Europe’s unending petitions for a big-check Chinese bailout are beginning to sound like a broken record. The FT covers its latest iteration:
Europe’s courtship of Beijing is moving to a more intense level. Klaus Regling, the chief of the eurozone bail-out fund, is in Beijing discussing possible support. Just a few days ago French President Nicolas Sarkozy conferred with Hu Jintao, his Chinese counterpart, to win Beijing’s support. They should not hold out their hopes too high. […]
As Wen Jiabao, premier, pointed out at the 2011 Dalian World Economic Forum, the European Union has first to put its house in order. When countries and political parties in the eurozone squabble among themselves over how to proceed, how can China support any hastily assembled rescue packages?
China’s $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves is ample incentive for any faltering currency union with a massive sovereign debt crisis to repeatedly ask for help. Given the scale of the crisis and the intricate (a.k.a. unworkable) structure of the Eurozone, their concern is understandable.China’s response, however, is equally predictable. As Via Media has pointed out before, if helping Europe means lending money at market rates on good security and buying valuable properties at attractive prices, you can count China in. But they operate as a wealth fund, not a charity. A healthy Europe is in export-pushing, US-balancing China’s best interest, but China isn’t ready to be Europe’s organ donor, sharing one of its two kidneys out of solidarity and love.It’s simple, really. China is like a bank. If you don’t need money, the bank stands ready and willing to lend. If you are in trouble, you are on your own.Let Europe put together a reasonable and practical plan, and the whole world will join in to be part of the solution. Nobody wants Europe to fail. But nobody can do for the Europeans what they cannot do for themselves.