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Showing posts from June 29, 2017

Moody's thumbs-up gives AIIB global cred Top rating lowers fundraising cost for China-led development bank ISSAKU HARADA, Nikkei staff writer Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, spoke at the opening ceremony of the lender's second annual meeting June 16 in South Korea. © Kyodo BEIJING -- The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank earned a top-notch rating from Moody's Investors Service thanks to factors such as a solid capital base and good management, an endorsement that should give the lender easier access to global bond markets. The Aaa rating with a stable outlook reflects "the strength of AIIB's governance frameworks, including its policies on risk management, capital adequacy and liquidity," the U.S.-based ratings agency wrote Thursday. With the highest credit rating, which came just a year and a half after its formation, the Beijing-led bank now stands shoulder

Difficult Trek on Silk Road in Afghanistan Posted on June 29, 2017By Salman Rafi Sheikh Afghanistan ,  Headline ,  Politics Chinese mine 35 km south of Kabul Like a long string of western nations, China finds Afghanistan to be a black hole Without a durable peace in Afghanistan, gloomy shadows continue to loom over China’s ambitious Silk Road initiative. The Chinese are quite preoccupied with the issue and are investing time and money in the effort to solve the Afghan puzzle. That is why China’s political involvement as well as a soft military presence in Afghanistan have increased markedly over the past two years or so, departing from their role in solely attempting to mediate negotiations through the now largely-dysfunctional Quadrilateral Co-operation Group (QCG) to actually participating in joint anti-terror operations. All that for seeking a secure route for successful implementation of Silk Road projects. While within China there is some hop

Co-operation between China and Europe runs through Kazakhstan   Route one: the first freight train of the China Railway Express from Shenzhen to Europe departs from Yantian Port CREDIT: XINHUA 29 JUNE 2017 • 1:15PM Jeremy Garlick The Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union are hoping to reap the important economic benefits of China's Belt and Road Initiative. The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan took place on 8-9 June. The next day, the 2017 Astana Expo, which is scheduled to last for three months, got under way. These two events are indicative of Kazakhstan’s – and Central Asia’s – growing geopolitical and geoeconomic importance. China and Russia are the biggest nations that are currently members of the SCO. The other four are all Central Asian states: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Thus, due to its membership, the focus so far of the SCO is undoubtedly on Central Asia. This is also

China builds new missile shelters on South China Sea islands Trump fails to change Beijing’s course despite friendly relationship with Xi     YESTERDAY by: Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington and Charles Clover in Beijing China has built new military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea, suggesting that the friendly relationship Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping kindled at their April summit has not convinced China to change its maritime course. Over the past three months, China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross, boosting the number of installations on the reef to 12, according to satellite images provided to the Financial Times by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. China has also expanded radar facilities on Fiery Cross and two other disputed reefs — Subi and Mischief — in the Spratly Island chain, and started building underground structures that Greg Pol

Japan, China begin maritime talks to avoid accidental clashes June 29  03:55 pm JST   12 Comments TOKYO Japan and China on Thursday started a two-day senior official consultation on maritime affairs in Fukuoka, where they are expected to discuss ways to avoid unintended clashes in the East China Sea. The focus of the gathering is on whether the two countries can pave the way for an early implementation of a "Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanism," effectively a hotline between defense officials, aimed at preventing accidental clashes in the sea where China challenges the sovereignty of Japanese-controlled uninhabited islets. Japan and China have failed to make a breakthrough in their talks on the matter so far, due in part to Tokyo's decision to put the Senkaku Islands in the sea under state control in 2012, drawing sharp opposition from Beijing, which calls the islands Diaoyu. In recent years, Chinese vessels have entered

Govt satisfied with speed of CPEC implementation BEIJING - Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan is smoothly implementing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and we are very satisfied with the speed of the implementation. “China has promised $57 billion in investment in projects along CPEC, part of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China. He said, “In addition to the investment pledges from China, Pakistan would invest close to $10 billion. The economic corridor, to be completed in three phases by 2030, will boost Pakistan’s energy security and infrastructure, helping it to attract more foreign investment.” Ahsan Iqbal said, “There are some challenges to be addressed, including on coordination among different

PNSC gets licence to launch ferry service from Karachi to Gwadar June 30, 2017 ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan National Shipping Corporation ( PNSC ) has been granted a licence by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping to launch its own ferry service. Sources in the Shipping Ministry told The Nation that the PNSC has planned to launch a ferry service from Karachi to Pasni and Gwadar which would be extended later to Iran’s Chahbhar port. The government has already waived off port charges for the next 14 years to make the service competitive. The sources said the PNSC plans also include the launching of a similar service from Karachi to the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) and economically viable ferry services to other islands to promote commercial and tourism activities. In addition, it is also working on plans to encourage the private sector to come forward and avail the concessions under the public-private partnership to make the ferry services more c

Balochistan journalist arrested for criticising state institutions By  Our Correspondent Published: June 30, 2017 PHOTO QUETTA :  The Federal Investigation Agency on Thursday arrested a reporter of a Quetta daily for allegedly criticising national institutions on social media. Confirming the development, FIA officials said Zafarullah Achakzai, who reports for the Qudrat daily newspaper, was taken into custody under Prevention of Cyber Act 2016. He was produced in the court of judicial Magistrate after his arrest. The court allowed FIA to remand Zafarullah for six days. Sources in Zafarullah’s family told a joint meeting of the Balochistan Union of Journalists and other representative bodies of newspapers editors and workers that the report was arrested from his residence a day before Eidul Fitr. ADVERTISEMENT Ad Blasphemous content online: FIA gets custody of three suspects “The entire area was blocked by security forces personnel before my son was arrested,” said Zafaru

Eastern and Western routes of CPEC to be completed by 2019 National 10 HOURS AGO BY ONLINE Share this on WhatsApp CPEC Project Director Hassan Daud said Eastern and Western routes of CPEC will be completed by early 2019. In an interview, he said the first phase of CPEC envisages projects relating to road infrastructure, railways and energy sectors. These projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year. He said the 2nd phase of CPEC envisages establishment of economic zones, which will bolster industrial growth in the country. Hassan Daud said that nine zones will be established in all the provinces including FATA. Feasibility reports are being finalized for these zones. He said the provincial governments are taking interest in the economic zones which will go a long way in boosting Pakistan’s industrial production. Replying to a question about the development of Balochistan under CPEC, the Project Director said Gwadar w

CPEC expressway hits roadblock in Himalayas By Mohammad Zubair Khan Published: June 29, 2017 Protestors in Abbottabad demonstrate against lack of compensation, environmental degradation. PHOTO COURTESY: Mohammad Zubair Khan  The E 35, or Hazara Expressway, is a 110 kilometre under-construction expressway linking Hasan Abdal in Pakistan’s Punjab province with Haripur, Havelian, Abbottabad, Mansehra, Shinkiari, Battagram and Thakot in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). These cities are famous for the beauty of their natural surroundings, nestled as they are in the Himalayas. The expressway is facing the ire of local people for the damage it is doing to that environment. People affected by the construction work in the districts of Battagram and Abbottabad have brought the construction to a halt. In Battagram work resumed after negotiations, but in Abbottabad locals are not allowing work to begin on a ten kilometre stretch. ADVERTISEMENT

Boost S.E. Asian nations’ maritime security through joint training 7:43 pm, June 28, 2017 The Yomiuri ShimbunBolstering the maritime security capabilities of Southeast Asian nations is essential for establishing the rule of law in the South China Sea and ensuring it is a safe and open sea. Assistance in terms of both hardware and software is indispensable. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has conducted separate joint training exercises in the South China Sea with its Philippine and Vietnamese counterparts. This is the first joint training of its kind involving patrol boats provided to the two countries by Japan. The JCG’s patrol boats also took part. Just as in the East China Sea, illegal fishing operations by Chinese fishing boats accompanied by government vessels are rampant in the South China Sea. If a naval force is mobilized to deal with such illegal fishing activities, it will heighten tensions with China. To avoid such a result, it is important for the matter to be dealt with by a coast guard wit

Unpacking China’s White Paper on Maritime Cooperation under BRI Abhay Kumar Singh Abhay Kumar Singh is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.  Click here for detailed profile June 28, 2017 The revival of the centuries-old ‘Silk Road at Sea’ into a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is an integral part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It has been flagged by China as a Chinese solution to global economic revival. The Silk Road Economic Belt on land connects China to Europe through Central Asia, while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) at sea connects China to the European Market through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. In keeping with the proclaimed tenor of the BRI initiative, on 20 June 2017, China unveiled a white paper on “Vision towards enhancing maritime cooperation in building a peaceful and prosperous 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. The vision document