News / Economy

    Q&A: China Growing 'By All Means Necessary'

    FILE - A worker walks on the roof of an office building construction site near a lake in Hefei, Anhui province.
    FILE - A worker walks on the roof of an office building construction site near a lake in Hefei, Anhui province.
    The huge and robust Chinese economy continues to be hungry for vast amounts of resources and raw materials as Beijing seeks to sustain rapid growth. That momentum is fueled by oil, gas, rare earth minerals, ores, coal and farmland. For the rest of the world, a question remains - what is the impact for everyone outside of China? Is the massive gathering of resources good in keeping the global economy going, or will it have negative consequences for manufacturing efforts elsewhere? The independent Council on Foreign Relations turned to Elizabeth Economy and Michael Levi to help provide an answer.  Their research produced the book By All Means Necessary.  Elizabeth Economy, Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Voice of America’s Jim Stevenson more about it.
     
    STEVENSON: We have seen a very aggressive China with respect to the South China Sea, East China Sea and mineral rich areas that have overlapping claims by other countries.
     

    ECONOMY: I think it is important to disentangle a resource quest from other concerns, namely in the East and South China Sea. It is certainly as much about resources as it is nationalism and sovereignty claims. Probably one of the most important findings that we had was that there has been this sort of understanding that China is the world’s largest source of overseas investment in resources and it is gobbling up supplies and producing resource scarcities and rising prices. But what we found is China is still a second-tier investor in much of the resource world. So for example in Africa, China ranks fourth, not the first, third in Latin America. It is third in Southeast Asia, and a very distant third after the European Union and Japan. I think the message we really want to get across with our book is that in many respects, the impact is much more nuanced and much more complicated than we tend to assume. It is important to understand those complications and nuances because only then can we figure out how we want to respond to China’s resource quest.
     
    STEVENSON: Do we see China’s economy beginning to transform as Japan’s did and other industrialized nations in the past?
     
    ECONOMY: I think that we are potentially at an inflection point. One of the things that our book makes a point of noting is that the past is not prologue. We shouldn’t look at what China has done before over say the past 35 years of going out for resources in a more aggressive way as what it’s going to continue. If China is able to rebalance its economy, to move away from investment and consumption-led growth, if it is able to make that same kind of transition, if it is able to become more efficient in terms of its resource use and conserve resources, then we can see a fundamentally different pattern of energy consumption, a different mix emerging. We haven’t hit that point yet.
     
    STEVENSON: This resource quest as you write about has become a bit of a controversy for the rest of the world, especially when it comes to things like rare earths, which are very limited, and China is trying to scoop up as much as possible.
     
    ECONOMY: Certainly the numbers are striking. If you just look on the face of it, by 2010 China accounted for 38 percent of local copper demand, 42 percent of aluminum, a similar number for other metals. When you look at something like rare earths, China already commands upwards of 95 percent of the production of these rare earths, most of which are in fact within their own territory. In general we do see that China is commanding a large portion of the world’s resources. This is a country that is close to 20 percent of the world’s population. So is it unreasonable in fact that they are consuming 10 percent of the global oil? So we try to put things within context, and also to make the point that if you look back at history, you can see that all rising nations dating back to ancient Athens have sought resources outside their borders to fuel their economies.

    Jim Stevenson

    For over 35 years, Jim Stevenson has been sharing stories with the world on the radio and internet. From both the field and the studio, Jim enjoys telling about specific events and uncovering the interesting periphery every story possesses. His broadcast career has been balanced between music, news, and sports, always blending the serious with the lighter side.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9030
    JPY
    USD
    102.41
    GBP
    USD
    0.7470
    CAD
    USD
    1.3038
    INR
    USD
    67.919

    Rates may not be current.