Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sarkozy et l'Asie...

Les premieres questions posees sur la presidence de Nicolas Sarkozy par un important representant de la presse officielle chinoise en poste en Asie. Nous sommes en haut du building de la presse nippone, invites par le celebre Foreign Press Center pour son remarquable cocktail annuel reunissant journalistes-correspondants, diplomates, gouvernements locaux, artistes et entrepreneurs. C'est ici, depuis un siecle, a Tokyo que se font les meilleures observations sur l'Asie, un fait explique par les extraordinaires reseaux d'influences exerces par les entrepreneurs nippons des "Shosha" et aux infos distillees par les "Asia Watchers" bases au Japon.

Un "pack" de reporters chinois, dont quelques tres grosses pointures pekinoises appreciant le bon vin francais servis ce soir ouvrent le cercle au francais present, qu'ils connaissent bien... et mon collegue chinois chef de bureau du plus grand et influent quotidien chinois me demande ouvertement : "Selon vous, Nicolas Sarkozy est-il le Junichiro Koizumi francais?" Voila la question qui interesse naturellement ces plumes de la grande presse de l'Etat chinois, plus interessees par Paris que par les premiers (faux) pas du gouvernement de Yasuo Fukuda.

Est ce un compliment pour ce qu'ils me decrivent comme etant selon eux (et pour beaucoup des francais) l'esprit de reforme, d'ouverture, de transformation des mentalites des francais ou bien s'agit il de critiques naissantes pekinoises sur les intentions de "Sarko l'americain", vu par l'Empire du Milieu comme un bulldozer populiste, habile manipulateur des medias, insensible aux aspirations des pays situes "a l'Est, en Asie et au Sud" et menant une vie un peu trop "boheme" pour les neo- confuceens...?

Sarkozy est il le Koizumi francais? Question neanmoins tres interessante sur l'ADN de la politique asiatique de la France sous Sarkozy avant sa prochaine visite en Chine a l'automne et au Japon pour le sommet du G-8 de Hokkaido-Toyako en 2008. Je leur reponds sur le meme ton franc et directement, et les questionne concernant les intentions chinoises vis a vis de l'Asie et des americains:

"Nous, les chinois, voulons d'abord, comme l'ont fait les pays fondateurs de l'Europe, nous reunir pacifiquement avec le Japon et la Coree, bien nous entendre avec le sud de l'Asie, batir ensemble nos ponts et nos institutions selon nos modeles," regardez Singapour par exemple, "et prier poliment les americains de se cantonner a leurs frontieres ou de bien vouloir comprendre nos realites."

"Notre revolution aujourd'hui", ajoute un diplomate chinois, "n'a pas disparu, contrairement a ce que vos collegues eloignes ecrivent sur la Chine. La revolution chinoise, c'est la reforme partout et pour tout." Bien vu. Que voulez vous avec la France lui ai je demande? "Beaucoup. Il faudra revoir tout cela apres les J.O. de Pekin et l'Exposition Universelle de Shanghai, nous avons quelques idees. Venez nous voir."

Apres les jeux... le pain ? Vaste programme que les Asia Watchers devront suivre attentivement.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Burma's tragedy

Yesterday at FCCJ, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Tin Win, a former member of the National League for Democracy in Burma, told me that not only the Burmese junta used forced labors but also foreign companies did. Tin Win spoke on the record.

Now a few quotes:

"Japanese foreign minister Masahiko Komura protested in the strongest terms at the killing of the 50-year-old journalist, Kenji Nagai, with his Burmese counterpart at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Japanese press agency Kyodo reported Saturday. Komura also demanded an account of the circumstances surrounding the journalist's death. As far as could be gleaned from media reports, he was shot at close range and was not caught in crossfire, he said...According to reports in the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun, the reporter was filming the protests Thursday at the Sule Pagoda, which has been a focal point for several of the demonstrations in Rangoon, when a military commander ordered soldiers to shoot. Nagai filmed the soldiers chasing protesters and then fled, but was pursued by a soldier who then shot him at close range. A Japanese doctor who examined his body said that the bullet had pierced his heart, according to the reports.


"Lawyer Shogo Watanabe, who represents many Burmese asylum-seekers in Japan, said the Japanese government should strongly reproach the Burmese junta and even try to take the international initiative to get the military government to move toward democratization of the country.

"The junta has put their hands on monks, who are untouchables (in their Buddhist culture), which showed that they will do anything to remain in power," Watanabe said. "But I think the people have stood up with a strong determination (to fight against the military regime.) And they won't stop now because they're afraid they may not have the chance to move toward democracy again for another 19 years, or even forever." (JT Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 "Scholars split over sanctions")


"On the other hand, Toshiro Kudo, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies at the Japan External Trade Organization, opposes isolating Burmese government by imposing strict economic sanctions, calling for continuing dialogue instead. An expert on Asian diplomacy, Kudo said such sanctions will not improve the situation because Myanmar would simply rely on its connections with China, India and Thailand. Japan's decision to cut economic ties with the country will hurt the civilians the most and break its already tenuous connection with the junta. "Once the junta judges that Japan is no different from the U.S., it will close all doors of negotiation with Japan," Kudo said. The close relations between Burma and Japan are based on history, he added, noting that Japan played a role during World War II in putting the country on the path to independence." (JT Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 "Scholars split over sanctions")


"French oil group Total says it has not made any new acquisitions or investments in Burma since 1998, after French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday urged the company to freeze investments in the southeast Asian country. Total defended its business in Burma, saying companies that would take their place in the country may be less ethical. The French oil giant directly employs at least 240 people in Burma, and operates the Yadana offshore gas field, selling the majority of its product to Thailand. Chevron, a U.S. oil company, also has a stake in the Yadana project. Critics say the money brought in by foreign investors like Total keeps the current military regime in power. Burma is thought to have substantial supplies of natural gas and oil that have attracted energy companies from China, India, and Malaysia."


"August 11, 2002: Bush’s Advisers Advocate Attacking Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and Other Countries. A Newsweek article suggests that some of Bush’s advisers advocate not only attacking Iraq, but also Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, and Burma, shocking many. One senior British official tells the magazine: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” [Newsweek, 8/11/2002; Newsweek, 8/11/2002]"