Intransigent Face of the Chinese Superpower

By Victor Mallet

It is remarkable how the selfish superpower is fading from public view. In its place comes China the peacemaker and potential saviour of the faltering world economy.

Western governments look to China as an engine of economic growth. Western banks see it as a source of capital. European leaders, eager for commercial advantage, pay homage to Beijing. In the US, the rise of China – notorious only months ago for purportedly stealing American jobs, destroying the environment and exporting poisonous toys – has barely featured in the early primary contests for the presidential election.

US officials are grateful for Beijing’s help in bringing North Korea to the negotiating table and forgetful of the nuclear bomb that was nevertheless made and tested by Pyongyang.Admiral Timothy Keating, head of the US Pacific Command, said on a visit to Beijing this month that he had developed an “honest and true friendship” with Chinese military leaders, including Guo Boxiong, vice-chairman of the central military commission. “General Guo – he’s going to be a pal,” said Admiral Keating.

It cannot last. Even if Gen Guo enjoyed chatting about his grandchildren as much as Admiral Keating says he did, China’s reputation will sink again as surely as its over-inflated equities market.