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Showing posts from May 9, 2018

RWR Advisory: Belt and Road at a Glance

Top DevelopmentsChina Continues to Grow Zimbabwe Ties
The Xi administration has made a concerted effort to foster relations withZimbabwe since Emmerson Mnangagwa came to power. This has continued over the past two weeks. On April 27, Export-Import Bank of China extended a $144 million line of credit to Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare for improvements to outdated water infrastructure. The financing arrangement was followed by a memorandum of udnerstanding (MoU) with Huajian Group for the construction of a multi-million dollar industrial park in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in Zimbabwe. The plan aims for the industrial park to employ 10,000 people. Chinese-sponsored industrial zones have been leveraged to boost political relations elsewhere in Africa, such as China Nonferrous Metals Company’s backing of the Zambia-China Cooperation Zone.Beijing’s Grip Over Sri Lanka Continues to Tighten 
In Sri Lanka, where China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPH) has already translated the country’s …

An Accounting of China's Deployments to the Spratly Islands

Satellite imagery from April 28 reveals the first confirmed deployment of a military aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-8, on China’s base at Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands. The Y-8 was designed as a military transport aircraft, but some variants are used for maritime patrol or signals intelligence. This should be particularly concerning to the Philippines, which has about 100 civilians and a small military garrison on Thitu Island just 12 nautical miles away.
With this deployment, military aircraft have now verifiably landed on all three of China’s airstrips in the Spratly Islands. The first was a “naval patrol aircraft,” possibly a Y-8 or similar plane, which landed at Fiery Cross Reef in April 2016 to evacuate three personnel who had fallen ill. Last month, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published an aerial photo dated January 6 showing two Xian Y-7 military transport aircraft on Mischief Reef. That landing was especially galling for the Philippines because an arbitral tribunal in 2016 ruled th…

Kazakhstan Belt and Road Initiative: The road to somewhere

By: Chris Wright Published on: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 Khorgos, a new state-of-the-art port in the middle of the Kazakh desert, sums up the grand ambitions of the Belt and Road Initiative. But it is as much driven and funded by Kazakhstan as it is by China. Rather than being a white elephant, it has real implications for trade. Photos by Chris Wright Bored of sitting in Belt and Road Initiative conferences looking at pretty maps and hearing grand statistics but with the nagging sense that nothing is actually happening? Then get yourself to Khorgos. You can gain no clearer sense of Belt and Road’s brazen ambition than the building of this port and its attendant city 1,500 miles from an ocean.  Here, in the desert on the Kazakhstan-China border, we can see genuine evidence of cross-cultural cooperation and serious investment in rail freight from China to central Asia and Europe and back, right on the line of an ancient Silk Road route. But there is a twist. The port is on the Kazakhstan…

'Dismayed' CJP grills former Balochistan CMs on water scarcity

By Hasnaat MailkPublished: May 9, 2018Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. PHOTO: FILEISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar said on Wednesday that the people of Balochistan lacked political empowerment.The top judge made the comments while hearing a suo motu case on water scarcity in the province. CJP Nisar asked former chief ministers Abdul Malik and Sanaullah Zehri whether the situation had taken a turn for the better. Observing that some water sources had dried up, the top judge said his Quetta visit had left him “dismayed”.“Do not say that you are short of funds. We have been striving to make the government function,” the CJP said.“What steps have been taken to end water scarcity,” Justice Ejazul Ahsan asked. The top court then directed former Balochistan chief ministers to present responses on Thursday.CJP Nisar attends Spring Festival in QuettaLack of education, medial facilitiesDespite a manifold hike in the provincial education budget, 6,054 schools la…

Bajwa inaugurates fencing of Pak-Afghan border in Balochistan

Saleem Shahid   Updated May 09, 2018
AN army soldier stands guard along the newly fenced part of the Pak-Afghan border after Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa inaugurated the fencing work near the Panjpai area of Balochistan on Tuesday.—AFPPANJPAI: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday inaugurated the work for erecting fences along the Pak-Afghan border near Panjpai area of Balochistan.He was accompanied by Balo­chistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Commander Sou­thern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Sardar Muhammad Saleh Bhootani, Prince Ali Ahmed Ahmedzai and other officials.Read: Country will never act as US proxy in any war: AsifThe Pakistan Army has already completed work on a 5km-long fence on the border near Panjpai. In total 1,268km-long fences would be erected along the Pak-Afghan border.ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER ADAccording to official sources, 250 Frontier Corp forts — one at a distance of ever…

The Weak Heart of CPEC – Neglected Beyond Repair?

May 09, 2018; By: Lt Gen P R Shankar (Retd.)Image Courtesy: Herald Magazine - DawnThe Weak Heart of CPEC – Neglected Beyond Repair?Weak Heart Concept.  Internationally, Baluchistan has been accepted as the weak heart of CPEC. Weak hearts need exceptional care and treatment. However, the irregular palpitations of this weak heart are being ignored. Historically, Baluchistan has been thoroughly neglected by Pakistan. The trend continues even though a lot of noise is being made to the contrary by the CPEC planners. Will the heart of CPEC, subject to continued neglect induce a cardiac failure to Pakistani dreams of transformation? Will the CPEC change the fates of Pakistan and China as per their ambitions? Or will the outcomes be vastly different? Let us see some base facts in this saga of dreams. Thereafter draw your own conclusions.Neglect of Baluchistan – Under Debate.Image Courtesy: The Newsblog – The News InternationalBaluchistan is the main entry point into this corridor with the arr…