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Showing posts from September 4, 2018

Is the Belt and Road Initiative Too Big to Fail? Pt. 2

Posted by  Guest Author What could and should the United States do if the Belt and Road Initiative collapses?  By Grant Newsham and Tuan Pham Part one of this two-part series discussed the growing  concerns  of a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) bubble that may burst, and that China’s hurried and reckless BRI investments through the years are beginning to drag down its already slowing domestic economy. So to advance the strategic dialogue, let’s assume that the BRI bubble has, or is close to bursting, and is exacerbated by a weakened Chinese economy and a destabilizing trade war. In part two, each author individually offers his perspective on what America could and should do (and conversely not do) as the result thereof.  Opportunities – What to Do  Pham:  Make the most of the strategic opportunity and build more economic leverage on the issues of China’s unfair trade policies and practices, discriminatory trade barriers, unequal trade balances, forced technology transfers, and in

PM forms CPEC body to resolve issues, complete projects on time

By  Shahbaz Rana Published: September 5, 2018 The CPEC committee will be responsible for periodic review of the work programme of all CPEC working groups. PHOTO: FILE ISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted three more cabinet committees on economic affairs, including one on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as the new government starts discussions on re-prioritising CPEC projects. The Cabinet Division has formed Cabinet Committee on CPEC (CCOCPEC), Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) and Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE). Unlike former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Imran has appointed Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan as the chairman of CCOE. He has not only delegated powers to the federal ministers concerned to head these bodies, but has also made sure that the finance minister does not become as powerful as former finance minister Ishaq Dar was. The premier has given the chairmanship as per job description. Finance Minister Asad Umar wil

Pakistan: CPEC Chinese Checkmate – Analysis

Balochistan, Pakistan.  September 5, 2018   SATP    1 Comment By  SATP By Tushar Ranjan Mohanty* At least six persons – among them three Chinese engineers – were injured in a suicide attack on a bus in the Dalbandin area of Chagai District in Balochistan in the morning of August 11, 2018. The bus carrying 18 Chinese engineers was being escorted by Frontier Corps (FC) troops to the Dalbandin airport from the Saindaik copper and gold mines when a suicide bomber tried to drive his explosives-laden vehicle into the bus. “The explosives-laden vehicle exploded near the bus on Quetta-Taftan Highway – and as a result three Chinese engineers, two FC soldiers and the bus driver were injured,” an unnamed Levies official stated. Saifullah Khatiran,Deputy Commissioner of Chagai District, disclosed that the engineers were working on the Saindak project, a joint venture between Pakistan and China to extract gold, copper and silver from an area close to the border.The three injured Chinese engin

Monthly report of Pakistan army’s brutalities in Balochistan

September 5, 2018 (Current Balochistan) Baloch National Movement’s Central Information Secretary Dil Murad has made the monthly report of August 2018.  The report statistics reveals Pakistan army did 56 operations and raids in Balochistan and 53 people were illegally detained by forces, and shifted to unknown places in the month of August. The reports also exposes army looted 84 houses during those military operations, where 14 houses were burnt down into ashes. The monthly report of BNM also confirms 17 mutilated dead bodies were found in the same month; among which causes of death of 10 dead bodies could not ascertained; whereas, one dead body was mutilated and beyond reorganization. In this regard BNM spokesman say, “We fear it might be a dead body of one of those thousands of Baloch missing persons. One dead body was recognized as BNM member Mohammad Bakhsh who was whisked away by Pakistani intelligence agencies in 2015; his dead body was discovered in Karachi who was killed du

CHINA: POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS Self-censorship by U.S. academics and intimidation  America's elite universities are censoring themselves on China  / The New Republic Isaac Stone Fish writes, “I spent six months investigating China’s influence at American universities, and found a surprising epidemic of self-censorship.” Repression experiences among China scholars: New evidence from survey data  / SSRN “Roughly nine percent of China scholars report having been ‘taken for tea’ by authorities within the past ten years; 26 percent of scholars who conduct archival research report being denied access; and five percent of researchers report some difficulty obtaining a visa.” Taiwan reacts to P.R.C. residence permits  Taiwan mulling countermeasures to Chinese residence permit  / Focus Taiwan “Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday that Taiwanese nationals applying for a residence permit in China will not have their Taiwan household registration automatically revoked, but the govern

China storms out of Pacific Islands Forum As we noted in our  guide to China, Taiwan, and the Pacific islands  (Access members), China was sure to be an issue for the members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which began a meeting hosted by the island nation of Narau yesterday. The  18 members of PIF  include the independent Pacific island nations, the French Pacific territories, Australia, and New Zealand. Of the 17 countries that still have diplomatic ties to Taiwan, six are PIF members. “China’s representative  to today’s partner dialogue at the Pacific Islands Forum stormed out of the meeting, after a tense exchange with Forum chair, President Baron Waqa of Nauru,”  reports Islands Business . “The incident shocked delegates to the regional meeting, as the Chinese delegation sought unsuccessfully to address the session on climate change.” The reason for the walkout:  “In an apparent bid to tweak the nose of Chinese delegates, Nauru refused to stamp entry visas into their diplomatic passports, instead saying

 ‘We are not puppets’ — Namibian president to China Namibia is a southwestern African country that is mostly desert and populated by fewer than three million people. It has a history of being a stomping ground for global powers — as a German colony, and as an illegally held annex of South Africa when the U.S. and Cuba were fighting a proxy war on its border with Angola. So perhaps Namibians have had enough of being told what to do.  The Namibian reports  that last week, President Hage Geingob told the Chinese ambassador to Namibia last month not to tell him what to do regarding the forthcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit, which is now ongoing in Beijing. Ambassador Zhang Yiming  张益明 met Geingob to brief him on FOCAC, and give advice for a speech he will deliver on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as the current chair of the regional bloc. “During the meeting  and in the presence of the media, Zhang suggested to Geingob that he should speak highly of China-Africa economic rel

BHRO has condemned the statement of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal and has declared it misleading, deceptive and irresponsible

Baloch Human Rights Organization (BHRO) has condemned the statement of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal and has declared it misleading, deceptive and irresponsible . BHRO, which is one of the major campaign groups in Balochistan, made the comments about Chairman of missing persons commission in a statement released to media. It said that Balochistan is going through the worst humanitarian situation, where the enforced disappearance of people have continued for last one decade and thousands have been forcibly disappeared by security forces. Spokesperson of BHRO also rubbished claims of Justice Javed Iqbal that 3800 cases of Baloch missing persons have been resolved. “His claims during briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights that 3800 of 5000 reported cases have been resolved are totally baseless as no reports or facts regarding these 3800 cases have been made public,” BHRO spokesperson said. “It is very unfortunate and gravely irresponsible that the chief of the commission term

Baloch Genocide and Silence of UN

Author: Saeed Baloch On August 11, 1947, the British acceded control of Baluchistan to the ruler of Baluchistan, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan the then Khan of Kalat. The Khan immediately declared the independence of Baluchistan, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the representative of Pakistan) signed the proclamation of Baluchistan’s sovereignty under the Khan in presence of a representative of Crown – British government. The New York Times reported on August 12, 1947: “Under the agreement, Pakistan recognises Kalat as an independent sovereign state with a status different from that of the Indian States. An announcement from New Delhi said that Kalat State in Baluchistan, has reached an agreement with Pakistan for the free flow of communications and commerce, and would negotiate for decisions on defence, external affairs and communications.” The next day, the NY Times even printed a map of the world showing Baluchistan as a fully independent country. On August 15, 1947, the Khan of Kalat addressed a

Malaysia's new government is pushing back against China

Mahathir Mohamad, once a loyal friend to China, is now leading the resistance against Chinese domination in the region. by Richard Javad Heydarian 4 hours ago Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and China's Premier Li Keqiang chat during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on August, 20, 2018 [How Hwee Young/Reuters] The electoral tsunami that  ended  the 60-year reign of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in  Malaysia  earlier this year is still sending shockwaves across the world. Prime Minister  Mahathir Mohamad 's stunning return to power, at the age of 93, has not only shaken up the country's domestic institutions, but is also upending the country's strategic alignments abroad. According to a senior Malaysian official that I interviewed recently, the new government is gearing up to cancel Chinese infrastructure investments worth close to $40bn, as it cracks down on  suspect deals  which the previous administration co

TRIVIUM CHINA: Tip Sheet China, know china better

HEARD IN BEIJING “We respect Africa, love Africa, and support Africa.” - Xi Jinping , PRC President Some context:  Xi said that in his keynote address at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Monday. He put his money where his mouth is and promised USD 60 billion in financing for the continent, including USD 15 billion in grants and concessional loans. More in the Tip Sheet below.  We respect and love Tip Sheet readers. Show us some support and forward this email to friends and colleagues who can  click here to subscribe. We love to hear from readers, so don't be shy about sharing your thoughts with us! THE TIP SHEET DRIVING THE DAY 1. Xi pledges solidarity with Africa Xi Jinping gave the keynote address at the opening of the Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) on Monday. He promised the assembled leaders  that China’s aid to Africa comes with no strings attached, saying that China follows a “five-no” approach: “No interference in African countries' pu

Local protests as governments face debt issues

TRIVIUM CHINA Chao Deng at the WSJ has an excellent look at the practical and social outcomes of an ongoing debt crisis in Leiyang, Hunan. The latest move to save on government expenditures is angering some parents: "The city’s plans to deal with overcrowded public-school classrooms by sending students to more expensive, often inferior private schools drove hundreds of parents and others to protest." "On Saturday, some threw bottles, bricks and firecrackers at local officials and police." "Officials moved on Monday to defuse tensions, promising the parents that tuition would be capped at the public-school level." "Even so, the debt problems—and public dissatisfaction—aren’t expected to dissipate soon in Leiyang, or in any of the other legions of local governments in financial straits." Some context:  We highlighted the financial straits in Leiyang, and in broader Hunan, this summer (see June 12 Tip Sheet). The area is a test case for how l

Foreigners jump into China’s bond market

TRIVIUM CHINA Pan Gongsheng is the head of China’s foreign exchange administrator (SAFE),  and he sat down for an interesting interview with Yicai. Pan touted the progress regulators have made  in opening the domestic bond market to foreign players. The key stat: "By the end of July 2018, more than 1,000 foreign institutions had invested in the interbank bond market, with a debt holding of nearly RMB 1.7 trillion." That’s up from just 400 foreign investors,   holding RMB 800 billion, last year. There are two big reasons that foreign investors are jumping in: The inclusion of Chinese bonds into various global indices has forced some money managers in.The market infrastructure is improving. On the second score,  Pan highlighted that bonds can now be settled with a method called delivery versus payment (DvP) – that allows for simultaneous transfer of a security's ownership upon payment. It’s a big improvement,  and brings China in line with international best practic

Arctic ice route is China’s new Maritime Silk Road to Europe

The specially-constructed Tian'en cargo vessel left China's Jiangsu province for Europe via the Bering Strait and the Arctic Circle By ASIA TIMES STAFFSEPTEMBER 3, 2018 6:18 PM (UTC+8) 24 2 Chinese state media have been hyping a new “Maritime Silk Road” that runs through melting ice in the Arctic Circle to European ports including Russia’s St Petersburg in the Baltic Sea. This week, a Chinese cargo ship specially designed and built to plow through ice, successfully left Arctic Circle waters on Saturday and headed for Europe. The  Tian’en , constructed by the state-owned shipping juggernaut China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company’s Specialized Carriers Co., is now leaving the Norwegian Sea. It is en route to the French port of Rouen, where it is expected to call as soon as this Wednesday, according to Xinhua. The ship cast off from Lianyungang in east China’s Jiangsu province on August 4 and her maiden voyage through the Arctic’s Northeast Passage began after it crossed the B

Xi pledges solidarity with Africa

TRIVIUM CHINA Xi Jinping gave the keynote address at the opening of the Forum on China-African Cooperation (FOCAC) on Monday. He promised the assembled leaders  that China’s aid to Africa comes with no strings attached, saying that China follows a “five-no” approach: “No interference in African countries' pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions” “No interference in African countries' internal affairs” “No imposition of our will on African countries” “No attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa” “No seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa” Xi also said that China is on Africa’s side in the global arena: “We call for increasing the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs and support efforts to strengthen the South.” “We will continue the efforts to make the global governance system better represent the will and interests of the majority of countries,

Xi’s China-Africa plan

TRIVIUM CHINA Xi’s speech contained more than lofty rhetoric.  He also proposed eight new China-Africa initiatives: ✔an industrial promotion initiative ✔an infrastructure connectivity initiative ✔a trade facilitation initiative ✔a green development initiative ✔a capacity building initiative ✔a health care initiative ✔a people-to-people exchange initiative ✔a peace and security initiative Xi promised money for all of it: "To make sure that these eight initiatives are implemented on the ground, China will extend US$60 billion of financing to Africa in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies." "This will include US$15 billion of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, US$20 billion of credit lines, the setting up of a US$10 billion special fund for development financing and a US$5 billion special fund for financing imports from Africa." And debt-relief for some: “For…Africa&#

China has spent billions in Africa, but some critics at home question why

By  ROBYN DIXON SEP 03, 2018 |     Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Mahamadou Issoufou, the president of Niger, meet in Beijing on Aug. 31. Issoufou is in China for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, starting Monday. (Roman Pilipey / Pool Photo)   China has promoted its massive global infrastructure plan, the Belt and Road Initiative, with dancing children  singing  a propaganda pop song, an  animated rap  and TV bedtime  stories  with tinkly background music on how “it helps everyone.” “We’ll share the goodness now, the Belt and Road is how,” the children sing in a 2017 video about President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy cornerstone. ADVERTISEMENT But lately the government’s big spending in Africa and elsewhere faces a growing domestic backlash, from leading academics to everyday Chinese on social media websites. 📌 “Why is China, a country with over 100 million people who are still living below the poverty line, playing at being the flashy big-spender?” wrote an