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Showing posts from April 27, 2018

Competing Visions

A geoeconomic contest is underway to shape Asia’s future. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, pipelines, and other hard infrastructure across the region. Drawing on official sources, CSIS experts developed the maps below to illustrate some of these competing visions. Each map captures, in broad strokes, the major infrastructure priorities of a leading actor. Collectively, these maps preview a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself. As this story unfolds, the collection below will be expanded and updated.The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a vision for greater physical, institutional, and people-to-people linkages among its ten member countries. Its Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 proposes connecting its members with new hard and soft infrastructure. Maritime countries Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore are strengthening the ASEAN Maritime Economic Corridor with improve…

Inside the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Click to watch A Book Launch and Reception with Natalie LichtensteinWednesday, April 25, 2018 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
CSIS HeadquartersThe Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a $100 billion multilateral development bank that first opened in 2016. Initiated by China, its membership is global, with regional powers, from Korea to Saudi Arabia, and key players from Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Its arms reach far: in its first two years, it has financed a geographically and sectorally diverse set of projects in Pakistan, Oman, India, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Indonesia. Please join the Simon Chair's Reconnecting Asia Project for a conversation with Natalie Lichtenstein, Chief Counsel for the 57-country negotiations that led to the AIIB's founding and the principal drafter of the Bank's charter, to discuss her new book: A Comparative Guide to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.This event is made possible through general support to CSIS.FEATURINGNatalie LichtensteinIna…

Selling the country to China? Debate spills into Malaysia's election

Liz LeeKUANTAN, Malaysia (Reuters) - When Malaysia’s political parties unfurled their election flags and banners this month, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s critics sniggered on social media that the manufacturer named on banners of his ruling coalition was Chinese.FILE PHOTO: A view of a newly built hotel which houses many Chinese prospects who come to visit the Country Gardens' Forest City development in Johor Bahru, Malaysia February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File PhotoMahathir Mohamad, who heads an alliance hoping to oust Najib, has seized on popular disquiet about Chinese investment pouring into Malaysia and turned it into an election issue.Najib, he says, is selling Malaysia out to China.This could matter for Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and for Malaysia’s economy because Mahathir, who was the country’s prime minister for more than two decades, has vowed to reconsider Chinese contracts if the opposition wins on May 9.“Coming in here, buying land, developing luxurio…

Who Will Win the New Great Game?

By Jochen BittnerMr. Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit.April 26, 2018查看简体中文版查看繁體中文版ImageCreditEdmon de HaroHAMBURG, Germany — To claim we are living through a new Cold War is both an understatement and a category mistake. The 20th-century face-off between the Communist East and the Capitalist West was, ideology aside, about two superpowers trying to contain each other. The global conflict of today is far less static.What we are witnessing instead is a new Great Game, a collision of great powers that are trying to roll back one another’s spheres of influence. Unlike the Great Game of the 19th century between the British and the Russian Empire that culminated in the fight for dominance over Afghanistan, today’s Great Game is global, more complex and much more dangerous.Call it the Game of Threes. It involves three prime players, Russia, China and the West, which are competing in three ways: geographically, intellectually and economically. And there are thre…

Grand strategy: all along the polar silk road

27 Apr 2018| Mike ScraftonUnder Xi Jinping, China has a grand strategy to reshape the current geopolitical landscape. Xi has set out an integrated and coherent set of ideas about China’s ultimate objectives in the international system, and how it should go about achieving them over the coming decades.That’s the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Chinese government ‘has mobilized the country’s political, diplomatic, intellectual, economic and financial resources’ to meet ‘the most pressing internal and external economic and strategic challenges faced by China’.The effective power of China’s political–economic model to implement a grand strategy is evident in the Arctic. The release of China’s Arctic Policy white paper in January coincides with what the US National Snow and Ice Data Center describes as ‘the second lowest Arctic maximum [extent of Arctic sea ice] in the 39-year satellite record’.The Chinese white paper outlines a proposal ‘to jointly build a “Polar Silk Road”’ with exis…

China's Belt and Road initiative: Lenders on the front line

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 (MAGAZINE)BY CHRISTOPHER O'DEADo the multilateral development banks, led by the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), provide the answer to getting private institutional capital invested in Belt and Road projects? Christopher O’Dea reportsMany projects along the New Silk Road are unsuitable for institutional investors, who are constrained by credit quality limits, performance objectives and portfolio risk metrics.Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) – led by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), but including western institutions – are working to change that. The MDBs are pressing ahead with programmes and procedures aimed at reducing the risks – and costs – of bidding to design, build and operate roads, water systems and other critical assets in countries that might suffer from weak legal systems, political strife or volatile budgets.In general, the programmes provide credit insurance or other forms of protection to attract private institu…

Balochistan: Basic Rights Concern People not Senate Chairmanship

By: Syed Junaid ShahThe most neglected province of the country is being galvanized by trespassers again. The whole dynamics depict that Balochistan is at the centre of every political equation in country and is dominating everyday headlines.Politicians, bureaucrats and the civil-military leadership are preparing to redress the wrongs, done to this province. But, the question arises, are the people of this ghetto being tricked again? Well, think of the past and you will know the future. Can a senate chairman from Balochistan be the ransom for 70 years miseries? If so, we have been tricked before when Zafarullah Jamali became first Prime Minister from this province. Ironically, no changes were noticed during his tenure. The axe forgets but the forest remembers. Thus, it would be like living in fool’s paradise to cheer that, merely a senate chairman from our province can bring us great days.It is true that Balochistan has become a laboratory of experiments for those who want to perpetuat…

Another major CPEC project delayed

APRIL 27, 2018ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet decided to extend the financial close of the 660 kilovolt high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line by seven months till the 1st of December, 2018.The extension means that the project—initially slated to become operational in September 2017—now faces a three year delay, ostensibly to align it with the coal-fired projects under development in Thar and near Karachi.The project is also plagued by squabbling over wheeling charges and tax concessions, and the initial cost of the project has now risen from US$1.5 billion to US$1.7 billion.The Chinese companies China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited (CET) of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) are executing the project.Moreover, the ECC also borrowed Rs 100 billion from commercial banks to ease the circular debt that had started creeping up a mere month before Ramazan.This is the second time in the pas…

CPEC is not a new East India Company

Islamabad: Federal Minister of Interior and Planning, Development & Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that only continuity of policies, political stability, peace and unity in our ranks can promise successful, brighter and prosperous future of Pakistan.
The minister was addressing the inaugural session of Special Seminar on ‘Five years of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) -- a story of success and opportunities,’ organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with Planning Commission and Chinese Embassy.Ahsan Iqbal said that the spirit of the CPEC is shared destiny and shared prosperity adding that unless we preserve continuity, stability and peace we may not be able to gain the dividends of the CPEC. He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is one of the biggest success stories that we have had in our whole history and it has become a biggest global brand of Pakistan that has grabbed the attention of the world leaders and every big economy…

CPEC dominates transport sector

The ‘transport and communication’ (T&C) sector remained heavily influenced by projects related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the outgoing fiscal year with focus not only on building roads and improving the rail network but also on establishing new communication lines.
Kalbe AliUpdated April 27, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The ‘transport and communication’ (T&C) sector remained heavily influenced by projects related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the outgoing fiscal year with focus not only on building roads and improving the rail network but also on establishing new communication lines.Amongst the new initiatives in the sector includes the implementation of 820km-long cross-border fibre optic project (Khunjerab-Rawalpindi) whose completion is expected in August 2018.Transport and communication sector has been considered as a driving force for overall economic and social development of the country in the Economic Survey 2017-18.The survey stated that CP…

Pakistan learning CPEC lessons the hard way, losing the plot

The alternative for the country would be to relinquish the control of some ambitious CPEC projects to China as was the case in Sri Lanka – with a debt for equity swap formula coming into play
Ashis Biswas Published at 01:22 AM April 27, 2018Picture shows Chinese trucks stand on a pontoonAFP
Lately, China has launched a well orchestrated publicity blitz targeting dissenting opinion in Pakistan, outlining how the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) project will improve the living standards of millions of people in the region. This will be achieved through increased earnings, job creation and higher industrial production, year on year.In three phases, China proposes to invest over $56 billion in CPEC. Apart from building spanking new highways, rail and air links between Gwadar port in Pakistan and Xinjiang province, the construction of power plants, tourism facilities, agro processing units, and mines are also planned.Predictably, the new spin by Chinese media counters the strong contr…

Why CPEC could be the end of China-Pakistan relationship

There appears to be a disconnect between what Beijing expects from it and what Islamabad makes of this grand scheme.
27-04-2018
SUSHANT SAREEN @sushantsareenThe China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is best described by the Trumpian expression "covfefe": everyone has some idea of what it is, but no one is quite sure what it is. No surprise then that while some people in Pakistan are excited over what they think CPEC means, others are apprehensive.In December 2015, the governor of State Bank of Pakistan admitted that he had no idea about how much of the money that the Chinese were committing on CPEC was debt, how much was equity and how much was in kind. More than two years later, it now transpires that even the government of Pakistan is not clear about the composition of funding for CPEC projects.A couple of weeks ago, the federal cabinet was informed that “the amount of money, whether in the form of loan or grant, coming through CPEC is not known”. Clearly, if even the gove…