The longer Beijing waits to say something the more it usually means that it doesn’t know what to say. In the case of the U.S. credit rating agency S&P’s decision to lower its outlook on U.S. government debt to negative from stable (its remains a AAA credit), it might have been better saying nothing at all. Japan, the U.S.’s other large creditor nation along with China, and even South Korea quickly offered words of support for Washington. By comparison, Beijing’s response, now it has eventually come, inserted into the transcript of a routine briefing where the issue wasn’t mentioned, sounds mealymouthed. “We hope the U.S. government earnestly adopts responsible policies and measures to protect the interests of investors,” the foreign ministry posted on its web site, adding that it had “taken note” of S&P’s announcement. Awkward.