Entries in Asia (5)


America's Loss, China's Gain: Obama's Keystone Decision Has Canada Planning More Oil Shipments to Asia

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline application -- against the advice of his own Jobs Panel's reccomendation for an "all in" energy policy -- was met with disappointment by critics here and our friends north of the border.

In a statement, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office said that President Obama called him Wednesday morning.

“The president explained that the decision was not a decision on the merits of the project and that it was without prejudice, meaning that TransCanada is free to reapply,” said the statement.  “Prime Minister Harper expressed his profound disappointment with the news.  He indicated to President Obama that he hoped that this project would continue given the significant contribution it would make to jobs and economic growth both in Canada and the United States of America.”

Thanks to Obama's decision, the United States' loss will be China's -- and the rest of Asia's -- gain.

Pointedly, the statement says that Harper, “reiterated to the president that Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports.”

That means Canada will explore selling more of its oil to Asia.

As Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told the CBC: “Our focus is, as you know, on diversifying our markets.  We currently have one customer for our energy exports.  That customer has said that it doesn’t want to expand at the moment.  So it certainly intensifies the broad strategic objective of the government to diversify to Asia.”

President Obama’s readout of the phone call is somewhat less informative: “President Obama called Prime Minister Harper to personally convey his Administration’s decision on the Keystone pipeline,” the White House statement reads.  “The President also reaffirmed the close alliance and friendship between the United States and Canada.”´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Asian Models All the Rage in Fashion World

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- From the top designer shows in New York to ads for the all-American brand J. Crew, a new group of supermodels is taking center stage. Move over, Heidi, Gisele and Naomi, and make way for Du Juan, Shu Pei and rising star Liu Wen.

Wen was a ubiquitous presence at New York Fashion Week this fall and was the most-booked model of color at this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

She was the first Chinese model to walk a Victoria's Secret runway show, which is usually dominated by blond bombshells.

Wen, 23, was among a group of models recently featured in a Vogue article heralding the rise of Asian models. The headline -- "Redefining Traditional Concepts of Beauty" -- quickly spawned controversy.

"They said a new crop of Asian models from China, South Korea and Japan is redefining traditional concepts of beauty," said blogger Jen Wang. "That's a little bit like Vogue saying, 'It's 2011 and we finally think Asian women are beautiful.'"

Wang is cynical about the trend and said it is driven not by a new appreciation of Asian beauty, but by a pure profit motive -- the booming buying power of the Chinese consumer.

"I think the fashion industry is starting to take note and starting to put people who represent that market into their pages," she said.

In cosmetics alone, the Asian market is poised to become the world's largest, growing to $85 billion a year.

Estee Lauder recently jumped on the bandwagon, signing Wen as its first Asian "brand ambassador," joining the ranks of Elizabeth Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow. A native daughter like Wen might unlock the door to China's enormous market.

"I think Estee Lauder should be celebrated for signing someone like Liu Wen to be their first Asian spokes model," said Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine. "A modeling contract is a holy grail for any model. To have an Asian face represent that, a whole 100 percent Asian born and bred face represent that, that's amazing."

Liu Wen has come a long way from her home village in China's Hunan Province. After winning a modeling contest, she was discovered by French stylist Joseph Carle.

"When I saw her I thought she's a Chinese Evangelista," said Carle. "She can do so much with such excellence and she can create an intimacy with the readers, too, because the readers want to identify with the girls."

Wen demurred when asked if she thought she had ever been passed over for work because she was Asian, and the barriers loom large. Critics say all-Asian castings -- as in Givenchy's haute couture show last fall -- reek of exoticism. It was the same criticism leveled at Vogue Italia for its so-called "all-black" issue.

"Unfortunately, it plays into the stereotypes that Asians all look alike," Jen Wang said of the Vogue spread. "Because the models did all kind of look alike."

Indeed, British Vogue's recent article about the rise of Asian models misidentified Liu Wen as a different Chinese model.

Zee said this line of criticism was justified.

"There's something to be said about grouping a bunch of Asian models together," Zee said. "I think that it feels almost like a fad or a trend, versus something that just feels like a melting pot of beauty."

Wen thinks the widening lens of beauty is more than an "it bag," and added that she doesn't care whether the trend was about diversity or the market.

"I feel the world is smaller, and the fashion world is getting bigger for any girl," she said. "Before you have black girl, white girl. Now you have kind of yellow-skinned girl. So it's Western meets Eastern."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Vice President Biden to Travel to China, Mongolia, and Japan

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has released a statement saying Vice President Joe Biden will depart for China, Mongolia, and Japan on August 16, 2011.  

He will visit China at the invitation of Vice President Xi Jinping – the first of the planned reciprocal visits between the vice presidents announced during President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington earlier this year.  

While in China, Vice President Biden will meet with Vice President Xi and other Chinese leaders, including President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, to discuss a broad range of issues.  

Vice President Biden will also visit the city of Chengdu, in China’s Southwest.

In Ulaanbaatar, the vice president will underscore U.S. support for Mongolia’s two decades of democratic development and our growing economic ties.  

In Japan, Vice President Biden will express U.S. support for its close ally in the wake of the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emergency.  

The vice president will thank U.S. civilian and military personnel for their assistance in responding to the disaster, as well as highlight Japan’s resilience during the recovery and rebuilding process.

Additional details about the vice president’s trip will be released at a later date.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio


Asia Markets Rally with News of U.S. Debt Deal, but Doubts Remain

Comstock/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- News of an agreement on a U.S. debt deal was met with a sigh of relief from Asian markets, with Japan and South Korea’s primary indexes up over 1% and the dollar raising sharply against the yen. But for China, the U.S.’s largest creditor, it has been a nail-biting wait. While a doomsday default scenario has likely been avoided, many are asking if the damage is already done; a cursory glance at China’s newspapers and online news forums would seem to indicate that answer is yes.  

One Internet user wrote on, "Nations that have U.S. treasury bonds are trapped. It's like a blood transfusion. If you don't do it, it will die and your debt assets will be washed away; but if you go on doing it, you'll be bogged down even further, and in the end your debt assets will still be washed away."

For now, China has little option but to sit tight: any mass selling of their dollar-denominated assets would further weaken the dollar, therefore diminishing the value of their investments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pyeongchang to Host the 2018 Olympic Winter Games

Karl Weatherly/Photodisc(DURBAN, South Africa) -- Pyeongchang, South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics after beating off Munich, Germany and Annecy, France by a wide margin.

Pyeongchang received 63 of the International Olympic Committee's 95 votes, ahead of Munich’s 25 and Annecy’s seven.

"This is one of the happiest days for our country, our people and millions of youth[s] dreaming of winter sport," Pyeongchan’s bid chief Cho Yang-ho said, according to BBC News.

Pyeongchang’s population of 47,000 hopes its strategic location near South Korea's east coast will help spread the Olympics to a lucrative new market in Asia and become a hub for winter sports in the region.

Pyeongchang’s success in securing the site for 2018’s Winter Games marks the third time Asia has hosted the Winter Olympic Games. Sapporo, Japan hosted the 1972 Winter Olympic Games before Nagano, Japan in 1998.

"I will make a good Olympics," declared 69-year-old South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak Lee. "This is a victory for the Koreans, thank you to them."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio