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Showing posts from October 20, 2018

How to Respond to Saudi Arabia After the Khashoggi Disappearance

How to Respond to Saudi Arabia After the Khashoggi Disappearance17 October 2018The US and European governments must move beyond rhetoric and implement sustained diplomatic measures to persuade Riyadh that political reform is its only option.Dr Neil QuilliamSenior Research Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme@NeilQuilliam12018-10-15-MBS.jpgA portrait Mohammed bin Salman appears during a show at the King Fahad stadium in Riyadh as a part of celebrations of Saudi National Day on 23 September. Photo: Getty Images.ShareThere is no doubt that the disappearance and likely death of Jamal Khashoggi will now damage Saudi Arabia’s relations with the US and Europe, should Riyadh be found responsible. (And as yet, Saudi Arabia has done little to convince that it is not responsible.)They are already trading barbs. Donald Trump has said that Saudi Arabia will be ‘severely punished’ if found responsible for Khashoggi’s death, and while he has since walked back some of his remarks, leading R…

EU harbors fears about China’s maritime Silk Roads

Up to 13 European ports and harbors now have substantial investment from the world’s second-largest economyBy GORDON WATTSOCTOBER 10, 2018 7:01 PM (UTC+8)00China has a passion of collecting ports across the world. Photo: iStockAt times, the European Union makes a tortoise look like a Toyota. Speed has never been a quality associated with the EU. After all with 27-member states, once the United Kingdom leaves next year, it takes time to reach a consensus.Still, the rapid expansion of Chinese investment in the world’s largest integrated economic and political bloc has raised alarm bells in Brussels.Last year, in his annual State of the Union address, the EU President Jean-Claude Juncker spelled out the dangers.“Let me say once and for all – we are not naive free traders,” he said. “Europe must always defend its strategic interests. This is why today we are proposing a new EU framework for investment screening.“If a foreign, state-owned company wants to purchase a European harbor [such a…

China Expected to Gain in Asian Maritime Dispute after Regional Defense Leaders Meeting

EAST ASIA

October 17, 2018 3:24 AMRalph JenningsASEAN and China foreign ministers pose for a photo ahead of the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore, Aug. 2, 2018.
TAIPEI — China is likely to come away from a regional meeting of defense leaders this month with tentative new support around Asia, bolstering its expansion in a disputed sea, according to regional analysts.Defense ministers from China and up to 10 countries in Southeast Asia – some resentful of Beijing’s maritime ambitions – will meet October 18-20 at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) event. Defense heads from Japan and the United States, both of which have pushed back against Beijing’s expansion, are also scheduled to attend.Association members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam claim parts of the South China Sea, overlapping tracts controlled by the more militarily powerful China. China calls about 90 percent of the sea its own…

Interview: Confitarma

What is the state of health of the Italian flagged fleet? “The Italian flagged merchant fleet,” explained Mario Mattioli, president of Confitarma, “is among the largest in the world and is currently at a total tonnage of 16.3 million tonnes, with leading positions or very strong ones in the overall world rankings and in the most sophisticated sectors (RO-RO units, cruise ships, ships for chemical products). It should be noted that most of the Italian fleet (over 40%) consists of bulk carriers for dry cargo that transport raw materials, mostly over long distances between the American continent, Oceania and East Asia. This traffic, the export of maritime transport services, allows the balance of payments for transport to record a credit of approximately €4.9 trillion against a deficit of approximately €5.5 billion, which mostly covers the negative balance that’s typical of economies that are poor in raw materials like our own.”What are the prospects opened up by China’s Silk Road projec…

Azerbaijan important link in new Silk Road

By Seymur Mammadov | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-20 09:19Song Chen/China DailyWhen the Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013, many countries, both in the West and in the East, were wary of it. But with the implementation of large transport and logistics projects in those countries that are located along the routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, many of them today are already welcoming the Chinese initiative. More and more countries are coming to conclusion that this initiative is not a threat, but a panacea for economic growth.President Xi Jinping, who proposed the initiative, is interested in forming partnerships through dialogue where there is no place for confrontation, and where instead of alliances there is friendship. This is in sharp contrast with the foreign policy principle of "who is not with us, is against us", an obsolete geopolitical maneuvering adopted by certain countries.Today, China maintains partnerships a…

Pains and Dreams on the Silk Road

October 19, 2018Chinese activity in the Middle East has been a lesson in non-involvement and support for local economic projects; yet, as the Belt and Road Initiative kicks off, China’s role in the MENA region will inevitably change.By Degang SunChinese President Xi Jinping and Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh inspect the honor guard during the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China November 23, 2017. Jason Lee/ReutersIn 2013, when Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the “Belt and Road” initiative, China and the Middle East rediscovered their common historic legacies and shared memories of the ancient lands and maritime Silk Roads linking Imperial China and the Arab World. Because of policies arising from the Belt and Road initiative, China has taken a deliberate turn to “look west,” designating Eurasia and Africa as its priorities for international cooperation and deal- making.Today, Middle Eastern oil, natural gas, and markets are crucial rev…

Mike Pompeo warns Panama and other nations about accepting China’s ‘belt and road’ loans

DIPLOMACY

The United States’ own overseas investment agency is actively competing with China to finance infrastructure projects in Panama‘When China comes calling, it’s not always to the good of your…Owen Churchill, US correspondentUPDATED : Saturday, 20 Oct 2018, 8:32PM 67US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued a warning to Panama and other nations in the region about the potential dangers of accepting Chinese investment, as Beijing expands its development projects to increasingly distant corners of the world.“When China comes calling, it’s not always to the good of your citizens,” Pompeo said on Thursday, addressing reporters in Mexico City after a meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela.The remarks came as Washington’s own overseas investment agency is actively competing with China to finance infrastructural development projects in Panama, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) president and CEO Ray Washburne confirmed.The US welcomed “straight-up, legitima…

A critical look at China’s One Belt, One Road initiative

10 October by Martin Hart-Landsberg
China’s growth rate remains impressive, even if on the decline. The country’s continuing economic gains owe much to the Chinese state’s (1) still considerable ability to direct the activity of critical economic enterprises and sectors such as finance, (2) commitment to policies of economic expansion, and (3) flexibility in economic strategy. It appears that China’s leaders view their recently adopted One Belt, One Road Initiative as key to the country’s future economic vitality. However, there are reasons to believe that this strategy is seriously flawed, with working people, including in China, destined to pay a high price for its shortcomings.Chinese growth trends downwardChina grew rapidly over the decades of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with production and investment increasingly powered by the country’s growing integration into regional cross-border production networks. By 2002 China had become the world’s biggest recipient of foreign direct inve…

China’s Belt and Road at 5: ‘one-to-many’ or ‘many-to-many’?

China’s Belt and Road at 5: ‘one-to-many’ or ‘many-to-many’? Dollar constraint may lead to more multilateral approach in Beijing’s initiative DAVID LUBIN Add to myFT Taiwan’s Nanliao Port. China reportedly plans to build a rail tunnel under the Taiwan Strait as part of its Belt and Road Initiative David Lubin OCTOBER 19, 2018 5 One could be forgiven for having missed the fifth birthday last month of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Celebrations were notably mute, for two obvious reasons. 📌One is the increasingly audible grumbling among recipient countries about the effects of what Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called a “new colonialism” — a phrase that captures the idea that the BRI has led to the accumulation of debt on receiving countries’ balance sheets to pay for projects of uncertain value, built mostly by Chinese contractors on opaque terms, allowing China’s regional influence to grow in ways that are out of proportion to the benefits that countries can expect …

France backs China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan

Internews/IslamabadSaturday، 20 October 2018 10:42 PMAt a time when some major countries are overtly or covertly opposing China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient routes of Silk Road, and which includes Pakistan, France has declared its support for China’s gigantic programme.
Talking to chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum, French Ambassador to Pakistan Marc Barety said: “France supports the Chinese BRI concept and is ready to invest in the subsequent phases of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provided transparency is ensured,” official minutes of the meeting made available yesterday show.
The remarks came amidst reports suggesting that the United States, Australia, Japan and India were considering establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initi…

China's Belt and Road Initiative: Debt trap or hope?

Asia News NetworkPUBLISHEDOCT 20, 2018, 5:00 AM SGTAsia News Network commentators weigh the pros and cons of working with China on its Belt and Road Initiative. Here are excerpts.INDONESIA'S INTERESTSShah Suraj Bharat The Jakarta Post, IndonesiaIndonesia has been a reluctant participant in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but as the country's financial insecurity becomes increasingly apparent, we can expect to see greater interest in the BRI.Indeed, financial insecurity is especially pertinent given the country's recent economic woes. The rupiah is among the world's worst-performing currencies, down almost 9 per cent this year despite the country's good macroeconomic fundamentals.What's more, the struggle to diversify and source finance for President Joko Widodo's US$355 billion (S$490 billion) infrastructure drive has left state-owned enterprises unsustainably bearing the brunt of its costs. Combined with the sharp decline of the rupiah, financia…