Spurred by China's economic success in Africa, the United States this month held its first-ever summit with the leaders of the continent. Presidents and prime ministers streamed into Washington for three days of discussions with President Barack Obama and participation in the first U.S.-Africa business forum with business leaders.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its 2014 assessment of the Chinese economy, has advised the country to adopt lower growth targets and to put more emphasis on enacting reforms made public last November. Slower growth now will lead to higher, sustainable growth later, it said, but if reforms are not put in place, GDP growth may well plummet.
In a landmark judgment, a U.S. appellate court has ruled as unconstitutional a decision by an American intergovernmental agency and by President Barack Obama to refuse to allow a Chinese-owned company to buy wind farms in Oregon.
Almost exactly 70 years after the signing of the Bretton Woods agreement, five major emerging economies, known collectively as BRICS, have created new institutions that would initially supplement and could eventually replace the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which have failed to respond adequately to the needs of a changing world.
The political track of the United States-China strategic and economic dialogue held last week in Beijing was beset by bickering, such as that over China's maritime disputes and charges and countercharges over cyber espionage, with little of substance achieved. Things were different, however, on the economic track, where there was movement on negotiating a high-quality bilateral investment treaty and reduction of government intervention in the value of the Chinese currency.
While China seems to be an increasingly confident actor on the world stage, within the country, there is a serious lack of confidence in the government, with those who have thrived within the system eager to leave the country, taking their money with them.
Four years ago, China was crowned the world'ssecond largest economy, having overtaken Japan. Three months ago, the World Bank said that in purchasing power parity terms, China would become number one this year, surpassing the United States.
Five years after the global climate change summit in Copenhagen, when the United States and China failed to reach a binding agreement, the situation has improved though much remains to be done if the world is to reach an accord in Paris next year to replace the Kyoto Protocol.
Last month's US$400 billion, 30-year China-Russia deal on natural gas, the biggest such deal ever, has implications beyond energy resources and Sino-Russian relations. For one thing, it reaffirms a decision by major emerging economies to move away from the U.S. dollar into their national currencies. At the same time, it is a big step toward the internationalization of the renminbi, or yuan, China's national currency.
Last autumn, half a year after assuming office as China's president, Xi Jinping invoked the ancient Silk Road of the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago and called for the forging of contemporary trading routes. In Kazakhstan, he urged the creation of a modern-day “Silk Road Economic Belt,” stretching from China into Europe. The following month, in Indonesia, he called for the building of a “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century.”