The International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy director of Asia and Pacific Department Kenneth Kang told media last April 15, 2020 that “News of the widespread re-opening of (Chinese) firms and the return of employees to work give us hope that we will see a recovery in the second quarter.”
The IMF in its spring World Economic Outlook report released a day before, also had an astonishing projection for the Chinese economy at the end of 2020 and 2021: “China’s economy will likely grow at 1.2 per cent this year and rebound strongly to 9.2 per cent in 2021.
The U.S economy however won’t fully recover until the mid-2020s, according to Moody’s Mark Zandi writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer on April 23, 2020. The massive U.S. government and household debt, the Covid-19 damage to its service sector constituting 70% of its economy and U.S. fracking oil collapse.
That is a snapshot of what the world and the Philippines should expect in the coming years and an imperative to factor in for the economic and welfare planning of every region and nation, especially the Philippines which dragged away by anti-China agitators from blooming ties with the global engine for recovery -China.
China, the global heavy-lifter
In 1998 and 2008 China has been the heavy-lifting rescuer of the Asian regional economy and the global economy, and few Filipinos know and appreciate this. In 1998 China maintained the value of its currency hence supported the value of other Asian currencies under financial attack by the West, organized the Chiang Mai Initiative funds swap.
In the 2008 Financial Crash of the U.S. and Western banking system China supported those economies by pump priming the global economy with a multi-trillion Dollar domestic infrastructure investment raising imports and global commodities prices for its domestic construction and consumption needs.
Today, China is again the main supplier of goods the world needs to survive the pandemic while becoming as promised the largest importer of consumer goods from the rest of the world, $45-trillion of goods and service as promised by President Xi Jinping in the two China International Import Exhibition of the past two years.
China’s plan for regional recovery
Last April 14, 2020 the ASEAN plus 3 (China, Japan and South Korea) met via video for the ASEAN Summit on Covid-19 crisis. In the conference Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged the following:
1) China will provide another 100 million face masks, 10 million protective suits and other urgently needed medical supplies to ASEAN countries as grant assistance and via commercial channels;
2) China will support ASEAN in setting up a Covid-19 ASEAN response fund and provide the necessary support through the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund and APT (ASEAN Plus Three – China, Japan and South Korea) Cooperation Fund; and
3) China will also support the establishment of an APT reserve of essential medical supplies to make responses faster and emergency supplies more readily available;
To facilitate regional economic recovery, Premier Li suggested the following: further ease tariffs, eliminate barriers, boost the flow of trade and investment, and keep markets open to each other;
APT countries should open a “fast-track lane” among themselves to facilitate the entry of essential personnel on urgent visits in the fields of commerce, logistics, production and technological services;
APT countries should work toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement within this year as agreed, to take regional economic integration to a higher level, and APT and China should use mechanisms, such as, the Chiang Mai Initiative towards Multilateralization and leverage the APT Macroeconomic Research Office.
China also leads the way in supporting the recovery plans of ASEAN countries, with the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) preparing a $10-bilion fund for a Covid-19 recovery facility” to support a quick recovery after the current crisis.”
While China is making every effort to boost the physical and spiritual capacity of the world to overcome the pandemic and economic crisis the U.S. and its allies are hard at work to drown out the good news, divert from its colossal failures in containing the pandemic in their homelands by the blame-game directed at China.
The US publication Business Insider published on April 26, 2020 an article titled “A 57-page memo urged GOP campaigns to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic and insist the term ‘Chinese virus’ isn’t racist”, in other words don’t defend Trump and just attack China.
The Trump campaign has gone on propagate the fake news on China early cover up of epidemic, Wuhan Institute of Virology as source of bioengineered bio-weapon, sue for trillions in damages for China’s responsibility (even the Australian Prime Minister is recruited into the disinformation campaign), and Trump himself spouting the outrageous line of seeking damages from China.
The RT news channel invited British former parliamentarian George Galloway to discuss the “Wag the Dog” scenario; that is, will all this noise which apparently over 50% of Americans now buy lead to the “Deep State” using the calumnies to start physical conflict with China in an ultimate distraction reminiscent of Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia or Bush’s Iraq War on weapons of mass destruction in order to divert attention from 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
The most respected Lancet medical journal issued a statement with a group of 27 prominent public health scientist from outside China saying “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggest that Covid-19 does not have a natural origin” and praise the “remarkable” work of Chinese health professionals.
The Philippines has far more than its fair share of anti-China-“ists” in mainstream newspapers and academe, many finding lucrative careers in it, to social media trolls and many just happy to spout pseudo-nationalist but ignorant tirades masking either bigotry, racism or plain buffoonery.
The latest rage fanned by the Philippine Daily Inquirer is a social media reaction to a music-video promoted by the Chinese Embassy with local talents Imelda Papin and Jhonvid Bangayan, and Chinese diplomat Zia Wenxin and actor Yubin.
Singer and Camarines Sur vice-governor Papin defended the music-video saying, “The lyrics are beautiful. It’s all about helping during this time (of the pandemic), unity in helping, … holding hands for a beautiful future.”
Indeed, China’s help in these Covid-19 time have saved many Filipino lives, especially front-liners given China’s thousands of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs).
The usual anti-China press tout the numbers of “dislike” versus “likes”, 150,000 versus 2,000 as of the latest Inquirer reports. There some real names we can recognize and more that may be trolls that just cut and past the same posts, but 150,000 fails to impress me as Filipino FB users in 2019 total 70-million. The noisy minority also hate Duterte despite the president’s 90% approval numbers in handling the Covid-19 crisis.
The anti-China bigots say the music-video is “propaganda”.
But a polarized milieu any information can always be interpreted as propaganda, and who knows better about propaganda than the anti-China-ists, their cause lives only in propaganda through the mainstream media and troll online. Propaganda is the only offensive weapon the U.S. has as advantage in versus its perceived rivals.
Inquirer columnist Ceres Doyo’s recently made a gratuitous attack on China entitled “Like a thief in the night, China…” of a Chinese-operated vessel arriving at Homonhon Island to haul chromite ore from Techiron Resources Inc.
But then she also writes that the Catholic Bishops Conference reported “the government has ‘allow[ed]’ a Chinese-manned vessel to load…”
So, if the government knows… Who’s the thief?
The anti-Chinaists specialize only in slander and never carry on intelligent discussions upon which constructive and beneficial international relations, productive economic enterprise and humanitarian welfare initiatives are considered.
Iisang Dagat (One Sea) for Millenniums
As in the days of Rajah Kiling of the Kingdom of Butuan 1,000 years ago and when Sultan Paduka Batara of the Three Kingdoms of Sulu sailed to Beijing in 1417 to be declared by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty as “brother,” China by its sheer size and trading muscle has always served as the focal point for economic and cultural progress of Asia and Southeast Asia.
It is again today and which the IMF 2021 prediction about China’s “surge” confirms.
It is timely and urgent now that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s pivot to China be reinforced and enhanced, the Philippines’ economic recovery and the nation’s welfare depends on it. The U.S. is facing the Greater Depression and is actually in retreat everywhere while masking the defeats with braggadocio and black propaganda against imagined enemy China.
Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian’s music-video project aims to enhance Philippine-China solidarity with the metaphor of the One Sea (Iisang Dagat) ensures that with cooperation the One Sea will remain free and shared by all stakeholders while being preserved through dialogue, negotiations and coordination (think Code of Conduct).
China and the Philippine has forged the template of the One Sea vision by signing the 60/40 oil and gas sharing joint venture for the Reed Bank (Recto Bank) minerals. What should follow is a fisheries agreement, and then other mineral ores development. Vietnam is actually the most intransigent in its assumption of once French colonial claims, even stealing Pugad Island from the Philippines in 1975 and actually being the biggest poacher in other’s waters (as Sec. Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed).
The futility of the anti-China campaign
Nothing that the anti-China bigots have predicted about China has materialized – from the compliance with the Permanent Court of Arbitration decisions to the US military support in the imagined conflict that could ensue.
Nothing, nada, zilch, zero, bokya.
But without shame, they carry on with the disinformation and sabotage of the blossoming cooperation and fruitfulness of the PHL-China engagement.
China has a message of peace, harmony and prosperity for the World in its vision of “A Community of Share Future for Mankind” and China has the heft and size, the successful socio-economic system tested by crisis after crisis and now the existential challenge greater the any of the World Wars and the economic peril of the Great Depression.
The colonials have failed, and failed miserably.
The US and its minions must stop moping, stop brooding, stop cursing and start cooperating, review its socio-political system, re-emphasize the “pursuit of happiness” not just for its constituencies but for all peoples regardless of nationality, color or creed, be forward looking and help rebuild the global community with China leading the way in a multi-polar world. (ia/SovereignPH.com)