World News Brief, Wednesday November 18

Obama calls for human rights, changes mind on Copenhagen; Pirates capture North Korean chemical tanker; IAEA demands "clarification" from Iran; Taiwan banks to open in China; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama in China

US President Barack Obama achieved mixed results (WashPost) during his visit with Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Beijing. Hu and Obama pledged cooperation on climate change, the economy, and military relations. Obama called for "universal rights" and talks between Beijing and Tibet's Dalai Lama. There were no deals or signs of progress on issues such as China's currency, which the United States and many of China's trading partners view as undervalued and a major cause of the trade deficits countries have with China. There was also no discussion of China's massive US debt holdings, which experts say limit Obama's leverage against China.

Hu called for the two countries to oppose trade protectionism, while both Obama and Hu agreed to push for (BBC) North Korea to reenter stalled talks on its nuclear program. Obama's comments indicated hope that a deal could be struck on climate change in Copenhagen, which contrasted his less ambitious statement on the matter at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum on Saturday.


In the New York Times, Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularick say "Chimerica," a term used to describe the combination of the Chinese and American economies driving global growth, is dying and serves China better than America and the rest of the world.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal says the U.S. currency strategy is a "dangerous game" that could result in capital controls from Asian countries trying to stem the tide of "hot money," as well as political backlash from China.

CFR's Steven Dunaway writes that China's economic growth and massive imbalances with the United States have given rise to some myths about the nature of the two powers' relationship, which can impede sound policymaking.


A CFR Backgrounder examines the sizeable trade and currency imbalances between China and the United States, which have fueled tensions over China's exchange-rate policies vis-à-vis the dollar and have intensified debate over the proposed remedies to the problem.


PACIFIC RIM: Cross-Strait Banking

Taiwan announced Monday (Xinhua) that it signed several agreements with China to allow Taiwanese banks and securities companies to do business in China, a significant step in improving economic relations between the two rivals.



IAEA report demands more information on Iran's nuclear program.
Afghanistan launches anti-corruption unit.
Somali pirates capture North Korean tanker.


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