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Pandas Behaving Badly

12:43 PM, Dec 3, 2009 • By KELLEY CURRIE
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Fresh off the triumph of their humiliation of President Obama during his Asian trip, this week the Chinese decided to stomp on America's Hat. I am, of course, referring to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's public dressing down of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their joint appearance in Beijing today. Wen apparently stunned diplomatic and media onlookers with his uncharacteristic (for him) rudeness toward the Canadian leader, who was making his first visit to China since taking office in 2006. The apparent source of Chinese unhappiness was a distinct failure by the barbarians to come calling at court in a timely fashion.

Perhaps more disturbing, but unsurprising, has been the reaction of Harper's political opposition and various other Canadian commentators. Rather than take umbrage at Wen's slight, they have attacked Harper for not doing enough to kowtow to Beijing for the past four years. Sheesh.

In other naughty panda news, the Washington Post reported today that a North Korean arms shipment bound for Iran that was seized in the UAE in July had spent some quality time in China. According to the Post:

The route chosen by North Korea to deliver the rocket components eventually seized by the UAE was hard to track. According to shipping records, the 10 large cargo containers left the North Korean port of Nampo on May 30 on a North Korean vessel, and two days later they were transferred to a Chinese ship in the port city of Dalian, in northern China.

From there, the containers were ferried to Shanghai, where on June 13 they were moved to a third ship, the ANL Australia, a Bahamian-flagged freighter owned by a French consortium. Spokesmen for the freighter's owner and operator say they received sealed cargo containers along with manifests that listed the contents as oil-well equipment.

By mid-June, the cargo had left Shanghai on the ANL Australia, which followed a meandering course through East and Southeast Asia, pausing in mid-July in Dubai, one of the world's largest seaports. Then it left on the final leg of its journey, to Shahid Rajai, on the shores of Iran's Strait of Hormuz.

So why, exactly, does the US need to spend so much time trying to explain to the Chinese that the Iranians and the North Koreans are up to no good? It seems pretty self-evident that the Chinese are fully aware of what is going on and either a) don't care; or b) find it useful to their own foreign policy objectives that the Iranians and North Koreans continue doing what they are doing.

And then there's this: the Financial Times has reported that the United Nations -- that incorruptible bastion of moral authority -- has suspended some Chinese projects from its carbon trading Ponzi scheme Clean Development Mechanism for **gasp** cheating. The UN's CDM was established under the Kyoto protocol to allow developing countries to sell carbon credits to developed countries trying to lower their emissions totals. In return for millions of dollars paid in actual cash from the developed countries, China apparently was creating many of these "credits" by building a bunch of wind farms. The problem is that China was planning to build those wind farms anyway, so really wasn't doing anything additional to help lower the world's carbon output.