This week, China’s Xinhua news agency released
a mysterious “op-ed” calling on the world to “de-Americanize.”
It was a lot of the usual talking points: the U.S. meddles too much in other countries’ affairs, it is guilty of moral hypocrisy — and the latest wrinkle, that the U.S. Government shutdown makes it unworthy of the world stage.
Later in the week, China’s ratings agency downgraded U.S. credit, and its foreign ministry said America’s founding fathers are “turning in their graves.”
And that’s about where the whole episode looks to end.
So far, the world has shown no immediate signs of de-Americanizing: the yield on U.S. 10-years has barely budged, and places like the IMF are still calling on America to do more for the world, not for the world to do less with America.
More importantly, it is highly unlikely the Chinese themselves actually believe this — not least because, according to Tealeaf Nation’s Liz Carter, if something appears in Xinhua with a formal byline (as was the case here), it means it only represents that individual’s opinion.
Here are four additional reasons why China has no desire to see the world “de-Americanized.”
China has been asking the U.S. to step up its role in the Middle East
China just became the world’s largest oil importer, and it really doesn’t want to see oil prices rise. And they’re willing to put money where their mouth is to prevent that from happening.
Just not their money.
A recent report from the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Spegele and Matt Bradley says Chinese leaders have been quietly asking U.S. military leaders to continue to devote resources and personnel to ensuring stability in the Middle East:
“In meetings since at least last year, Chinese officials have sought to ensure U.S. commitment to the region isn’t wavering, particularly as the Obama administration has pledged to rebalance some of its strategic focus toward East Asia, said people familiar with those discussions.”
Few analysts think there was any sign of this happening in the first place, given, for instance, the U.S. just considered bombing Syria.
But the report seriously undermines the “de-Americanize” premise.
Chinese love American brands
KFC was the first-ever fast-food restaurant in China (they opened in 1987) and remains the country’s No. 1 chain, according to Yum! Brands, with more than 4,400 restaurants in 850 cities. Pizza Hut, meanwhile, is China’s No. 1 casual dining location. Not surprisingly, Yum! says they are the country’s leading retail developer.
They may start to face serious competition for that distinction — from Starbucks, which is about to turn China into its No. 2 market worldwide, replacing Canada. “China is our ‘second home’ market outside of the U.S.,” John Culver, Starbucks Group President of China and Asia Pacific, told USA Today.
Probably because China sends so many of its students to the US
India and China are predicted to account for fully two-thirds of the growth in international students at American institutions from 2011 to 2024, according to a recent British study. Six years ago, China was already sending 100,000 students a year to the U.S.. That figure has now doubled.
China will remain our largest creditor for generations
Per the IBTimes, China owned $US1.28 trillion-worth of U.S. Treasuries in July, more than any other nation, and holds about $US3.5 trillion in dollar-denominated assets. Last year we imported $US426 billion-worth of Chinese goods, a nominal record, and are already on pace to break that figure this year. As Time’s Dan Kedmey recently reported, “China must cling to its faith that the U.S. will eventually pay back its loans. ‘Every creditor believes that they can,’ said Ma Guangyuan, a Beijing-based economist.
“They believe that even more than Americans do, because they have no choice. If the creditors don’t believe America can pay them back, then the global economy would collapse.”
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