新しい協定はこの南シナ海に何を意味するのか? 中国とASEANは行動規範の「枠組み」に合意した。

What a new agreement means for the South China Sea
China and ASEAN agree on a “framework” for a code of conduct
May 30th 2017by J.F. | SINGAPORE


THE long-running dispute between China and its rivals in the South China Sea centres on an apparently insoluble conflict: China’s maritime claims overlap with those of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Nobody wants to go to war; nobody wants to back down. To reduce the chances of armed conflict and give all claimants a chance to save face, the countries have ostensibly been negotiating a set of rules designed to regulate behaviour and manage tensions for decades. The idea was first mooted by the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the late 1990s, after China's seizure in 1995 of a Philippine-claimed reef; since then, negotiations have proceeded haltingly. But on May 18th the two sides agreed on a framework for a “code of conduct”. It will be presented to foreign ministers in August, and will form the basis for future negotiations. Both sides congratulated themselves on their progress. But will it amount to anything? 


If history is a guide, there is every reason to be pessimistic. In a “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea”, signed in 2002, China and ASEAN promised “co-operation” and “self-restraint”, recognised “the need to promote a peaceful, friendly and harmonious environment” and said they would abide by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and work towards a code of conduct. Nine years later, the two sides agreed to a vague set of guidelines to implement the declaration. 

And in July 2016 China agreed to expedite talks about a code of conduct—a decision some suspect was driven by the election of Rodrigo Duterte to the presidency of the Philippines. Mr Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, had filed a case against China with an international tribunal in The Hague, accusing it of violating UNCLOS. The tribunal ruled in favour of the Philippines. But Mr Duterte, far more favourably disposed towards China than Mr Aquino, offered to “set aside” the ruling. 




swingby_blog at 21:00コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

報道が言うよりも世界は安定している。 しかし、新しい指標によれば昨年、予期しない幾つかの場所が不安定になってきている。

The world is more stable than the news suggests
But fragility increased in some unexpected places last year according to a new index
May 16th 2017by THE DATA TEAM


2016 was a dismal year for liberal internationalism. Britain voted to leave the European Union; Donald Trump was elected as America’s president and the grip of authoritarians tightened in China, Russia and Turkey. Despite all efforts to dissuade it, North Korea continued its march towards nuclear-power status; bloody wars continued in South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It might seem obvious, then, that it was a year in which the world became less stable. 


But a new index of global “fragility” by the Fund for Peace (FfP), a think-tank, suggests that, overall, it did not. Since 2005 the FfP has measured the stability of 178 countries by combining three different types of information. First, its researchers scour 40m-50m English-language articles from 10,000 sources to find evidence of fragility, from landslides to displaced people. Second, they use quantitative data from multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and the IMF. Finally, experts sense-check the result to ensure that each country’s score aligns with expectations. In total, 100 measures are blended into 12 indicators of fragility, from “group grievances” to the quality of public services. 


The result is a single score for each country, with fragility measured from zero to 120 (least fragile to most). There are few big surprises: Finland is the world’s most stable country and South Sudan the least. After weighting each country’s score by its population, overall global fragility changed little from 2015 to 2016. But this masks regional shifts: greater stability in Asia and the European Union has been balanced by greater fragility in South America and sub-Saharan Africa. Last year’s polarising American presidential election increased the country’s fragility score by 1.6 points. 


The index is perhaps most valuable as an early-warning signal for potential conflict. For that, what matters are changes from year to year, rather than long-lasting differences between nations—although there are some counter-intuitive results. For example, Brazil's stability deteriorated twice as fast as Venezuela’s in 2016 (though from a much better base). Meanwhile, South Africa’s fragility score increased by 2.4 points last year, and would be worse if it were not for the strength of its institutions, says J. J. Messner, the FfP’s director. Ethiopia, long a darling of development experts, is currently causing concern: drought has led to conflict over grazing land. What eventually lights the tinder box can be hard to predict. It is “phenomenal just how resilient individuals can be”, says Mr Messner. But there is a limit to the hardship people will endure before demanding change by any means they can. 





swingby_blog at 02:27コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


中国的な金融改革 習近平の経済改革(3)

Eliminating Regulatory Silos
The third area of financial sector reform refers to central government efforts to improve financial regulation. In the 1990s and early 2000s, as China's economy took off (especially after China joined the World Trade Organization), this endeavor led Beijing to create separate banking, insurance and securities regulators to better manage the financial system's growing complexity. In recent years, improving financial sector regulation has moved in the opposite direction, toward building a unified regulatory framework encompassing banks, non-bank financial institutions (such as trusts and mutual funds), and insurance companies. 


The primary thrust behind this shift has been the rise of regulatory arbitrage as banks and other investors take advantage of discrepancies in regulations among banking, securities and insurance sectors to channel funds into a wide array of opaque and risky products. This regulatory arbitrage became acute when authorities, in an effort to prevent China's economy from overheating, tightened controls on bank lending in 2011 and 2012, leading to the growth of informal lending tools such as wealth management products. Because they were sold by non-bank financial institutions under the jurisdiction of the CSRC (which, at least initially, placed fewer controls on investments into high-risk assets like real estate), these tools gave banks new avenues to channel investor funds into otherwise prohibited assets. 

acute :深刻な
wealth management products:理財商品。中国における高利回りの資産運用商品

Despite Beijing's periodic efforts to rein in wealth management products and other so-called shadow lending devices, there has been a proliferation of a wide range of those tools as banks and other financial institutions seek new ways to evade regulatory shifts. As indicated by numerous anecdotal reports, by 2015, arbitrage among the different regulatory regimes of CBRC, CSRC and CIRC was an important feature of most major financial firms' ordinary business operations. 

anecdotal :個人の見解に基づいた不確かな

Naturally, as state-owned banks relied increasingly heavily on non-bank lending tools to generate higher returns for their investors, they (and the trust and insurance companies into which they invested, along with commissions charged with overseeing them) developed a strong interest in preserving their access to them, and thus in combating any move to unify and tighten regulation of these products. This began to shift in late 2015 after the stock market collapse sparked calls from senior Chinese officials for a single "super regulator" to replace the existing tri-partite regime. The February 2017 announcement that the People's Bank of China would draft unified regulations for asset management products, particularly wealth management products, marked the first concrete step toward building a super regulator. 


It is unclear when the draft rules for asset management products will go into effect. In a move to soften potential push back from banks and other investors, authorities in February said the rules would apply only to new products, not existing ones. Even so, to the extent that effective enforcement might threaten banks' bottom lines, implementation likely will not begin until after the political sensitive 19th Party Congress, set for this October, and even then, it likely will be gradual. Further major moves toward regulatory integration during the remainder of 2017 are unlikely. 

Finally, it remains unclear how the above facets of Chinese financial reform will relate to the more common meaning of reform: liberalization. Throughout the past decade, China has used this lack of clarity to mobilize support from international observers and markets for initiatives that did not clearly contribute to liberalization. Indeed, some "reforms" have pushed in the opposite direction, toward consolidation of state and party control over key pillars of the country's financial system. The current wave of financial reform, particularly efforts to streamline and unify China's regulatory framework, may pave the way for greater liberalization ahead. But if past is precedent, that outcome is far from guaranteed. 




swingby_blog at 21:25コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


中国的な金融改革 習近平の経済改革(2)

China's top leaders are now stepping up calls for better integration and enforcement of financial regulations across the country's banking, securities and insurance regulators, as well as urging stronger efforts to root out financial sector corruption. In his comments to the National People's Congress in March, and again in a statement published in early April, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to severely punish corrupt regulators and executives known as "financial crocodiles," and he called for the creation of a "firewall" against financial risks. These came on the heels of a late February announcement that China's economic regulators, led by the Chinese central bank, would draft new, unified rules to oversee asset management products. The $8.7 trillion industry encompasses a wide range of "shadow" investment tools like wealth management products, through which state-controlled banks channel funds into riskier securities promising high returns. 

root :一掃する

These and other recent developments illustrate different aspects of China's financial reform mosaic. Broadly speaking, "reform" in this context has three basic meanings: rooting out corruption, addressing local government debt and revamping the country's regulatory structures. 


Reining In the Regulators
A major point of focus for Beijing is cracking down on corruption across major financial institutions, and the three agencies tasked with overseeing them: the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). In an April 25 meeting with politburo members and senior regulators, Chinese President Xi Jinping likewise urged better protections against financial risks. Meanwhile, on April 9, authorities detained CIRC chairman Xiang Junbo on corruption charges. The following week, CBRC deputy chairman Yang Jiacai was sacked for corruption. The state-run People's Daily subsequently warned that "the best show is yet to come," suggesting that Xiang and Yang will not be the last financial crocodiles to fall. 

To be sure, the extent to which financial corruption cases like those against Xiang and Yang reflect authorities' genuine interest in fighting graft, rather than providing political cover for Xi's elimination of potential opponents in the sector, remains unclear. As with other targets of the president's anti-corruption campaign, both imperatives are likely at work. But whatever the balance of interests behind the ongoing wave of financial corruption cases, it creates room for appointees whose interests align with Xi's. 


As a result, cracking down on corruption both advances the president's power consolidation drive and, in theory, lays the basis for implementation of his economic priorities in the future — whatever those may ultimately be. This makes anti-corruption a front line of sorts for financial reform efforts: Though rooting out graft and eliminating potential opponents on its own does little to address systemic faults in China's financial sector, China's leaders clearly see it as a precondition for enforcing reforms that do. 


Tackling Local and Corporate Debt
In addition to rooting out graft, financial reform also refers to the central government's long-running efforts to create institutional mechanisms to help local governments and businesses repay their existing debts and absorb nonperforming loans. To this end, Beijing established in 2015 a local debt-bond swap program, in which local governments trade a portion of their outstanding loans for slower-maturing, lower-interest municipal bonds (held primarily by state-owned banks). 


More recently, it has begun emphasizing corporate debt-for-equity swaps, in which state-owned banks buy back loans in exchange for equity stakes in debtor companies. Both programs have expanded rapidly. Since 2015, local governments have swapped roughly 9 trillion yuan worth of loans for bonds, with authorities planning another 6 trillion in debt-for-bond swaps by the end of 2017. Likewise, in the first quarter of 2017, Chinese businesses traded 238 billion yuan in outstanding loans for equity stakes (to be held by the creditor banks), up from 203 billion, 30 billion and zero in the fourth, third and second quarters of 2016, respectively. 


Despite this growth, serious questions remain about the efficacy of both programs. Though corporate debt-for-equity swaps are rising, reaching 480 billion yuan by March, they represent a tiny fraction of total corporate debt outstanding, which now stands at between 17 trillion to 18 trillion yuan. Moreover, unless paired with significant industrial and corporate restructuring efforts to make companies, especially in the state sector, more productive and profitable, debt-equity swaps do little to limit the state-owned banking sector's exposure to corporate bankruptcies. 


This concern explains, in part, why many banks initially balked at the initiative. Likewise, though local government debt-bond swaps help bolster local government finances in the short-term by lowering debt-servicing costs, the program does little to address how localities (which often face intense funding pressures) will actually repay the principal on their outstanding debts. Both programs lower the risk of widespread corporate and local government bankruptcies in the short-term, but neither offers a solution to the looming question of how to metabolize a decade's worth of unpaid debt, much of which is likely unpayable. 




swingby_blog at 21:07コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


中国的な金融改革 習近平の経済改革

Financial Reform, With Chinese Characteristics
Xi Jinping's Economic Reforms(FRED DUFOUR)
May 8, 2017  Stratfor


China will prioritize streamlining and unifying the country’s financial regulatory framework, as well as cracking down on corruption in the sector, over liberalization.The mounting risk posed by local government and corporate debt will require more ambitious relief programs. Political sensitivities will delay implementation of certain regulatory reforms until after the pivotal 19th Party Congress, set for this October. 


Financial sector reform in China is gaining steam. A number of recent developments point to a renewed push to clean up the country's financial system by chipping away at a disjointed and outdated regulatory system and clamping down on corruption in the banking, securities and insurance industries. Simultaneously, programs aimed at helping local governments and businesses metabolize their enormous debts have expanded rapidly. 


But while these initiatives hint at a more comprehensive approach to financial reform, with efforts to manage past debts running in tandem with those to tamp down the unsustainable credit growth of recent years, they do not portend substantial liberalization of China's financial system in the near future. More likely, these are early steps in what Chinese authorities see as an incremental, carefully managed program to restructure and improve (but not dismantle) the country's heavily state-influenced financial and economic systems. 


The Challenge of Reform in China
Financial reform has long been a stated priority of China's government. In practice, however, efforts to improve the sector's ability to assess risk and allocate capital efficiently – the crux of financial reform in a country where political imperatives weigh heavily on economic decision-making – have often taken a backseat to more pressing concerns such as maintaining stable employment. As a result, despite near continuous pledges by central authorities to rein in the worst excesses of China's post-2009 state-led investment boom, debt of all kinds – including local government, state-sector, private corporate and household – has continued to grow at an alarming pace. 


For example, outstanding local government debt has risen from 12 trillion yuan (around $1.75 trillion) to over 17 trillion yuan since 2012, equal to roughly 23 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) today. The growth has defied attempts by central authorities to rein it in by tightening controls on poorly regulated private entities called local government financing vehicles. 


The scale of local government liabilities pales in comparison to that of corporate debt, which accounts for around 60 percent of China's total outstanding public and private debt load. As of 2016, unresolved corporate debt was equal to more than 165 percent of GDP, while total commitments are now nearly three times the country's annual economic output. (These ratios are comparable to levels in South Korea and Japan, though China's debt has grown at a far faster pace.) 


Officially, nonperforming loans account for a low 1.74 percent of loans nationwide, while "special mention" loans, which are overdue but not yet considered non-performing, account for another 3.92 percent, according to official estimates. But many analysts believe China's real nonperforming loan ratio is closer to 10 or even 20 percent. (In Japan, this ratio is 1.5 percent.) Though Beijing has built in some safeguards for managing existing debts over the past year or two, it has done little to reform the incentive structure that generated China's explosive debt growth and capital misallocation in the first place. 




swingby_blog at 21:37コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


文在寅が韓国の大統領の選挙で地滑り的な大勝利を収めた。 この国の保守主義者たちがどれほどよくやったかは注目に値する。

Moon Jae-in wins South Korea’s presidential elections by a landslide
As remarkable is how well the country’s conservatives did
May 10th 2017 | SEOUL | Asia


HE WAS imprisoned for months for protesting, then as a student, against the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee in the 1970s. After millions demonstrated for the removal of Park Geun-hye, General Park’s daughter, South Koreans voted on May 9th for that former student dissident, Moon Jae-in, to succeed her. Mr Moon has become South Korea’s first liberal president in almost a decade, elected in an unusual snap election triggered two months ago by Ms Park’s sacking. He won 41% of the vote in the single-round system with no minimum threshold: a remarkably strong mandate in a contest among 13 candidates, the most crowded race in South Korea’s electoral history. His 17 percentage-point lead on the runner-up, a conservative, is the highest ever. 

no minimum threshold:何かが起きる最小の限界値なしで

Still, Mr Moon’s victory was no surprise: he had led the polls for four months; support for his Minjoo party during the two-month campaign for the presidency hit its highest on record. Ms Park’s trial on charges of abuse of power and the demanding or collecting of 59bn won ($52m) in bribes began last week. She is a bitter disappointment for many voters who had been charmed, in the election that brought her to power in 2012, by her reputation for integrity. Expectations are high for Mr Moon, during his single five-year term, to see through the “regime change” he promises. His promises to root out corruption that flows from close links between government and big business—“clearing out the evil”, he has called it—and to create a fairer society struck a chord in recent months. Mr Moon says he will set up a special department to get to the bottom of the presidential scandal. 

Minjoo party:民主党 
integrity :誠実さ
get to the bottom of :真相を探る

Over 77% voted, the highest turnout in two decades. He has enormous appeal for South Korea’s disenchanted voters, especially the unemployed young: over half of those aged between 20 and 40 voted for him, according to exit polls. He has promised to reserve a third of over 800,000 new jobs he claims he can create, mainly in the public sector, for the young. He also wants to hike the minimum wage. In his acceptance speech on May 10th, Mr Moon pledged to build a country “where rules and logic apply”. Kim Hyung-jun, a young father who took his toddler to a polling station in central Seoul on May 9th, said that he was voting to create a better society for his daughter: one “where everyone begins at the same line”, not where “the rich and powerful have a head start”. 


Mr Moon grew up poor. His parents are refugees from Hungnam, a North Korean port city evacuated in 1950 shortly after the start of the Korean war. The family was resettled in Geoje, where he was born (the southern island has produced another South Korean president in the democratic era, Kim Young-sam). Mr Moon began his political career as chief of staff to Roh Moo-hyun, a late liberal president in office from 2003 to 2008, with whom he had set up a law firm in the 1980s dealing with human-rights cases. Mr Moon then ran for the presidency himself in 2012, and was narrowly defeated by Ms Park in a two-way race. He often appeared at the million-strong protests that began against her in October. 


The challenges he faces now as president are formidable. He comes to power at a time of unprecedented flux in North-East Asia: China, South Korea’s main economic partner, is tormenting it over the installation of an American anti-missile defence system known as THAAD, which went into operation last week. Confused policy towards the peninsula under Donald Trump has ratcheted up tension and risked undermining the alliance that has long helped protect South Korea against the existential threat posed by the North. Mr Trump abruptly threatened a fortnight ago to make the South pay the $1bn cost of THAAD. As the American president has declared an end to an era of “strategic patience” towards the North, Mr Moon has threatened, for his part, to review the deal finalised under Ms Park. 


How to deal with a threatening North Korea became a major issue during the election campaign. Mr Moon calls for more engagement and dialogue with the North. But hawks’ fears that Mr Moon will reopen an old liberal era of “sunshine” that gave the North the benefit of the doubt along with lashings of aid are surely overdone. Since that era North Korea has exploded five underground nuclear devices and ramped up its belligerent threats. Scott Snyder of the Council on Foreign Relations, an American think-tank, says that resolutions passed by the UN Security Council have blocked economic deals that would have been allowed when Mr Moon worked under Roh. Nor do South Koreans want to be seen as bowing to pressure from China. 


And then, even if Mr Moon were inclined to reverse policy towards North Korea, he would have to contend with the politics of the National Assembly. His Minjoo party does not hold a majority, and the next parliamentary elections do not take place until April 2020. Hong Joon-pyo, the presidential candidate who represented Ms Park’s former party (then Saenuri, now rebranded as Liberty Korea), had a remarkably strong showing in the election, of 24%. Ahn Cheol-soo, who ran under the banner of the People’s Party, a centrist group that split from Minjoo last year, supports THAAD and opposes Mr Moon’s plan to reopen the Kaesong industrial complex on the border with North Korea, a sunshine-era initiative that Ms Park shuttered. 

contend :取り組む・争う

Mr Moon will need to negotiate with him and others to govern. He has already been courting Mr Ahn’s party: both parties, he says, “come from the same roots”. Some suggest it could even decide to merge again with Minjoo, which would give the ruling party a 150-seat majority. On May 10th he appointed Lee Nak-yon, current governor of South Jeolla province, as his prime minister, promising to share more power and responsibility with his cabinet. That includes plans to introduce a system that reflects opinion-poll results in government appointments. 


Support for Liberty Korea also suggests the new president will be governing a fractured nation. A “resentful pocket” of conservatives, says Shin Gi-wook of Stanford University, has coalesced around Mr Hong. He has referred to civic organisations, many of which led the protests against Ms Park, as “thieving bastards”, and pledged to carry out the first executions in two decades; his campaign slogan promised a South Korea free of “pro-North leftists”. This old-school conservatism continues to resonate, particularly in Gyeongsang—an eastern region that, as the Park family base, has long been a conservative stronghold—and with the elderly: half of those over 60 voted for Mr Hong. 

resentful :憤慨している

Other rifts, too, will test Mr Moon’s promise, in his acceptance speech, to be a “president for all”. Shim Sang-jung, head of the Justice Party, received more votes than any other minor progressive candidate has in previous elections: she is the only candidate to support an anti-discrimination act to uphold the rights of minorities. According to exit polls, those in their 20s voted in greater numbers for Yoo Seung-min, a minor reformist conservative, than they did for Mr Hong. On his first day in office, Mr Moon says that he will be speaking to the heads of all four opposition parties before holding a meeting with his own. 




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