Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Baloch kid watches when Pak Army's Armour vehicle comes

M&As by China in countries part of BRI soar, despite capital crack down

https://www.thedollarbusiness.com/news/mas-by-china-in-countries-part-of-bri-soar-despite-capital-crack-down/51033
M&As by China in countries part of BRI soar, despite capital crack down

he number of deals by Chinese companies targeting the Belt and Road countries are 109 this year.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) by Chinese firms in nations which are part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are rising, even as the Government cracks down on acquisitive conglomerates of China to limit capital outflows.

The acquisitions by Chinese firms in 68 countries that are officially linked to the foreign policy of President Xi Jinping totaled around $33 billion till August 14, exceeding the $31 billion total count for the entire 2016, as per the data by Reuters.

The BRI project, unveiled in 2013, is aimed at creating a modern-day ‘Silk Road’, which connect China by sea and land to Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, and further to the Europe, Africa and Middle East. President Xi has pledged around $124 billion for the initiative in May.

The increase in acquisition-linked investment by Chinese companies in the Belt and Road region comes as the size of all outbound M&As from the country has declined 42% year-on-year till August 14, the data showed.

With China’s move to strengthen the currency - Yuan by limiting the capital flow outside the country and to put a stop on the debt-fuelled acquisitions for ensuring financial stability, it has become tough for the buyers to get approvals for outside deals.

The stricter regulatory scrutiny of acquisitions abroad comes after the Chinese firms spent a whopping $220 billion last year, buying up overseas everything from football clubs to movie studios.

However, the strict regulatory scrutiny has not affected the pursuit of Chinese companies for acquisitions along the BRI corridor, as these investments are considered as strategic for both the companies and the economy.

The number of deals by Chinese companies targeting the Belt and Road countries are 109 so far this year, as against 175 in the entire 2016 and 134 in 2015, according to the data given by Reuters.

The biggest deal so far this year in a Belt and Road country was the $11.6 billion buyout by a Chinese consortium of the Global Logistics Properties of Singapore

Xi loyalists grab the reins of pivotal projects

https://asia.nikkei.com/Features/China-up-close/Xi-loyalists-grab-the-reins-of-pivotal-projects


August 16, 2017 9:42 am JST

China up close

Belt and Road, Beijing redevelopment spark dangerous turf wars

KATSUJI NAKAZAWA, Nikkei senior staff writer

TOKYO -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is giving close allies full control over two signature projects that promise to help him achieve total political supremacy: the Belt and Road Initiative and the remodeling of Beijing.

The former -- also known as One Belt, One Road -- is an effort to create a vast economic zone linking China to Europe and Africa by land and sea. This drive to build a new Silk Road and expand Beijing's sphere of influence will entail astronomical investments over many years. Key positions related to the initiative have been changing hands one after another. 

"It's astonishing how quickly big national projects, including the core One Belt, One Road program, have been taken over by close aides to President Xi," said a Chinese source familiar with economic policy.

"They are mostly from the two provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian," the source said. "The momentum of the 'Zhejiang faction' and the 'Fujian faction' is tremendous."

The factions comprise Xi's former subordinates in the provinces, where he worked for a total of 22 years.

Construction workers piece together a new railway line -- part of China's Belt and Road Initiative -- near the town of Voi in Kenya. © Reuters

Consider the new leader of the National Development and Reform Commission, which handles general planning and international cooperation for the Belt and Road Initiative. He Lifeng, a 62-year-old Fujian faction member and close Xi aide, was promoted to the top post in February.

His predecessor as chairman of the commission -- once the control tower for the socialist planned economy -- was close to former Premier Wen Jiabao.

Bonding over basketball

The ties between Xi and He date back decades.

Thirty-two years ago, Xi moved to the Fujian city of Xiamen to assume the post of deputy mayor. Still in his early 30s, he was exceptionally young for the job.

Balochistan: Pakistan forces abducted 21 people including 7 women from Harnai and Tump

http://balochwarna.com/2017/08/16/balochistan-pakistan-forces-abducted-21-people-including-7-women-from-harnai-and-tump/


about 14 hours ago

QUETTA: Pakistani FC and military forces have abducted at least 18 people including seven women from Harnai and three people from Tump region of Balochistan on Monday evening.

According to details Pakistani forces conducted offensives in Shahrag area of Harnai and abducted 11 persons including seven women of Yar Jan Marri’s family.

Earlier, in the same area, Pakistani forces attacked the house of Mouzo Marri and abducted wife and three children.

All the abducted persons have been shifted to an undisclosed location and their whereabouts remained unknown until the filing of this report.

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan forces have previously abducted tens of people including women and children from Bolan, Margat, Peer Ismael, Harnai and Sibbi.

Pakistan forces also killed several dozen abducted innocent Baloch in staged encounters. The victims of fake encounters were previously abducted people whom Pakistani forces killed under custody and claimed that they were killed in gun battles with Pakistani forces.

Meanwhile, Pakistani forces raided a town in Tump region of district Kech Balochistan and started a house-to-house search operation.

Pakistani forces tortured and harassed resident of the town during their rampage and abducted at least three people named Saed son of Majeed, Naveed son of Majeed and Mama Bahad son of Mohammad Bakhsh.

Pakistan military, FC, Intelligence Agencies and their local death squads intensified their brutalities in Makuran, Kech, Gwadar and other areas of Coast Belt in Balochistan after the so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project

Doklam face-off a turning point in Sino-Indian relationship

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1061459.shtml



By Xie Chao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/15 20:08:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

India has been intensifying its military presence in the Doklam area since it trespassed into Chinese territory on June 18. The aggressiveness demonstrated in the move shows that the Modi government is strengthening its intention for a comprehensive strategic confrontation with China. By challenging China's sovereignty in the Doklam region, India aims to maintain and showcase its hegemonic status in South Asia.

Before Modi took office, India's economy and thus its national strength had maintained years of relatively high growth. However, during the same period, China's national strength was growing even faster, and therefore the gap between the two countries was getting bigger. Beijing's influence has been expanding quickly in South Asia in recent years as it is dedicated to developing friendly cooperation with all countries in the region. The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has further deepened Beijing-Islamabad friendship. Border negotiations with the Bhutan government have made periodic achievements. China has improved its ties with Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and other South Asian countries.

Traditionally, India's elites have insisted on the country's military and diplomatic dominance in South Asia. But they have now realized that India is not capable of maintaining its absolute advantage over other South Asian countries, and its dominant status in the region is being weakened and challenged.

India's hard-line leadership is attempting to take advantage of structural conflicts between Beijing and Washington. New Delhi's growing national strength encourages itself to push the Beijing-New Delhi bilateral relationship into conflict and confrontation and therefore to contain China's growing influence in the region. That's why we see after a short period of sounding out the Chinese government, Modi is actively leading the two nations into the direction of confrontation.

India's political environment makes it easier for politicians to confront China than improve ties with it. Modi has opted for confrontation with China, with the consideration that by challenging China, the Modi government can maintain India's influence and hegemony in South Asia.

The standoff in the Doklam area has already triggered strong confrontational sentiments in both Chinese and Indian society. No matter how it ends, the Beijing-New Delhi bilateral relationship is highly likely to enter into a confrontational stage. India's current domestic political environment is favorable for Modi to remain in office for a long period, and thus it is highly likely that the Doklam face-off symbolizes a long-term confrontation between Beijing and New Delhi. 

Hence it is safe to predict that even if the standoff is peacefully addressed, it will only temporarily suspend the Sino-Indian strategic confrontation, and the Modi administration will take provocative actions against Beijing on other issues.

Modi's handling of China affairs has shown such a tendency. India has taken an aggressive attitude against China on the Belt and Road initiative, the CPEC, the South China Sea disputes, the bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the reform of the UN Security Council and other issues.

The strength gap between China and India determines that New Delhi cannot contain China by itself and has to enlist the help of Washington and Tokyo. The timing of the Doklam face-off coming shortly after Modi's visit to the US is not a coincidence. Taking advantage of Washington's strategic aspiration of using New Delhi to contain and confront Beijing, Modi is attempting to strengthen political and military cooperation with the US. Meanwhile, India-Japan collaborations in the Malabar drill and cooperation in the nuclear and military fields will give New Delhi more bargaining chips to counter China. Modi is hoping such engagement will help maintain and strengthen its hegemony in South Asia.

India's economic gap with China means that India cannot prevent China from deepening economic cooperation with South Asian countries. At this point, China's Belt and Road initiative has a strong basis of support among the public and governments in South Asia. However, New Delhi believes that it could utilize Beijing's structural conflicts with Washington and Tokyo to obtain some political support from the international community, and thus it would be feasible to confront Beijing politically and militarily. With nuclear weapons, India is also confident of its military capabilities.

Given the above, India's provocation this time is not a simple border dispute, but a turning point of the Sino-Indian relationship. No matter how the standoff ends, Beijing and New Delhi will enter into a stage of long-term strategic confrontation and the confrontation will be mainly reflected in political and military matters. 

The author is a PhD candidate at the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion

DIFFUSING CRISIS AT DOKLAM

http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/diffusing-crisis-at-doklam.html



Thursday, 17 August 2017 | Pravin Sawhney | in Oped

Present stand-off is the result of India's tenuous hold on LAC. Unlike most times, when New Delhi downplayed Chinese transgressions, this time, with Bhutan involved, it is not doing so

As the Doklam crisis between India and China enters its third month, two questions worth deliberation are: What is the future of this crisis/how will it end? How to diffuse future crises?

The good thing about this crisis is that neither side wants war. Both nations want peace to fulfil the grand agenda that each has clearly spelt out: China’s Belt and Road initiative, and India’s Act East policy and Think West policy. Notwithstanding the congruous peaceful upwards trajectory of both nations, if cooperation with strategic mutual trust is still not there, the reasons are not difficult to find. China does not assess India to be its rival in Asia. Instead it sees itself pitted against the United States for supremacy in the Eurasian landmass; and the Western-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. Since China believes that it can shape a unipolar Asia which India contests, geo-strategic rivalry becomes obvious. Matters are accentuated since both leaders have strong nationalistic images at home.

Moreover, China has deftly positioned itself much better — legally and militarily — on the disputed border. From the 1980s when China had offered a give-and-take solution to India to resolve the border dispute, it, today, wants it all. According to China, it now has a 2,000-km long Line of Actual Control [LAC] (as against India’s assertion of 3,488-km) with India, which excludes Ladakh. Moreover, the LAC, which comprises all of Arunachal Pradesh (called south Tibet by China) is claimed by Beijing. This is not all. Chinese President Xi Jinping has spurned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to mutually agree to the LAC alignment so that transgressions would minimise.

The Doklam crisis is the result of India’s tenuous hold on the LAC. Unlike most times, when India has downplayed Chinese regular transgressions across the LAC, this time, with Bhutan involved, it was not possible to do so. With two sides having set difficult demands to withdraw forces from the Doklam plateau, the situation has become sensitive, requiring urgent solution without either side losing face.

Unfortunately, unlike the 1986-87 Sumdorong Chu crisis, where both sides remained militarily engaged for seven years, this time, it will not be possible. For one, China will be perceived as India’s equal — in however limited military aspect — which it will not countenance. For another, India is not militarily prepared for an escalation which has its own dynamics. Given China’s impressive militarily capabilities in various war domains, there is a lot it can do below the nuclear weapons threshold, including take recourse to available inter-operability between the Chinese and Pakistani militaries to fight together.

Given the stakes for both sides, it is essential that they talk. Since China has set the condition that talks will follow and not precede withdrawal of Indian troops from Doklam, third party intervention — albeit discreetly — becomes necessary.

For this reason, Russia could help break the logjam at the coming Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in China from September 3 to 5. The agenda of the Brics summit, which is ‘stronger partnership for a brighter future’ is what is needed to bring China and India to the negotiating table.

The Modi Government would do well to get in touch with Russia at the highest level so that a successful mechanism for mutual disengagement of forces in Doklam is worked out at the earliest. India should not repeat the mistake which precipitated the Doklam crisis.

For instance, three weeks before the Chinese road construction party moved into the disputed Doklam plateau on June 16, it had twice informed India about its intentions. Yet, instead of talking, India purportedly kept quiet, and allowed its Army to block road construction on June 18, resulting in the face-off.

On the issue of how to handle similar crisis in the future, something more than mechanisms for confidence building measures (CBMs) needs to be done. India and China have innumerable such mechanisms at the field, diplomatic and even political representative levels, yet they have not helped in resolving Doklam. Instead of introspecting on their futility, a former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, has suggested the need for strategic communications to handle future Doklams, implying more mechanisms between the two sides. Since CBMs are only as good as the political will, these will not help.

What India needs is real — and not perceived — military power, coupled with a roadmap to build strategic cooperation with China. Once done, India will find it easier to shape its rise through the Act East and Think West policy.

Building military power, however, will not be easy because it requires transformational rather than incremental changes. India needs insightful military reforms to build and synergise various war domains with complete involvement of the political leadership. This has never been done.

For example, the Arun Singh committee report of 2002 and the Naresh Chandra committee report a decade later, had restricted themselves to bureaucratic-military reforms while keeping the political leadership out of the ambit. This will not work.

This writer has suggested a roadmap to build military power in the co-authored book, ‘Dragon on Our Doorstep: Managing China Through Military Power’. These could become the starting point for a wider debate on this subject. Genuine steps by India to build military power will not go unnoticed in China where the People’s Liberation Army forms the pivot of the Belt and Road initiative.

Building strategic cooperation is both easy and difficult. Easy because all it requires is for both sides to be sensitive about each other’s mutual concerns. While India should be sensitive about Tibet, China should be sensitive about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will pass through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Delhi must remember that Tibet (along with Taiwan) are China’s core concerns over which it would go to war. Hence, any future visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh should be handled with care and sensitivity.

Similarly, there are numerous ways in which the CPEC alignment could still be made more acceptable to India. This requires Beijing to initiate talks with India rather than present it with a fait accompli. Since Delhi understands that the CPEC is the flagship of the Belt and Road initiative, it could, if bilateral talks were held, help find an acceptable solution to the conundrum.

The difficult part which prohibits strategic cooperation are India’s ideological baggage and China’s assessment of its position in the world. Even when it is impossible for India to get PoK back from Pakistan, Right-wing ideologues believe that it is possible. This is where Prime Minister Modi needs to step in and accept a realpolitik way forward.

This approach would not only help make peace with China, but with Pakistan as well. China, on the other hand, ought to be sensitive to India’s desire for a multi-polar Asia. Notwithstanding the yawning gap in national power between India and China, India is simply too big with enormous potential to be assessed as a swing state.

(The writer is editor, FORCE newsmagazine

All about Belt and Road: Indian, Chinese media continue blame game

http://www.atimes.com/article/started-indian-chinese-media-continue-blame-game/

EAL-TIME INTEL ON WHAT MOVES MARKETS

Accusations from both sides about Doklam standoff center around China's Belt and Road Inititiative

By ASIA UNHEDGEDAUGUST 17, 2017 5:32 AM (UTC+8)00

China’s state-controlled Global Times and Indian news outlet The Economic Times published editorials this week throwing more blame for the protracted border standoff in Doklam. Both commentaries accused the other side of orchestrating the conflict, and both said that it was in the interest of either supporting or derailing the China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Liu Zongyi wrote in the Global Times Tuesday on how India is trying to sabotage BRI:

India orchestrated the standoff to not just guarantee the security of the Siliguri Corridor – India’s sensitive “chicken’s neck” connecting its central and northeast regions, but more importantly to jeopardize China’s Belt and Road initiative. In this way it can reverse its strategic disparity with China in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region and tighten its grip on small countries there.

Given the rising nationalism in India, its leadership believes that the country has entered its third flourishing period since its independence and has the backing of the US and Japan to confront China. Meanwhile, Indian leaders have misjudged the will and resolution of Chinese government and leadership in defending China’s territorial sovereignty.

Dharminder Kumar responded on Wednesday in the Economic Times that China is trying to distract the Indian military from protecting India’s interests in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Part of CPEC, he explains, runs through Pakistan occupied Kashmir, territory disputed by India:

Then why is China risking a costly war? The answer to this question lies in two biggest developments in the subcontinent in the past few years: India’s surgical strike inside the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last year and China planning to build a global network of roads, ports and railways which it calls ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR). India boycotted the grand launch of OBOR because a part of it—China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India’s opposition to OBOR is the biggest sore point between India and China today. And that could be the reason behind China’s Doklam posture. Border disputes have lingered on for decades and have rarely led to such a prolonged stand-off.

So, the actual theatre of Doklam war might not be the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction where Indian and Chinese soldiers are facing off. It could be thousands of kilometres away—the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. In Doklam, China might be maneuvering to secure CPEC, its biggest strategic asset in the region

Warning from history: Could Japan-style crash hit China?

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/warning-from-history-could-japan-style-crash-hit-china/article19501646.ece


AFP

TOKYO,AUGUST 16, 2017 12:27 IST

UPDATED: AUGUST 16, 2017 17:53 IST

China is starting to look like Japan before its economic bubble burst in the early ‘90s

Sizzling property prices, a groaning debt load, wealthy tourists and tycoons willing to slap down eye-popping sums for art: China is starting to look like Japan before its economic bubble burst in the early ‘90s.

The similarities are not lost on Beijing: President Xi Jinping has commissioned a study to help China avoid Japan's pitfalls, according to Bloomberg, as growth slows and ratings agencies sound the alarm over its debt.

Fears over China's groaning debt load were heightened after the IMF warned on Tuesday that the world's second largest economy was on a "dangerous" path, urging Beijing to take a more sustainable course and speed up structural reforms.

China was also downgraded this summer by Moody's, with the credit rating agency citing the country's ballooning debt, sparking an angry response from Beijing.

Debt-fuelled investment in infrastructure and real estate has underpinned Chinese growth for years since the global financial crisis a decade ago decimated growth in Western markets that booming exporters relied on for growth.

Japan was the original Asian tiger, with growth surging at an average 9.0 percent annually between 1955 and 1973 in the long postwar boom, turning it into one of the world's great economic powers.

China has also basked in heady growth -- replacing Japan as the world's number two economy in 2010 -- and has not seen a single recession in decades.

United in debt

Japan too is groaning under a huge national debt, the legacy of monetary and fiscal policies aimed at boosting growth.

Japan's debt load is now more than 200 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. China's debt is around 260 percent of GDP, up from around 140 percent before the 2008 financial crisis.

Eighties-era Japan kept interest rates low, creating excessive liquidity in its economy.

Frenzied buying saw land prices quadruple in the mid-to-late eighties, and the Nikkei stock index hit almost 40,000 in 1989 -- double its current level.

But it all came to an end when the central bank abruptly tightened policy. Stock and land prices plunged, businesses stopped investing, consumers stopped spending and bad loans piled up.

That ushered in a period of low or no growth known as the "lost decades".

Chinese stock prices remain well off their 2015 highs. But mainland house prices have been soaring, particularly in hubs like Beijing, Shanghai and southern industrial powerhouse Shenzhen.

Both countries saw their arrival on the world stage announced by striking acquisition of foreign assets, as Chinese overseas investment hit $170 billion last year, surging 44 percent from 2015.

China's Anbang Insurance bought New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel for almost $2 billion in 2014, while tycoon Liu Yiqian purchased Modigliani's "Nu Couche" for a record $170.4 million in 2015.

Those big-ticket purchases bear the hallmarks of when Sony scooped up Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion in 1989 and Mitsubishi Estate paid nearly $850 million for the controlling stake in the operator of New York's Rockefeller Center.

In 1990, Japanese paper tycoon Ryoei Saito bought Vincent Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr Gachet" for $82.5 million and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Bal du Moulin de la Galette" for $78.1 million.

"What's scary is that people in China are thinking, 'China is special, so we are OK.' That's exactly how people felt in Japan during the bubble era," said Kokichiro Mio, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

Reining in the rhinos

Still, China is not a mirror image of Japan 30 years ago.

The Chinese economy and its currency are tightly controlled by the state and shielded from foreign influence to a far greater extent than Japan.

And Beijing has launched a crackdown on "grey rhinos" -- powerful private conglomerates -- amid fears they are racking up dangerous debt levels through buying frenzies and threatening financial stability.

"The current circumstance in China is considerably better than that of Japan back then," said He Chao, assistant professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

"The whole property market... is under relatively strong control of the Chinese government."

Lessons from Japan suggest officials should have acted more quickly to bring in stricter banking regulations to keep lenders from overextending themselves and better manage the economic slowdown.

But Chinese "authorities are more able to regulate bank loans and the financing of speculative transactions, and they can intervene in markets", said Ivan Tselichtchev, an economics professor Japan's Niigata University.

Others point out that China is not the advanced economy that Japan was at the time its bubble burst, meaning there is much more room for the economy to grow and increase productivity.

But even if China is headed for Japan-style troubles, warnings from its neighbour may not mean much.

"Unless you feel the pain, I think the message doesn't quite hit home," said Mio of NLI Research Institute.

"China is not without people who are voicing concerns, but as it was in Japan, that doesn't stop people from investing especially when you think prices will only go up

China’s New Silk Road investment surges despite crackdown on overseas deals

http://m.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2106964/chinas-new-silk-road-investment-surges-despite


Huge spending in 68 countries linked to government trade initiative, amid tight scrutiny of Chinese corporate buyouts abroad to rein in outflow of capital

ReutersUPDATED : Wednesday, 16 Aug 2017, 8:47PM

Mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies in countries that are part of the “Belt and Road Initiative” are soaring, even as Beijing cracks down on China’s acquisitive conglomerates to restrict capital outflows.

Chinese acquisitions in the 68 countries officially linked to President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy totalled US$33 billion as of Monday, surpassing the US$31 billion tally for all of 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Unveiled in 2013, the “Belt and Road” project is aimed at building a modern-day “Silk Road”, connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Central Asia and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

At a summit in May, Xi pledged US$124 billion for the plan, but it has faced suspicion in Western capitals that it is intended more to assert Chinese influence than Beijing’s professed desire to spread prosperity.

Overseas deals a national security matter for China, Xi says

The surge in Chinese companies’ acquisition-linked investments in the “Belt and Road” corridor comes as the volume of all outbound mergers and acquisitions from China has dropped 42 per cent year on year as of Monday, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

Beijing’s move to prop up the yuan by restricting the flow of capital outside the country and clamp down on debt-fuelled acquisitions to ensure financial stability has made it tougher for buyers to win approval for deals abroad.

 

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Regulators have tightened the screws further since June, reviewing deal agreements in minute detail and ordering a group of lenders to assess their exposure to offshore acquisitions by several big companies that have been on overseas buying sprees, including HNA Group, Dalian Wanda Group and Fosun Group.

The heightened regulatory scrutiny of overseas acquisitions comes after companies spent a record US$220 billion in 2016 on assets overseas, buying up everything from movie studios to European football clubs.

The scrutiny, however, has not impacted on Chinese companies’ pursuit of targets along the “Belt and Road” corridor, as those investments are considered strategic for the companies as well as the Chinese economy.

“People are thinking in a long-term approach when making investments along ‘Belt and Road’ countries,” said Hilary Lau, a corporate and commercial lawyer and partner at the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

“The acquisitions are also policy driven. There are funds allocated by Chinese banks and state funds for “Belt and Road” deals,” he said.

The number of Chinese deals targeting “Belt and Road” countries totalled 109 this year, compared to 175 in the whole of last year and 134 in 2015, the Thomson Reuters data showed.

What’s real and what’s not? China’s grip on overseas deals leaves everyone in the dark

Companies enjoy a relatively smooth approval process for deals along the “Belt and Road” project as regulators tend to put them in a different basket when reviewing outbound investments, according to lawyers and deal makers.

“If you are doing ‘One Belt, One Road’, that becomes the first sentence in the document” to the regulators, said a senior investment adviser at a Chinese company that has acquired several overseas businesses.

“It is a wise thing to point out early on,” said the adviser, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The largest deal in a “Belt and Road” country so far this year was a Chinese consortium’s US$11.6 billion buyout of the Singapore-based Global Logistics Properties.

Other top deals include the US$1.8 billion purchase of an eight per cent ownership interest in an Abu Dhabi oil company by the state-owned oil giant China National Petroleum Corp and HNA Group’s US$1 billion acquisition of a logistics company, CWT, which has not yet closed.

Why Europe and the US cannot afford to ignore China’s belt and road

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China’s foreign exchange regulator, said this month that domestic companies would still be encouraged to participate in “Belt and Road” activities.

HNA, which has seen at least two overseas deals hit a hurdle as a result of the crackdown on transferring money, has said it plans to prioritise investments that are in industries and regions mapped out under the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

The acquisitions are predominantly in energy and infrastructure sectors, said Hilary Lau of Herbert Smith Freehills.

“We’ve seen a lot of activities recently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar. The whole Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh corridor is also hot as it’s connecting the East and West,” he said

CPEC – a game changer

http://pakobserver.net/cpec-game-changer/


    

Mohammad Jamil
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, linking Gwadar Port to the Chinese province of Xinjiang, will be a game changer not only for Balochistan and Pakistan but also for the world trade. In Balochistan, development activity has picked up with the return of peace after years of insurgency and violence. A few countries are trying to sabotage the mega project, but Provincial Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti has more than once said the provincial government would do its part in providing fool-proof security to workers during the construction period. With the development efforts of the federal and provincial governments and efforts of the Army Balochistan youth having been inducted in the army, who will frustrate the designs of enemies of Pakistan. People of Balochistan and even Jirga are likely to support efforts for peace and development in Balochistan.
In the past, Baloch youth, the jewel of human being, bubbling with enormous talent, vitality and energy had been suppressed by Sardars. But, whenever he got the chance he turned out an acknowledged doctor, engineer, lawyer, civil servant, diplomat and general of sterling quality. Various governments in the past, whether military or elected, had appeased and mollycoddled illusive Sardars, chieftains and local wielders who had been riding a rough shod over Baloch commoners, particularly youth. Billions of rupees were poured into the provincial treasury from the centre in the name of packages and development plans from 2002 to 2009 but one did not see any worthwhile project with first-class educational facilities in diverse fields and disciplines for the commoner Baloch youth. Since Abdul Malik was elected CM and then Sanaullah Zehri is at the helm, funds are being spent on the projects that can be seen on the ground.
Not only Balochistan and its people but people of Pakistan will benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC project is part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” plan to expandits trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia. It will give China easier access to the Middle Eastern oil via the deepwater port of Gwadar. Of course, the completion of Gwadar would make Balochistan economic hub and create a strategic nexus between Pakistan, China and Central Asia. It would provide links from the Caspian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz, and enable Gwadar to compete with Persian Gulf ports. The US is wary of Chinese strategic access to the Arabian Sea and its presence in the region. Reportedly, the US tried several times to persuade Pakistan against involving China in the mega project but Pakistan remained firm on its commitment to China.
On 1st June 2015, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue of CPEC during his recent visit to China (2015) and called the mega project unacceptable for the country, which was sheer interference in the affairs of a sovereign country. During a press conference in June 2015, Sushma Swaraj also told reporters that the Indian government had summoned the Chinese envoy over the $46 billion economic corridor that is to run from Gwadar in Pakistan’s west to China’s Kashghar. China’s Foreign Office rejected India’s reservations on CPEC, and said that “India’s concerns are not right enough and we will carry on trade ties with Pakistan.” He added that the CPEC would bring stability and prosperity in the region. Out of desperation, India has stepped its vile acts. Arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav bears testimony to the fact that India is involved in terror acts.
The provincial government, federal government and military have contributed towards winning the hearts and minds of the people; which is why many Farari commanders have laid down arms and dissidents have been forced to come to the negotiating table. After successful completion of Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad is progressing well, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday visited Rajgal valley, Khyber Agency, where he was given detailed briefing on progress of Operation Khyber-4 in which forces have cleared over 92 percent of the area, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Talking to officers and troops on the occasion, COAS said: “With the full backing of the nation, we are heading towards a normalized Pakistan where writ of State and supremacy of law would be ensured so that every Pakistani will be able to play his positive and rightful part in Pakistan’s progress.
It is imperative to establish the writ of the State throughout Pakistan to create climate conducive to investment and development. Reportedly, the US had tried several times to persuade Pakistan against involving China in the mega project. India has invested heavily in the road linking project from Afghanistan to Iran’s Chabahar port to lessen the importance of Gwadar Port. But given the determination of Pakistan and China, the project would be completed in time. Balochistan will become an economic hub and people of Balochistan and other provinces of Pakistan will benefit from the mega project. It will also help Pakistan to achieve self-reliance, get rid of the dependency syndrome. Of course, Pakistan would become militarily strong and India would think twice before hurling threats or resorting to posturing.
Many anti-Pakistan lobbies have been at work to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as they know that with the completion of its projects Pakistan will usher into an era of progress and prosperity. There are others who wittingly or unwittingly create unfounded fear and misconception about the CPEC. Anyhow, CPEC will open new vistas of development as a result of which the national economy will grow fast, lead to creation of new job opportunities, poverty reduction and development of transportation sector and boost industrial growth. CPEC is a comprehensive package of cooperative initiatives and projects, which covers key areas including connectivity, information network infrastructure, energy cooperation, industries and industrial parks, agricultural development, poverty alleviation, tourism, financial cooperation as well as livelihood improvement including municipal infrastructure, education, public health and people-to-people communication. Energy sector has been assigned top priority to help Pakistan overcome energy shortages.
However, Gwadar Port Project is the centerpiece of Pak-China Strategic Partnership with its strategic location and potential for becoming the future economic and energy hub. The projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will transform it into one of the world’s leading port cities having top-class commercial and tourist facilities, integrated infrastructure and investment opportunities. This will make Gwadar a catalyst for development of Makran Coast and Balochistan in particular and Pakistan in general. The first phase of Gwadar port with three multipurpose berths having a total quay length of 602 meters is fully operational. The first phase was completed last year, which included three multipurpose berths of 602m quay length, one service berth of 100m length, 4.35 km navigable channel of 11.6/12.5m depth, roads, plinths and transit shed, operational craft and equipment including navigational aids and shore-based port buildings and allied facilities

China may be fighting the Doklam war on Pakistan front

http://m.economictimes.com/news/defence/decoding-the-doklam-puzzle-china-may-be-fighting-its-border-war-on-pakistan-front/articleshow/60081785.cms

View: China may be fighting the Doklam war on Pakistan front

By Dharminder Kumar, ECONOMICTIMES.COM | Aug 16, 2017, 03.41 PM IST



China cannot start a war with India, even if it's a localised conflict over a small piece of high-altitude land that remains hard to access most of the time.

Will India and China go to war over Doklam? India has refrained from showing any aggression so far. China has heightened the war rhetoric but without backing it with any solid action. It seems China does not want an actual war but a prolonged, war-like situation.

China cannot start a war with India, even if it's a localised conflict, over a small piece of high-altitude land that remains hard to access most of the time. Such a misadventure will carry heavy diplomatic, economic and even military costs.

China has begun to project itself as a responsible global power as it seeks to enlarge its international footprint. Its huge debt—about 300 per cent of GDP — even if most of it is state-owned and thus manageable, remains a big economic challenge. India is a nuclear power, and there is no guarantee a local conflict won't blow out of control.

Then why is China risking a costly war? The answer to this question lies in two biggest developments in the subcontinent in the past few years: India's surgical strike inside the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last year and China planning to build a global network of roads, ports and railways which it calls 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR). India boycotted the grand launch of OBOR because a part of it—China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India's opposition to OBOR is the biggest sore point between India and China today. And that could be the reason behind China's Doklam posture. Border disputes have lingered on for decades and have rarely led to such a prolonged stand-off.

So, the actual theatre of Doklam war might not be the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction where Indian and Chinese soldiers are facing off. It could be thousands of kilometres away—the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. In Doklam, China might be maneuvering to secure CPEC, its biggest strategic asset in the region.

CPEC is a network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China's Xinjiang region to the Gwadar Port in Pakistan. It can give China an alternative to its main trade route that passes through the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean. CPEC will provide a shorter and cheaper access to markets in Asia, Africa and even Europe. More importantly, it will not be vulnerable to disruption by India which can now cut off Chinese supplies through the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese move at Doklam might have been prompted by India's aggressive military posture against Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. For the first time, India under PM Modi openly supported rebels in Pakistan's Balochistan who pose a serious threat to CPEC. Two Chinese citizens working on CPEC were abducted and killed by Baloch rebels two months ago.

A restive Balochistan is not the only challenge to CPEC.

CPEC passes through PoK, and that's why India had boycotted China's ambitious OBOR project. India has always laid claim to PoK but now it has also started talking of getting it back from Pakistan. Local leaders in PoK often speak favourably of India. India's surgical strikes on Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in PoK last year signaled its aggressive military stance and the will to dominate in the disputed region.

India's assertion in PoK and support to Baloch rebels are threats to CPEC. India's military dominance on Pakistan means CPEC may not materialise at all. By engaging India at Doklam, China might want to divert Indian military away from the Pakistan border and thus reduce the threat to CPEC.

CPEC is going to be the showpiece for China's OBOR project which it hardsells as a global economic partnership that can lift less-developed countries out of poverty.

OBOR has economic as well as strategic importance for China. It will not only provide China vast markets and ownership of infrastructure projects in dozens of smaller countries in Asia and Africa, but also offer strategic assets in host countries which, unable to repay expensive Chinese debt, will sooner or later submit to its plans.

India's military aggression against Pakistan—to check its sponsorship of terror in India—will ensure CPEC does not have a smooth going. If India remains engaged on the eastern front—at Doklam or any other similar spot— its focus will shift away from Pakistan and give China an opportunity to complete CPEC smoothly.

When Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said in June that India was ready for “two-and-a-half front war”—a war with Pakistan, China and terrorists within India—maybe he was responding to China's hidden ploy.

A major scuffle, which included stone-pelting, took place between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the Line of Actual Control at eastern Ladakh in the western sector on Tuesday. The confrontation between the rival soldiers took place on the north bank of the Pangong Tso (Tso means lake) in eastern Ladakh. This skirmish too could be part of the Chinese strategy to engage Indian military at different points to dilute its focus on Pakistan.

(DISCLAIMER: Views expressed above are the author's own.

History: Khan Kalat and others

Karema Baloch: Controversial Statements about Baloch people

Karima Baloch  Chairperson of Baloch Students Organization few made controversial Statements during her address to the audience in Canada, on the occasion of Balochistan Independence day on 11th August, 2017.

Link https://youtu.be/dSJpnUod38Q

The sentences are cleverly crafted and sequenced, with a mix of true , false information nuggets.

Here is the Excerpt

🔷 The Baloch are , in otherwise, easily ignorable people , they are very few in number inhabiting in vast land, they(Baloch) have no major contribution to the human civilization, no large army, no modern arms. They can’t boast a noble laureate,  they(Baloch) don’t have a Cusine, they aren’t mentioned in world history books.

It is believed that she has BA degree from At Shad Degree College, Turbat. Though she is not eloquent in English , she did not checked the content of the speech at least once to understand how demeaning are some Statements. Either she is ignorant about history and culture  of Balochistan or her speech writers have deliberately injected incorrect facts and interspersed misinformation in her speech to humiliate and disgrace Baloch people.

Unfortunately, Kareem Baloch did not issued  any statement or commented on this issue despite discussions in some Baloch groups by activists. Recently a video was circulated criticising her 

https://youtu.be/vOcpfva2W6A

Some believe that the statement will be translated and circulated in Balochistan for their comments and reactions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Balochistan: Spiral into chaos

https://www.dawn.com/news/1351870

Muhammad Akbar NotezaiAugust 16, 2017

1he writer is a member of staff.

HISTORICALLY speaking, Balochistan in general and the Baloch community in particular are secular. Even in traditional Baloch society, the mullah is not a revered figure. Instead, he is merely a functional figure. But this is now changing.

There are two dominant forces in the province: the state and the Baloch. The perennial conflict between these two has had dire consequences. Extremism is one of them. During the Afghan war, money was pumped into Balochistan, especially central Baloc­histan, which led to a breakdown of the social fabric. Before, the Baloch were not aware of differences between Shia and Sunni. Today, they are divided on the basis of sect and creed. Wahabism was alien to Balochistan but, largely through preaching activities, it is influencing increasing numbers of people, especially the youth.

While the seeds of extremism in Balochistan were sown during Gen Ziaul Haq’s time, they birthed different forms of extremism in the post Zia-period. Adherents of the Zikri sect, largely settled in Makran, became a target of religious fundamentalists. The Baloch progressive leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, whose tribe comprises many Zikris, began to offer prayers during the last years of his life because he feared being labelled Zikri if he did not do so, although he did not belong to the sect.

Then there is the mushroom growth of madressahs and tableeghi activities, which are an extension of religious extremism in the province. This is very dangerous because Balochistan’s population is far smaller than that of the other provinces.

Moreover, communities in Balochistan are disconnected from one another, so much so that development in the society happens at a slow pace. With religious extremism having taken root, people are expected to be more and more compartmentalised. Each and every group’s mosques and followers in the near future will be further compartmentalised. This will inhibit Baloch nationalism, liberalism and social development. In a nutshell, the mindset in the province is becoming stunted, aggressive and intolerant.

The mindset in Balochistan is becoming stunted and intolerant.

This explains extremist attacks against civilians, state installations and security forces. Although sectarianism is not native to Balochistan, today there is not a single district where sectarian groups do not have at least a symbolic presence. Moreover, sectarian groups have also made inroads into some bordering areas of Sindh where Sufism has traditionally held sway, and many sectarian attacks in that province are said to have been planned from Balochistan.

The banned Baloch separatist outfits, reportedly weakened, have been losing ground to sectarian groups. For example, Mastung district, once an epicentre of Baloch separatists, has to some extent been taken over by sectarian groups who are organising themselves under the platform of the militant Islamic State group. The recent killing of 12 IS militants by security forces in Mastung is evidence of this development.

There are two reasons for sectarian groups to have successfully put down roots in Balochistan.

🔷Firstly, unlike in the past, political activities in the province have dwindled drastically because of the crackdown on separatist groups that has driven them underground. A space thus opened up for sectarian groups — not least by the involvement of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat in political activities in Quetta and elsewhere in the province.

🔷Secondly, in the 1990s, when Punjab police began ruthlessly targeting sectarian elements in Punjab, many of them fled to Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan where they went into hibernation, only to emerge later as a powerful force. Their resurgence was marked by horrific murders of Hazara Shias in the province. Incidentally, the perception that the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is a Pakhtun phenomenon, is incorrect: the LJ is predominantly a Baloch phenomenon.

In the past, it was in the secular nature of Baloch society to safeguard minorities’ rights. With the introduction of the madressah culture, this is also changing. Religious minorities have also been kidnapped for ransom by extremist groups. And if their family members failed to pay the ransom, they have also been killed.

Baloch nationalist parties, including the Balochistan National Party-Mengal and National Party, claim to be on one page when it comes to extremist forces. However, it does not seem they can counter them, because Baloch political parties, much like mainstream political parties, revolve around personalities and a few families.

Balochistan’s huge black economy is also a source of funds for extremist outfits. If unchecked by the state, religious extremism in Balochistan can overtake Baloch nationalism, and that will have terrible repercussions. For the extremist groups can pose an even bigger threat to the state because of their transnational agendas.

The writer is a member of staff.

akbar.notezai@gmail.com

Twitter: @Akbar_notezai

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2017

Dubai and Gwadar: the silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman

https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/tariq-al-shammari/dubai-and-gwadar-silent-economic-war-in-gulf-of-oman

The expansion of Gwadar port in Pakistan is a game-changing venture that would reformulate the economic agenda of the entire region.

A free zone co-built with China in construction at the Gwadar port in Pakistan. Picture by Xinhua/Sipa USA. All rights reserved.Many economic analysts believe that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map. The controversial issue here is that an economically powerful Gwadar threatens the strategic influence of Dubai in the region. This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries. Pakistan, China and Qatar on one side. India and the UAE on the other.

Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. It is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai has invested in infrastructure to overcome its poor natural resources and become a global business, trade and tourism hub. Thus, Dubai has emerged as a multi-cultural city and enjoys to receive millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world.

The major revenue of Dubai comes from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Large construction projects, iconic skyscrapers and sports events are other means of income for Dubai. The world’s tallest building called the Burj Khalifa is located in this emirate.

It is clear that the area where Dubai is located can offer a distinct geographical advantage to businesses. There are two major commercial ports in Dubai, Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali. The latter one is the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the biggest Middle East port. It is home to over 5,000 companies from 120 countries.

However, Gwadar port is a serious rival to Dubai. Gwadar port is considered a strategic location, giving China and Central Asia access to the Gulf region and the Middle East. Gwadar port will become the main sea gate for Central Asia. It will also become easier to send products from Xinjiang and central Asian countries to other regions. “The corridor will help reduce transport time for goods from Gwadar port to western China and central Asian regions by about 60 or 70 per cent,” Vice Premier of China Ms Liu Yandong said.

On 10 April 2016, talking to The Washington Post, Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company said that his company could spend a total of $4.5 billion on roads, power, hotels and other infrastructure for the industrial zone of Gwadar. He also added that the company also plans to build an international airport and power plant for Gwadar.

Dubai Investment Forum’, a platform aiming to persuade local and international investors will be held in October under the patronage of Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Undoubtedly, this Forum is so crucial for the future of Dubai to continue its development as now it has a strong rival named Gwadar.

India is another key player in this regional battle. The Chabahar-Gwadar adversary is due to the fact that the ports are at a distance of about 72 km from each other. Both India and Pakistan have been attempting to undermine each other in the region and the development of the two ports is bound to add to the animosity.

America’s relations with India should also be seen in this context. Recent agreements signed between the US and India validate the fact that a rising China is a threat to the regional balance of power. The US is also concerned about the rise of Chinese economic power in the region. Dr. Ahmed Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India declared that China’s investment for expanding Gwadar port in Pakistan will have negative impact on the UAE’s interests.

Qatar officials understand the importance of Gwadar as a great game-changer in the region and they planned to invest  15% of the “China–Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC), a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan, so that to put pressure on Dubai and the UAE as the animosity between the two country has recently became more harsh.

To sum up, the geoeconomic and geopolitical situation in South Asia is changing swiftly. This can be credited to the fact that the emerging powers in the region are redefining their presence. China, Pakistan and Qatar are formulating the economic agenda of the region based on the geo-economics of Gwadar port while India and the UAE are strongly against this prospect and attempt to thwart their plan by persuading the USA and European countries to invest in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have natural oil resources and Qatar has natural gas resources but the UAE has no special resources and is mostly dependent on its tourism and transportation revenues. Thus, with regard to the large investment by Saudi Arabia for attracting tourism by turning 50 Red Sea islands into luxury tourism resorts and the silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman, the UAE is the big loser of the this great game since Dubai will have no tourism and transportation privileges ten years from now

No support after PM’s last year speech

The Hindu
India

Kallol Bhattacherjee

NEW DELHI,AUGUST 13, 2017 22:33 IST

UPDATED: AUGUST 13, 2017 22:33 IST

A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had mentioned Balochistan in his Independence Day speech, a senior Baloch activist has said that there is disappointment over the lack of Indian support.

Speaking to The Hindu,a representative of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) based in Europe said that India has not responded to asylum requests from the leaders or activists of the Baloch movement.

🔷 BalochHouseIt is better to forget asylum for now, there are other leaders who are safe and happy living abroad, why he need asylum in India?

There has not been any formal communication with the Baloch leadership from the Indian authorities,” said Azizullah Bugti, explaining that India has not moved on the request to grant asylum to the exiled leader of the Bugti tribes of Balochistan, Brahumdagh Bugti.

The India government is not ready to practically help us,” he added.

🔷 BalochHouse: Practically means Material Support ??

However, despite being disappointed, Azizullah Bugti pointed out that there has been one positive outcome after Mr. Modi spoke of Balochistan as it increased awareness of the challenges in Balochistan under Pakistani rule. He said issues like asylum for activists and their families and educational requirements have not been addressed by India

Powerful explosion kills 6 troops in Balochistan on Pakistan's Independence Day

http://www.firstpost.com/world/powerful-explosion-kills-6-troops-in-balochistan-on-pakistans-independence-day-3932147.html

Islamabad: A powerful road side bomb blast targeting security forces killed at least six paramilitary troops and injured three others in Pakistan's southwestern restive Balochistan province on Monday.

Representational image. AP

The vehicle of the Frontier Corps was on a routine patrol in Khost area of Harnai district when the bomb exploded.

Security official said that the bomb was planted on the side of the road and badly damaged the vehicle.

"Six soldiers were killed and three other injured," the officials said.

It was second attack on the security forces in the last two days after a suicide bomber rammed his motorbike into an army truck on Saturday, killing 15 people including 8 soldiers.

Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Sanaullah Zehri strongly condemned the blast and directed the officers to bring the perpetrators to book.

"We will not spare the elements involved in this act," he said in statement.

The attack came on a day when Pakistan celebrates its 71st Independence Day.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility of the blast but Taliban and Islamic State militants have carried out attacks in Balochistan.

Balochistan has oil and gas resources but has witnessed several terrorist attacks recently by militants and separatists while banned outfits have also carried out sectarian killings in the province

Mushahid presents parliamentary body report on CPEC to PM Abbasi

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1482070/mushahid-presents-parliamentary-body-report-cpec-pm-abbasi/


By News Desk

Published: August 15, 2017

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed presented on Tuesday a parliamentary report on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

According to a statement released by the PM House, Syed, who is the chairman of the parliamentary committee on CPEC, called on PM Abbasi at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad.

The senator congratulated Abbasi on assuming office of the prime minister.

“CPEC is a game changer not only for Pakistan but the entire region,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in the statement. “CPEC projects are testament to the ever strengthening China – Pakistan relations and will also go a long way in securing a bright future for Pakistan.”

CPEC – an opportunity for equitable development

The PM appreciated the committee’s role in building a national consensus over CPEC projects.

The projects, he added, are government’s highest priority, and that he is personally supervising their progress.

CPEC is a 3,000-kilometre network of roads, pipelines and railways to transport goods from Gwadar port to Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.

The $52 billion project intends to rapidly modernise Pakistan’s infrastructure, improve energy ecosystem and establish special economic zones

China, Pakistan partners of strategic cooperation: Wang

http://m.abplive.in/world-news/china-pakistan-partners-of-strategic-cooperation-wang-565770?ani



By: ANI Updated: 14 Aug 2017 04:30 PM

  

Beijing [China], August 14 (ANI):Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said China and Pakistan are "iron friends" and all-weather partners of strategic cooperation who always support each other and pledged to deepen their pragmatic cooperation in various fields so as to ensure early harvests in the CPEC project.

Wang, who attended the flag hoisting ceremony and activities marking the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence at the invitation of the Pakistani government at Islamabad's Convention Centre, said China and Pakistan had stood by each other in difficult times and "this friendship will stand the test of time and grow with coming generations",the Global Times reported.

China and Pakistan should further tap the potential in bilateral economic and trade cooperation, maintain the growing momentum in bilateral trade so as to promote trade balance, he said.

The two sides should also boost cooperation in the fields such as education, science and technology, culture, health, youth and media in a bid to consolidate the social basis of the China-Pakistan friendship, Wang said.

For his part, Abbasi said Pakistan and China are brothers and the bilateral relations have withstood the test of time.

Pakistan has witnessed the sustainable growth in its economy in recent years and China has played an important role in it, he said.

Pakistan totally agrees with China's proposal to push forward the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides and is willing to work together with China to continue to press ahead wth the CPEC project, expand bilateral trade, deepen and broaden pragmatic cooperation in all fields, Abbasi said.

 

Wang hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping's successful visit to Pakistan in 2015 has ushered in a new chapter of the relations between the two countries as that led to the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"China would like to join hands with Pakistan to well implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and ensure that more fruitful results will be achieved in bilateral cooperation,"Global Times, a Chinese state-run media reported Wang as saying.

Hailing fruitful cooperation in various economic fields over the past years, especially in the CPEC construction, Wang suggested that in the near future, the two countries put emphasis on ensuring early harvests in the CPEC project.

×

Based on the principle of jointly building through consultation to meet the interests of both sides, China and Pakistan should work together to further accelerate the construction of Gwadar Port, Wang said.

Furthermore, the two sides should push forward energy cooperation in the fields of thermal power, Hydropower, solar energy and clean energy, implement infrastructure cooperation projects such as highways, railways, urban rail facilities, deepen cooperation in industrial parks and strengthen personnel training, the Chinese vice premier said.

Wang expressed the hope that the two countries strengthen coordination and make good plan and design from a long-term and top-level perspective.

The Belt and Road Initiative includes Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of Silk Road .(ANI)

This story has not been edited. It has been published as provided by ANI

Pakistan, China to promote cooperation in all field

http://pakobserver.net/pakistan-china-promote-cooperation-field/

16

    

Islamabad

Vice Premier of China Wang Yang Sunday called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at PM House wherein both the leaders held comprehensive discussions on all issues of bilateral, regional and international interest.
The prime minister warmly welcomed Wang Yang and said Pakistan and China were all weather friends and strategic partners.
“Pak-China bilateral ties are time tested; our relationship has attained new heights after the CPEC that is a game changer for the region and beyond,” the prime minister stated.
Both the leaders expressed satisfaction over the progress in implementation of CPEC projects.
Vice Premier Wang Yang congratulated the prime minister on Pakistan’s 70th anniversary celebrations and stressed that his visit demonstrated the close strategic relations between the “iron brothers”, Pakistan and China, and China’s strong support for Pakistan.
He thanked Pakistan for its consistent support for issues of core importance to China.
Both leaders agreed to further promote cooperation on all issues of mutual interest.
After the meeting, the prime minister and the Chinese vice prime minister witnessed the inauguration ceremony of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) energy and infrastructure projects and the signing of bilateralMoUs and agreements between the two countries.
Chinese Vice Premier was assisted by ChineseAmbassador in Pakistan Sun Wedong and other senior officials.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muham-mad Asif, Interior Minister Ah-san Iqbal, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurang zeb, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and other senior government officials were also present during the meeting.
Prime Minister Abbasi also hosted a dinner in honour of the Chinese Vice Premier and members of the visiting delegation.—APP

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Forum to focus on cooperation along Belt and Road

http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/forum-to-focus-on-cooperation-along-belt-and-road


PUBLISHED

5 HOURS AGO

With the total investment by China in Belt and Road countries since 2013 surpassing US$50 billion (S$68 billion), business leaders and top-level participants from government and academia will gather to discuss the issues of trade connectivity and collaborative opportunities tomorrow.

In terms of revenue, the total amount has reached US$75.97 billion last year, an increase of 9.7 per cent year on year, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) noted.

To date, 56 economic and trade cooperation zones have been built by Chinese businesses, generating nearly US$1.1 billion in tax revenue and creating 180,000 jobs.

More than 600 representatives from 43 countries and regions are expected at the Singapore Regional Business Forum to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia.

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Nearly 40 business leaders and industry experts from the region will be sharing their insights on investment and financing-related opportunities, the implementation of such projects, as well as regional connectivity and joint collaboration along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Singapore Regional Business Forum had its inaugural session in 2015. Since then it has grown to be an important forum for experts in the region to discuss the issues.

This year's forum will focus on seizing business opportunities through regional cooperation along the Belt and Road, in particular the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It will highlight the importance of joint and third-country collaboration for these projects, and reinforce Singapore's role as a connector to promote regional and multi-party cooperation to maximise the benefits of the initiative.

Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong will be delivering a keynote speech at the forum to share more insights on the ongoing engagements between Singapore and China.

The opening keynote address will be given by former chief economist of the World Bank, Mr Justin Yifu Lin.

Three Memorandums of Understanding to spur regional connectivity and collaboration are expected to be inked during the forum.

There will also be a presentation of findings of the inaugural Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) regional business survey, conducted by SBF in partnership with The Economist Corporate Network. The survey polled about 100 regional C-suite-level business leaders on their perceptions with regard to the BRI's opportunities, risks, challenges and future expectations.

At least US$113 billion in extra funding was announced by President Xi Jinping in his opening speech at a two-day Belt & Road Forum in Beijing in May

Why China Is Shooting Its Gray Rhinos

http://variety.com/2017/film/asia/why-china-is-shooting-wanda-gray-rhinos-1202526096/

Patrick Frater

Asia Bureau Chief

 

   

AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

AUGUST 13, 2017 | 09:00AM PT

 Two Different Smashes: Wanda’s Purgatory, and ‘Wolf Warriors’ Patriotic Win

“It is like an awful car crash. You know you shouldn’t look. But at the same time you can’t turn away,” said one senior China film executive of the financial woes that have wrecked the summer of WandaFosunLeEco, and other previously high flying Chinese conglomerates. Yet, for those who continue to look on at the aftermath of the summer smash-up, two trends emerge.

First, that political risk should be moved far higher up the agenda in any Sino-international dealing. Second, that China is now a major player that has momentum and scale to affect global industry. However alien its rules and methods are to Wall Street and Burbank, or how tricky its is to read the political tea leaves, China counts for too much to be ignored — as a current smash of the other kind demonstrates.

Global box office in the first two weeks of August was dominated by “Wolf Warriors II,” a “Rambo”-style war actioner that has triggered wide acclaim and repeat viewings in China. It has also gone some way to restoring Chinese theatrical fortunes and a degree of pride in an industry which over the past year has suffered a bitter box office reality check. Half a billion dollars grossed in 11 days can do that.

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In a similarly brief matter of days in July, property to entertainment behemoth Dalian Wanda was rudely bumped from a position of denying that state investment funds were selling its shares and corporate debt, to one where it was announcing a hastily-arranged $9 billion asset sale.

Selling the theme park and leisure businesses that were last year portrayed as a “wolf pack” capable of ravaging Shanghai Disneyland, as well as a package of hotels, was not simple corporate probity. It was a necessity. That’s because China’s commercial banks have explicit instruction to halt lending to Wanda and three other acquisitive private sector giants, often described as “gray rhinos.”

The Chinese government is now in safari mode, hunting down companies that fail to play the game the government want, and especially those may have damaged the financial system in the process.Some banks have already been fined for allegedly helping Wanda breach capital control restrictions.

While many Chinese companies spoke of the lessons learned from past Japanese and German misadventures in Hollywood, and of not wanting to be regarded as an ATM, Wanda became the most aggressive acquirer of international movie assets. It even bid for Paramount Pictures.

While several of its deals were in the — relatively — safe exhibition space, Wanda’s $1 billion bid for Dick Clark Productions was seen as a deal too far. A year earlier, Wanda apparently caused outrage in senior political echelons with its $3.5 billion leveraged purchase of Legendary Entertainment.

LeEco, the technology and video streaming business which financed box office bombs including “Gods of Egypt” and “The Great Wall,” is cancelling acquisitions and slashing operations. Its over-expansion problems are similar to Wanda’s, if slightly smaller. And it lacked the political connections that helped gray rhinos Wanda, Fosun, Anbang and HNA. It was enough that regulators tipped the balance. LeEco’s creditors and shareholders are now doing the rest of the dismantling.

The degree of political intervention may be a surprise to Hollywood. Smart deals will continue to get done. But there are now at least four financial sector regulators scrutinizing every significant overseas acquisition proposed by Chinese firms.

Intervention came from macro-economic and political concerns: about capital outflow; protecting the strength of the currency; stabilizing wobbly stock markets; and reducing massive levels of debt at local government and corporate level. Apparently, unleashed by president Xi Jinping in person, regulators started firing at the rhinos when some overseas deals, especially in sports and property, looked more like money laundering than normal business transactions. And when expensive acquisitions in Hollywood failed to advance the government’s overseas cultural agenda.

“The most immediate impact is to restrict Chinese investment in the foreign movie industry, including production, distribution and exhibition. Motivated by concern over excessive corporate borrowing and the erosion of foreign exchange controls, the result will be to reduce opportunities to introduce foreign experience into China’s domestic industry and extend China’s soft power in the international movie industry. It is coupled with efforts to tighten (Communist) Party control over content in the culture and entertainment industries more broadly,” says Lester Ross, managing partner at the Beijing office of law firm Wilmer Hale.

“Without as much Chinese M&A, there will be a return to project-by-project cooperation. Cooperative movie projects have not been a great success in the U.S., however. There is also intensified diplomatic effort by the U.S. government and industry to raise Chinese limits on the number of foreign films that can be exhibited in China on an annual basis as well as the terms by which revenue is shared. However, there is no sign that Chinese content restrictions are being relaxed. To the extent that the Chinese market remains attractive, the U.S movie and similar industries will remain reluctant to embrace any content that may be perceived to be anti-Chinese, while favoring content that is attractive to Chinese consumers.”

Few in China are shedding tears for Wanda. “There has been far too much capital and too little professionalism in the Chinese film industry,” said one veteran executive from Beijing. “As far as international is concerned, this shakeout is somewhat helpful. It should scare away people who are not serious about building businesses in China. It opens the door to companies like Netflix and Amazon, which are not coming to China seeking money.” (China does not welcome foreign media conglomerates and, so far, neither company has more than the merest toehold in the Middle Kingdom.)

Several commentators have pointed to the government’s intervention as being part of an anti-liberal crackdown ahead of the once every five years Communist Party Congress. But that may not be the case.

Just as likely, the gray rhinos may simply be the latest on a to do list of things to clean up. The government is seeking to eliminate corruption, build healthy businesses, and stabilize the financial system ahead of the next downturn – or trade war. Rumors suggest that there will be jail time for some executives, and that insurer Anbang could be broken up or nationalized.

It is unclear if that is also to be Wanda’s fate. “Wanda’s exhibition business is professionally run and probably carrying little debt. So there is little reason to think that at least will not survive intact,” said the veteran executive.

And, if the conglomerates have failed to deliver the political gains that Xi Jinping wants, there are others which are more pliant. StarTimes is a Chinese telco, scarcely known in the West, but which has a low-cost pay-TV business in 30 African counties. It is delivering a diet of mainstream Chinese content.

China also has a band of state-owned enterprises ready to do their political masters’ bidding. These may not be the wheeler dealers that Hollywood moguls would see as kindred spirits. But then the U.S. was never part of the Belt and Road Initiative, nicknamed the New Silk Road, a Chinese trade and infrastructure outreach program of exactly the kind that Trump’s America is abandoning