False Spring? | EconVue Spotlight

posted by Lyric Hughes Hale on March 31, 2018 - 12:00am

Spring has been a bit tardy this year in the US, and I hear many other places, but not in Asia.  The title of a recent Brookings meeting at Northwestern University was “Japan, the United States, and the Future of Asia”  but the topic was Korea.  I posed the question of whether or not we are experiencing a false spring. Talks between the two Koreas, the US and China are certainly a hopeful development, but do they mask fundamental and growing divisions between the major powers in the Pacific? Together, these countries comprise half of global GDP.

Alicia GarciaHerrero,  an economist who works from Hong Kong, recently commented that tensions could be shifting from North Korea to the Taiwan Strait.  A number of actions by the Trump Administration point to increasing support for Taiwan, certain to roil Chinese policymakers.  Countering this is piquant analysis by Michael Turton, author of  The View From Taiwan who says that fears are overblown by the media and that Taiwan-China relations are better than they seem.  Making the point that no one really knows what is going on in Beijing, a pithy must-read for all China watchers is James Palmer’s piece in Foreign Policy.  There are far too many articles to cite that say the same about Washington. And now even Tokyo.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday this weekend.  


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Nobody knows anything about China
James Palmer 3/21/2018 Foreign Policy

Outside analysts rue lack of access to good Chinese economic statistics. But that does not mean that we can't understand the bigger picture. Within China, massive amounts of individual-level digital data is being collected every day. Someone is analyzing that.

Some economic consequences of China’s recent institutional reform
Alicia Garcia-Herrero 3/26/2018 LinkedIn

Long term these are extremely positive moves. Especially the focus on China’s aging population, a demographic time bomb.

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The News Lens International  3/30/18

Meanwhile, on the Taiwan side, everyone is kicking back and downing margaritas. We don't look at events using the conventional interpretive frameworks that focus on promoting China as a serious participant in the international system and marginalizing Taiwan. We don't have to sell papers or drive clicks to our websites. And we've seen this happen a hundred times before.

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Ben Westcott and Serenitie Wang 3/17/2018 CNN

“Resistance and confusion” - change always exacts a price, at least in the short term. Expect a go-slow period in China as historic levels of reorganization take hold.

President Trump signs the Taiwan Travel Act
Duncan DeAeth 3/17/2018 Taiwan News

Observations on Section 301
Derek Scissors 3/22/2018 AEI

Analysis of the impact of new China tariffs and the case for imposing them.

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Dirk van der Kley 12/1/2017 The Diplomat

Highlights a key concern about China’s lending to poorer countries. If there is a downturn in the world economy, or interest rates increase, will they be able to repay their debt? Negative conditions could hit all of these countries simultaneously.

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Wang Xiaoxia and Pan Che 3/16/2018 Caixin Global

This is an important surprise. Are plans to institute property taxes in China on a permanent hold?

Blockchain & Internet

Newly appointed PBOC governor once called Bitcoin ‘inspiring’, praised its accessibility
Helen Partz 3/19/2018 Cointelegraph

Yi Gang received his doctorate from the U of Illinois at Champaign in 1986, one of the world's foremost innovation hubs.

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Zheng Yongnian China Development Forum 2018 Background Paper

Key white paper on the opportunities and hazards of blockchain for China presented at the China Development Forum in Beijing. Overall bullish with Chinese characteristics.

The new ways to save Crypto from Quantum
Alyssa Hertig 3/17/2018

The real threat to cryptocurrencies is not regulation, but another technology.

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The unglamorous side of AI.


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Bruno Tertrais 3/20/2018 Taylor & Francis Online

The Russian nuclear problem is real and serious – but it is political more than it is military.

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Benn Steil and Benjamin Della Rocca 3/20/2018 Council on Foreign Relations

Inside the steel fence.

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Dennis Rodkin 3/16/2018 Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago home values have not risen as fast as LA or NY- still, underwater mortgages are now 10% vs 33% at their height in 2012.

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Asit K. Biswas & Kris Hartley 12/8/2017 World Economic Forum

Asia is facing huge demographic challenges, accompanied by significant health threats due to behavioral changes, the environment, and simply, old age.