Wednesday, November 16, 2005

In the Middle Kingdom

Landed in a somewhat chilly Beijing - the old Northern Capital of China - with the distinct smell of burnt coal over the plains stretching from the mountains down towards the sea.

It was a flight of 6315 km from Helsinki over Russia, the Urals, Siberia and the Gobi Desert.

The economic expansion is visible to each and everyone. So far this year the economy seems to have grown by more than 9 percent. There are hardly any bikes left on the streets of Beijing.

And the world is streaming by.

I left California a couple of days ago, but here in Beijing you today find its Governer Schwarzeneffer heading a big Californian trade delegation. Most of the Chinese exports to the US arrive at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports of Southern California.

And on Saturday US President Georg Bush arrives here on the continuation of his Asian trip. He is in Japan for talks with Prime Minister Koizumi today, and heads from there to the 21-natiom APEC summit meeting in Busan in South Korea.

His father - President Georg Bush 41 - is already here, in fact at the same event where I will take part in the debates.

This afternoon, I will share a panel at the big CEO Forum with the Chinese Minister of Finance Jin Renqing and the South Korean Minister of Information and Technology Chin Daeje to discuss trends in the global economy.

The Middle Kingdom seems to be in the middle of most things these days.