For Foreign Businesses in China, the Peril of Law and Order

Some foreign businesses in China may not see the need to register. Today brings an urgent warning from Dan Harris on China Law Blog:

Consider this China Law Blog’s first URGENT ALERT.

For the second time in a month, we are hearing of mounting Chinese government efforts to crack down on unregistered foreign companies doing business in China. We see this as part and parcel of Beijing’s attempt to moderate rising Chinese resentment against foreign companies operating in China. [link]

I found this informative blog recently. It’s worth keeping an eye on, full of reminders about the minefield of law and regulation in a marketizing China.

Murdoch Gets His Way: Hu, Abe, and Bush to Meet at APEC

Reuters reports that the leaders of the United States, Japan, and China will meet in Hanoi:

China, Japan and the United States will “exchange views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern” on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Hanoi, the official Xinhua news agency reported in a brief dispatch.

Rupert Murdoch Sees Trilateral Summit, Hosted by U.S.

Rupert Murdoch, CEO and chairman of News Corp., told a Tokyo audience that U.S. President George W. Bush should host a trilateral summit with the leaders of China and Japan, Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

“China, Japan and the U.S. have much business to get through,” Murdoch said. “There are too many misunderstandings and misread signals among these countries.”

“In these times, sensitivity in foreign relations is of unusual importance and will inevitably have an impact on domestic policy,” he said, suggesting Japan’s economy would suffer the consequences if the country fails to resolve its strained relationship with China.

It’s unclear to me why Murdoch chose to make explicit his notion that Bush should play host, but a three-way discussion would certainly bring three big players to the table. Presently, the three states only work together in the context of the six-party talks on North Korean nuclear power.

Given that context, however, it may be read as a snub to South Korea and/or Russia to be left out of other discussions. Any trilateral meeting would probably be more successful in a time when North Korea could reasonably stay off the table. Even in discussions of economics, however, some states may feel snubbed: ASEAN is an important force in regional economic integration, and it is used to a seat at the table. Australia is used to inclusion in APEC, which was founded at the suggestion of an Australian leader.

The United States may also wish to avoid a trilateral meeting, since it would be hard to stay out of China–Japan disputes if all three were in a room. All the difficulties aside, I would certainly be interested to see such a summit, if only for my own curiosity.

Murdoch also criticized closed societies in comparing the prospects of China and India, saying:

“There is a vigorous debate about the relative strengths and weaknesses of China and India, but one fact is beyond debate: The free flow of information is a crucial advantage in an ultracompetitive world. There is no doubt that India is producing thousands of managers who are capable of running any company anywhere in the world. There is also no doubt that these impressive managers would not have developed in such impressive numbers if India attempted to dam the flow of facts or of opinion.”

Japan's Green Demand on China

Japan isn’t often in a position to demand things of China recently. The heated political environment during the Koizumi years left few opportunities for the Japanese government to get tough. They made noise over a Chinese submarine’s incursion into Japanese waters, and they were firm in demanding that the Chinese government protect Japanese citizens and interests during the April 2005 anti-Japan demonstrations. But less immediate issues didn’t often work their way into Sino-Japanese public diplomacy.

Today UPI reports that Japan is in rare form, getting tough on its neighbor with an unusually large pollution problem.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 6 (UPI) — Japan’s chief negotiator at the Kyoto conference in Nairobi Monday called on China to let the United Nations know what it is doing about greenhouse gases.

Mutsuyoshi Nishimara said China appears to be making great progress but needs to “the commitment and do the job.”

Nishimara rejected calls to punish those countries violating clean air rules.

“We lose the battle the moment we seek to punish countries for noncompliance,” Nishimara said.

This came at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Nairobi. Indeed, China’s environmental policies have a real effect in Japan, where the sun rises and the wind sometimes blows.

Koike Yuriko: Japan's Condi?

Koike Yuriko 06Newsweek has some questions for Japan’s first national security advisor, Koike Yuriko [ja]. Unfortunately they’re none too illuminating. The point of the piece seems to be, “Wow, a female national security advisor? Say, that’s just like Condi!” I should be more forgiving. After all, the ground rules for the interview could have precluded serious questions.

But here’s the sum of the good info: Koike graduated from Cairo University and speaks Arabic and English. She opposes starting a debate over whether to go nuclear.

So what about it: Is she Japan’s Condoleeza Rice?

No, that’s impossible. The U.S. system has a long history, and its [NSC] has been staffed by impressive figures from academia. I’d like to serve as a national-security adviser with a broad perspective. We have a lot to learn from the U.S. system.

OK. So she’s modest too.