort to take a larger role in regional and global governance? Continue reading

China Leapfrogs the U.S. in World Trade

Another indication of the decline of America’s economic and geopolitical influence

China overtook the United States in 2013 to become the world’s biggest trading nation, ending many decades of American trade dominance, according to data released by the two countries.

China’s total exports and imports of goods for 2013 hit $4.16 trillion. The U.S. hasn’t yet released its final figures for the year, but its trade of goods for the first 11 months totaled $3.5 trillion, which puts it considerably behind Beijing. Continue reading