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Who Will Save the Euro?

WSJ: Internationalizing the yuan will be far from easy. WashPost: China’s insecurities overshadow its prosperity. Telegraph: The UN shows its cowardice over Nobel Prize ceremony.

Internationalizing the yuan will be far from easy

Business Asia column editor Joseph Sternberg writes in the Wall Street Journal that while there is a lot of talk again about the “internationalization” of the yuan, doing so will be quite difficult. This is mostly because the yuan will not be fully convertible.

QUOTE: The great virtue of the dollar, euro and yen as trade currencies is that companies can do anything with those monies after they receive them as payments—including paying other suppliers around the world, investing virtually anywhere, or converting freely among a range of other currencies.

The future of the euro depends on political will

Columnist Martin Wolf writes in the Financial Times that the euro will be able to survive the likely wave of debt restructurings to hit Europe if it has the political will to do so.

QUOTE: For skeptics the question has always been how robust a currency union among diverse economies with less than unlimited mutual solidarity can be. Only a crisis could answer that question.

North Koreans begin to show their contempt for the authorities

Author Bradley K. Martin writes in GlobalPost that more North Koreans are beginning to express their anger and frustration with their authorities. People are even showing disrespect to the ruling Kim family, despite decades of the leaders being glorified like gods.

QUOTE: Even if things haven’t reached the boiling point … in the long run political change is not out of the question in view of “the very hungry, very dissatisfied 20 million people” who are not part of the country’s elite.

China’s insecurities overshadow its prosperity

Columnist David Ignatius writes in the Washington Post that on the one hand China wants to become a global player, but on the other hand, its anxieties about domestic growth and possible social unrest prevent it from focusing on foreign affairs.

QUOTE: For all the country's prosperity and seeming confidence, its leaders are preoccupied with problems of internal growth and political stability.

The US must focus on its long-term prospects

Columnist Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that President Obama’s recent agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts illustrates that America is unwilling to take the big steps necessary to boost its economy and overall future.

QUOTE: We don’t have enough smart incentives to foster both innovation and manufacturing; we’re not importing enough talent in an age when we have to compete for jobs with low-wage but high-skilled Indians and Chinese — and we’re still piling up debt.

Taiwanese president should steer clear of China

Columnist Frank Ching writes in the China Post that despite some recent electoral wins, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou is likely to face serious opposition when he runs for re-election in 2012. The president must steer clear of talks with Beijing to put himself in the best position.

QUOTE: There is little support for negotiations that Beijing hopes will lead to political reunification. Any sign that President Ma is thinking of such talks in a second term could jeopardize his re-election prospects.

China will only push North Korea if it’s in its best interests

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, writes in the National Interest, an online foreign policy magazine, that the best hope for ending North Korea’s nuclear program is convincing China that it is in its best interests to persuade the North to change its ways. China should then use its economic clout to push North Korea.

QUOTE: The only way to enlist Beijing’s help will be to address Beijing’s concerns. The Chinese government will have to believe that inaction is more costly than action.

The UN shows its cowardice by not attending the Nobel Prize ceremony

Max Wind-Cowie writes in London’s Daily Telegraph that the United Nations needs to take a stronger stand in support of human rights and attend the Nobel Prize ceremony. The UN will lose its credibility if it does attend the event, even if it angers China.

QUOTE: As things stand, there will be two empty chairs at this year's Nobel Prize ceremony. One – Liu Xiaobo's – represents bravery, courage and conviction. The other – the UN's – stands for cowardice, hypocrisy and betrayal.

Europe needs strong leaders to save the euro

An editorial in the New York Times argues that European leaders are in denial about the state of the eurozone. The longer they refuse to address the problems by establishing a suitable refinancing and reform package, the worse the situation will become.

QUOTE: It needs an intervention fund big enough to face down panicky markets. And it needs to give countries that receive bailouts enough time to make their necessary fiscal adjustments.

Obama should take the Bush tax cuts further

Thomas Cooley, an economics teacher at New York University's Stern School of Business, and Lee Ohanian, an economics teacher at UCLA, write in the Wall Street Journal that while it is good that the Obama administration is willing to extend the Bush tax cuts, those cuts never went far enough. To really boost the economy by promoting savings and investment, tax reform should address the country’s low capital accumulation.

QUOTE: One important reason that our economy has less capital is because tax rates on capital gains, dividends and other forms of capital income have increased substantially.