Author: Thomas Clouse

CHINA MOVES FORWARD ON FOREIGN POLICY CHALLENGES WITH EU, US

By Thomas Clouse

Chinese president Hu Jintao opened the country’s 18th Communist Party Congress in November with pledges to crack down on corruption within the organization. At the meeting, delegates chose Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang to be the country’s next president and prime minister, respectively.

Only days before the Congress opened, the Communist Party formally expelled Bo Xilai, the former party boss of the city of Chongqing, and Liu Zhijun, the former head of the ministry of railways. Both will face trial on corruption and other charges.

Controversy entangled China’s current prime minister, Wen Jiabao, and incoming president, Xi Jinping, after western media published reports concerning the wealth of the leaders’ family members. Despite the pledge to fight corruption, current president Hu offered few indications of potential political reform.

In addition to domestic controversy, China is facing significant foreign policy and trade issues. China has competing territorial claims with several neighboring countries, and its dispute with Japan has intensified in recent weeks, disrupting trade between Asia’s two largest economies.

China filed a WTO case against the EU last month over subsidies to solar-energy companies and imposed tariffs on steel tubing from the EU and Japan. In North America, the US approved a five-year tax on Chinese solar-energy products last month, and the Canadian government postponed a decision over approval of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC)’s bid for Calgary-based oil company Nexen.