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China’s President Hu Jinbao on official visit in Denmark before G-20

State visits are state visits; but the question is why? And now? It is the first state visit from China in Denmark – ever?

There were trade orders, but none of them revolutionary. The amount was about 4 bio. USD. The major agreements were:

A.P. Møller-Mærsk deal with Ningbo Port Group.

Carlsberg and the Yunnan province – a new brewery.

Otherwise food, fodder and “environment”. Nothing earth shattering (unfortunate turn of phrase in Japan) to illustrate: Danish Crown and Shineway 2800 tons of pork – the equivalent of about 30.000 pigs or .1% of annual Danish pork production – hardly a snack for a reception. The importance is the symbol.

The President had a cup of coffee on board the royal yacht – anchored conveniently in the city center – conversation should have eased by the Prince Consort that actually talks mandarin. I was a bit disappointed that the Crown Prince didn’t jump in (he is a Navy SEAL) – in the harbor – it would have given food for thought: Try that in Shanghai! – not recommended. “Environment” is a rather hyped subject generally; but could do with greater attention in China.

From President Hu Jinbao’s speech there was the traditional yada, yada, yada; but one thing stuck out – if only to confirm some of the analysis regular readers of ValueWalk have been burdened with:

In the next 5 year plan China is opening up to imports.

So it wasn’t the cultural exchange nor the business deals – and hardly the royal banquet with wine furnished by the Prince Consort’s chateau in Cahors (never liked the Malbec grape myself) – years ago we actually bought 2 bottles of the Cahors wine – the other was used for a coq-au-vin (gave a severe reprimand from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

No we must look elsewhere for an explanation of the unusual expression of friendship – I know China is unpopular; but when you go out of your way to visit a tin-pot nation like Denmark? I mean – few are that hard up for company?

Maybe we should go back some years to the Clinton administration: Denmark thumbed the Chinese “human rights” issue – officially supported by the USA as China made some rather mean reprisals on the trade front. The matter simmered down as it should, but Denmark got a “partnership” with China – which means that Denmark is one of the few countries that can bring up human rights issues with China without causing a major diplomatic flap.

The situation in Tibet is really getting out of hand – and it could be a way to get in contact with the Tibetans to see if a solution could be worked out.

The other main issue is the North Atlantic where the official explanation is the minerals on Greenland; but I have seen some survey reports. The rare earths are there; but the mining costs of such low grade ore are vast.

So it is more probable China is puzzled about the US Navy plan to switch the 50-50 balance between the Atlantic and the Pacific to a 40-60 distribution. But then again – that is speculation.