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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8869
    JPY
    USD
    112.70
    GBP
    USD
    0.6894
    CAD
    USD
    1.3922
    INR
    USD
    68.241

    Rates may not be current.