Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Kow Tow No How


The Japanese/Chinese feud continues apace. The Japanese know very delicately exactly how to apologize for things. Their language has many levels of apology from "gome" to "komenisai". Levels of bowing are carefully calibrated. They also have other body signals. This careful choreography dissappears utterly when they interact with "outsiders".

The Chinese INVENTED public apology dances. They taught the Japanese how to do this 3,000 years ago. They are the ultimate practitioners of this art. Remember the spy plane incident? We blatantly spied on China. So they buzzed us, the planes collided and the American plane flew carefully to a secret military base they were spying on and landed.

Then Bush was forced to kow tow to China. He snarled and snapped and boasted and howled with rage and then kow towed. This was insufficient because of the previous ravings so the Chinese made him do it all over again. Then they snipped the plane into small pieces and shipped them back in boxes. Hahaha. I bet that gave many a gruffaw in the Central Committee meetings.

Now Japan has to learn how to bow. Instead of this, they chose to slap at the Chinese who then slugged them right in the kisser: sales of Japanese goods plummet in China due to popular disgust with the Japanese response.

Japan tried forcing the Chinese into doing business. It failed. They then pretended to apologize but it was totally insincere. Each time the Chinese signaled, "No, go back and learn how to kow tow before visiting us". Now they propose a meeting.

FRIENDLY APPROACH: Koizumi aims to fix China ties

The Asahi Shimbun

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi indicated he will take a friendlier approach to China in a planned summit this week as the two countries on Monday continued to bicker over which side should apologize first.

Tokyo has proposed that Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao hold talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Africa Conference in Indonesia later

Sounds friendly, no? Har. The Chinese are smart. They know the Japanese must kow tow BEFORE the meeting. This will be wrung from them.

Although Koizumi said he wants Beijing to prevent further riots, he added that the talks with Hu ``should not be a forum to exchange criticism against each other.''

``The summit could be different from the foreign ministers' meeting,'' Koizumi said.

Ding dong. Wrong choice of words, Koizumi. People apologizing do not get to set the terms of the apology. High handedly setting the agenda is an insult.

STOCKS TUMBLE COMPANIES TREMBLE screams the Asahi headlines. Well, great, time to be even more insulting while apologizing. Blood from stones and all that.

The Official Chinese view:

BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhuanet) -- China has the sincerity for improving relations with Japan, and hopes Japan could show the same sincerity to help create favorable conditions for the improvement of bilateral ties, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said here on Monday.

"As long as the two sides can properly handle historical and Taiwan issues, the political foundation of the Sino-Japanese relationship would be consolidated, the bilateral ties would be furthered, and the cause of Sino-Japanese friendship would be improved in a comprehensive way," said Tang during a meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura Nobutaka.

Welcoming the Japanese foreign minister to visit China at "a difficult time for China-Japan relations", Tang pointed out that the Japanese side had "repeatedly failed the trust of the Chinese people" and had been "driving on a reverse gear" on issues like history and Taiwan in recent years.

"This has done damage to the friendly relations between China and Japan, as well as to the friendly sentiments between the two peoples, which are the hard-won results of painstaking efforts by the older generations of political leaders of both countries," lamented Tang.

Note the much greater diplomatic language of the Chinese. Tang even appeals to one's sense of duty towards the older generations of leaders! How...delicate.

This isn't even a top Chinese news story! The top story today is "Yes, you CAN see the Great Wall from outerspace!" Heh. Love that. Another reminder of who is great and who is great. The Chinese will resolve this issue with the Japanese in their own sweet time. If it takes weeks of torment for the Japanese to figure out how to kow tow, this is OK. The Chinese also invented patient waiting at the doors to the Forbidden City.

Meanwhile, the news in the West is "Tech revival leads share rebound"! Yes, we will compute our way out of the huge mess we are in. There is no waves washing ashore. All is well. Pay no attention to the tsunami, it is a business opportunity.

Addendum: The press explanation for this sudden confidence is probably hog wash, here is one example why:

Philips hit by flat-screen falL:

Shares in Philips Electronics slid early on Monday by as much as 4%, after profits plunged 79% on losses at its flat-screen unit. Net profits at the Netherlands firm were 117m euros (£80m; $151m) in the three months to March, down from 550m euros in the same period of 2004.

Revenues were virtually flat at 6.64bn euros, on lower flat-screen prices and falling chip sales.

Whole sale inflation up 0.7%, housing starts down, GM reports billion loss. Pfizer reports an 87% drop in profits. Yup. Good news for investors. So the big headline is: "EARLY GAINS HOLD UP!"

Indeed. Hope springs ever eternal. Don't look at the data, make up stuff. Besides, more tax cuts for the rich means more money to invest.

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