A draft Trump Administration executive order threatening cuts to America’s UN funding, not least for peacekeeping, has been circulating since late January. Days before it emerged, People’s Daily carried yet another op-ed on the 'China Solution', hailing ‘the glory it sheds on the cause of peace, development and civilisation’ and renewing Xi Jinping’s pledges to become a major UN funder.
Now Beijing needs to soak up the crop glut and offset stagnating demand as growth in world's second-largest economy slows.
"No one thought China would maintain self-sufficiency the way they have. They did it by price support and that has been extremely costly," said Erlend Ek, agriculture research manager at China Policy, a Beijing-based advisory firm.
“In the West, people have been extremely concerned about Russian involvement in the U.S. elections, and Trump’s commitments, but very few people take seriously the idea that he could lure Russia away from the partnership with China,” says David Kelly, research director at China Policy, a research group in Beijing.
“In China, it’s taken much more seriously and is a subject of daily speculation.”
The mayor’s pronouncement leaves the city government steering a narrow course between price rises and much-dreaded falls.
“The government’s bottom line is that they cannot let prices fall too much,” said Wang Xinling, lead analyst at China Policy, a research consultancy in Beijing. “Falls of over 5 per cent [over a year] would be seen by policymakers as having a big psychological impact on property owners.”
Beijing has a long way to go before it can claim military superiority over Taiwan's main protector Washington, which has 10 aircraft carriers in service and a network of naval bases all around the globe, said David Kelly, research director of Beijing-based consulting firm China Policy.
For China, the presence of the Liaoning is above all "symbolic" and aimed at its "domestic audience", Kelly said.
Australian David Kelly, research director at advisory firm China Policy and a visiting professor at Beijing University, says the system inherited from Stalin and Mao was unfriendly to science, not least because they had denounced Einstein, quantum physics, DNA, “and even the classical logic that underpinned the rise of information technology and digitalisation”.
The very concept of technological “disruption” sounds terrible to a state that prizes stability above all. China began, Kelly says, from a civilisational base that advantaged science in certain ways. But its more recent Marxist base makes it difficult for it to build on that base.
El desarrollo armamentístico chino aún no impresiona a Washington, que dispone de una decena de portaaviones en servicio y de una red de bases navales repartidas en todo el mundo, dice David Kelly, del centro de investigación China Policy, con sede en Pekín.
Para China, que no tiene bases en otros continentes, un portaaviones es, sobre todo, un gesto 'simbólico y de consumo interno', observa el investigador. 'Esto apenas tiene importancia estratégica (...) pero le recuerda a Estados Unidos que China tiene una herramienta de presión en la región'.
Erland Ek, an agriculture researcher at Beijing-based consultancy China Policy, said: "Heilongjiang is particularly important for gaining trust because they would like to protect its advantage as a producer of non-GMO soyabean for the domestic and international market."
China permits the import of GMO soybeans for use in animal feed. The ban "is mainly about protecting local produce and comparative advantage" in response to increasing imports from the US and other countries, Mr Ek added.
David Kelly, research director at the Beijing-based consulting firm China Policy, wonders why Xi would take on so much risk for a third and even fourth term in power. Such a naked attempt at further power grab would jeopardize not only his own political standing and safety, but the country as well, he said.
“Agriculture has very much been sacrificed to advance the urban areas, factories and industry,” says Erlend Ek, agriculture and marine manager at China Policy, a Beijing-based research and advisory company. The fundamentals are striking: In 2013, 86% of farms in China were only 1.6 acres, a tiny fraction of the size of the average 441-acre US industrialized farm.
“This is going to be a game changer with wide implications both for the economy and the political system,” Erlend Ek, agriculture research manager for consulting firm, China Policy, told VOA. “New opportunities are opening up because Chinese authorities are seeking partnerships with foreign companies in the field of agriculture technology.”
According to Erlend Ek of the advisory firm China Policy, Chinese soybean farmers have suffered in recent years due to poor domestic support. New policies aimed to correct these problems are being planned, but have yet to take shape. As a result Ek thinks China may feel it necessary to introduce “some short term protection to the domestic sector,” he told Bloomberg “although it would likely resist doing so.”