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Showing posts from November 20, 2018

World Bank Offers Timely, Dubious Praise for Belt and Road

By:  Matt Schrader November 20, 2018 07:00 AM Age: 18 hours PRC Vice Minister of Finance Zou Jiayi and Brookings China Center Senior Fellow David Dollar on a BRI panel at the World Bank's 2018 annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Beijing appears to be rethinking CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious bid to reshape global trade by lending money for infrastructure projects in countries across Eurasia. The initiative has come under fire at home and abroad, with domestic critics wondering why the PRC, still only an upper-middle-income country itself, is lending vast sums internationally, while skeptics in the United States and elsewhere have noted that, in some cases, the PRC has lent countries more than they could ever hope to repay ( China Brief , August 10;  Times of India , June 27). Beijing appears to appreciate the risk this criticism poses to the BRI. PRC domestic propaganda organs have begun to note the need for BRI investment to move in

Cooperation with China under Belt and Road Initiative serves Nepal's interests: parliament speaker

Cooperation with China under Belt and Road Initiative serves Nepal's interests: parliament speaker Source: Xinhua |  2018-11-20 22:53:28 | KATHMANDU, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Speaker of the Nepali parliament Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Tuesday said that Nepal-China cooperation under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative will serve the national interests of Nepal. Addressing a forum on "BRI and South Asia" organized by Centre for South Asian Studies in Kathmandu, the speaker said that time has come for executing bilateral projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. "Projects to be developed under the BRI serves the national interests of Nepal," he said, adding that his country will reap benefit from the enhanced railroad connectivity with other countries. On the occasion, Nepali Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said the Belt and Road Initiative helps meet the investment and infrastructure gaps, creating a win-win situation for the partner countries.

China and Japan: Working Together on ‘New Silk Road’

Chinese President Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Abe JAPAN POOL VIA JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES The regional rivals are laying aside their differences to build the biblically prophesied ‘mart of nations.’ BY  JEREMIAH JACQUES  • NOVEMBER 20 China and Japan are setting aside their differences and laying the groundwork for collaboration on numerous projects connected to Beijing’s ambitious  Belt and Road Initiative . The Belt and Road Initiative is a Chinese project aiming to rebuild the ancient Silk Road trade route by enhancing connectivity and transport infrastructure along the thousands of miles between China and Europe. For years, Japan was among the most outspoken critics of the initiative. In 2015, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe went so far as to launch an alternative plan for Asian nations, focused on constructing “ high-quality ” projects (a criticism of the perceived shortcomings of some Chinese-built infrastructure). As recently as this May, Japan’s Takehiko Nakao, who is cu

BRI issues can be resolved- China think tank

By Bernama - November 21, 2018 @ 9:50am BEIJING: Some China companies do not carry out their social responsibility in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes where they operate, according to Fu Dagang, Deputy Director General and Researcher of China Centre for Contemporary World Studies. During his visit to these host countries, members of think tanks there raised the issue that some of them did not create enough job opportunities, he said. Fu, whose organisation is a government think tank based in Beijing, said another issue was the problem of coordination, as China’s laws and regulations differed from those of the host countries. “I am not going to conceal some problems of this initiative. We should being open-minded in solving these problems. “As long as we uphold the principle of seeking common development through discussion and cooperation, these problems will eventually be solved,” he told media representatives who participated in an Asian media workshop o

Why we should worry about Victoria’s China memorandum of understanding

November 21, 2018 5.53am AEDT  Peter Lloyd,  University of Melbourne Victoria’s Labor government stole a march on the rest of the country last month becoming the first (and only) state government to sign a memorandum of understanding with China under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Belt and Road  is China’s ambitious plan to lend money to improve infrastructure and other links between it and about 70 other nations that together make up more than 60% of world’s population. Read more:  The Belt and Road Initiative: China's vision for globalisation, Beijing-style The Australian government has refused to sign at the federal level where it could have used Belt and Road money to help develop the north. It did this in part because of concerns about China’s strategic intentions. Labor says it is  more open to signing . There’s not much in it When it signed it in October, Victoria’s Labor government refused to release the text, but it has since done so  under pressure ahead of Sat

Who will wipe Seema’s tears?  

 Sacha Baloch  Seema’s eyes are searching for her brother Shabir Jaan, She knows where he is but can’t bring him back, She knocked each and every door where justice was promised. She never lost her hope but she couldn’t hide her pain any more. That was the reason that she burst into tears during a demonstration.She might feel Shabir’s voice, calling her (Seema) and Zarina to wipe their tears because He knows the bitter truth of the world that no one is going to wipe their tears. She might be suffering just like  Shabir, who is suffering from last two years but can’t express her feelings.   She has forgotten to smile since Shabir went missing by the Pakistani Intelligence Agencies, she can’t describe her sufferings and the unbearable pains which scream in her head. She might have no words to speak but her calm face tells each and every seconds of her pain.   Unfortunately, today our sisters and mothers are on the roads protesting for their loved ones, who have gone missing. Seema

Vietnam Offers India Chance to Get Tougher Against Maritime Rival China

November 20, 2018 4:06 AM Ralph Jennings Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong before heading for talks behind closed doors in Hanoi, Vietnam, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. Share See comments TAIPEI —  Advances in relations between Vietnam and India will help both countries resist Chinese expansion in Asia including the contested South China Sea, Asia scholars say. India-Vietnam relations are growing again this week as Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovind visits Vietnam Sunday through Tuesday. He was set to meet Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong for closed-door talks. The visit advances a long-standing, fast-improving friendship that began in the 1970s, when Vietnamese leaders tapped India to diversify foreign policy, and leapt forward in 2016 when the two sides entered a strategic comprehensive partnership. Now both worry about China. “Given a shared apprehension of Chinese assertiveness, New Delhi seeks to bolster Ha

Mountains flattened as Lanzhou builds on the New Silk Road

Chinese influence set to grow as Xi Jinping’s ‘project of the century’ progresses Zhongshan Bridge, also called the first bridge over the Yellow River, first built in 1907, now is a tourist landmark of Lanzhou city Photograph: Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty Clifford Coonan  in Lanzhou  Follow about 10 hours ago       Hundreds of mountains in the dusty province of Gansu have been cut down to make way for Lanzhou New Area, a staging post on the New Silk Road that  China  hopes will boost trade with  Europe ,  Asia  and  Africa  in President Xi Jinping’s “project of the century”. Out of the bleak loess landscape emerges this new city with an international airport, high-speed rail station, a free-trade zone, scores of hulking manufacturing facilities, a giant exhibition centre and row after row of high-rise buildings that are expected to house a million people by the end of the next decade. Underlining the planners’ ambitions for the project, there are even models of the Parthenon

Belt and Road investment under fire in Indonesia’s presidential elections

20 November 2018 Author: Gatra Priyandita, ANU In April 2019, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo will face retired general Prabowo Subianto in a ‘rematch’ presidential election. Foreign policy issues do not determine who wins elections in Indonesia, but they give candidates a chance to prove their nationalist credentials. Several foreign policy issues have emerged in the presidential campaigns, which began in late September 2018. One notable issue is concerns over  Chinese investment in Indonesia . Since his electoral victory in 2014, Jokowi has been courting Chinese state-owned enterprises and private investors to help fulfil ambitious plans to improve the country’s poor connectivity and energy infrastructure. According to a  World Bank report , Indonesia has an infrastructure gap of US$1.5 trillion compared to other emerging economies. While the government aims to invest US$327 billion in infrastructure during Jokowi’s first term (2014–19), it will only  spend  US$15 bil

China, Brunei to enhance ties under Belt and Road initiative

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/18 19:33:39 China and Brunei are expected to enhance cooperation on  Belt and Road  initiative (BRI) projects, tourism, as well as the oil and gas trade as Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off his three-day visit to the country on Sunday. The two sides are also likely to reiterate their consensus on the South China Sea issue which centers on mutual development and solving disputes through talks, experts said.  Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University's Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times on Sunday that Brunei has been a very important country along China's Maritime  Silk Road  throughout history.  "To the east, it connects China with the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia. To the west, it is an important channel for China to access the Malacca Strait," Zhuang explained.  Zhuang noted that Xi's visit to Brunei will remind the world that China's Silk Road is always a path of peace

Is China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative A Debt Trap For Nepal?

JAGANNATH ADHIKARI China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has ambitions to reshape the global economy by connecting more than 60 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa through trade and infrastructure projects. All told, it’s envisioned that  nearly two-thirds  of the world’s population will in some way be connected through BRI projects in the future. Some economists estimate BRI could increase global trade by  12% . Despite these benefits, many questions have been raised about  China’s motivations  for the initiative, and whether Beijing can afford the  US$1 trillion  it has committed to infrastructure projects and whether its partners can afford the debt they are taking on. Some fear BRI could be a Trojan horse for global domination through  debt traps . Sri Lanka is often cited as a cautionary tale. Unable to repay the loans on a  US$1.5 billion port construction project , the  Sri Lankan government agreed to give China  a 99-year lease on the port instead. The ports and shi

Papua New Guinea rejects US criticisms of Chinese 'Belt and Road'

By  David Wroe 20 November 2018 — 5:23pm Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister has rejected the United States assessment that Chinese development money is “a constricting belt” and a “one-way road” for poor nations following a bruising APEC summit at which the two superpowers stared each other down. Also on Tuesday, PNG police and soldiers reportedly stormed the country’s parliament, smashing windows and furniture as they demanded unpaid APEC bonuses. Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato has told Fairfax Media that PNG, which has signed on to Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” infrastructure-building program, will continue to do whatever best solves his people’s problems. PNG's Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato speaks during the APEC ministerial meeting in Port Moresby last week. CREDIT:AP Infrastructure development is increasingly being seen as a strategic battleground, with the US and Australia concerned about the amount of work China is doing in the Pacific and whether it has a s

Belt and Road Initiative paves way for cooperation between China, Pacific island countries

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/11/18 17:24:27 The China-proposed  Belt and Road  Initiative is creating more and more cooperation opportunities between China and Pacific island countries, paving the way for their further integration into the global economy.  MORE COOPERATION  Papua New Guinea (PNG), the host of this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders' meeting, joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ( AIIB ) in May, and became the first Pacific island country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on the Belt and Road cooperation in June.  PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told Xinhua recently that "for international developing countries like PNG, this (the Belt and Road Initiative) is a great initiative because of the access to capital and infrastructure-building capacities that we are now developing together with China. It is able to open up markets and improve the standard of living for our people."  "The

Tonga and Vanuatu join China's Belt and Road

12:57 pm on 20 November 2018  Tonga and Vanuatu have signed up to China's Belt and Road initiative. Photo: AFP The announcements came on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Papua New Guinea last week. Tonga's memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road was followed by a reprieve of the country's debt payments owed to China. Lopeti Senituli, a political adviser to Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, told  Reuters  the loan payments had been deferred for five years. Meanwhile, the  Vanuatu Daily Post reports Vanuatu signed seven different MoUs with China earlier this month, including a Belt and Road agreement. Chinese President Xi Jinping also approved Vanuatu's request to open a consulate general in China. Tonga and Vanuatu join the ranks of Pacific Belt and Road partners Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, Niue and the Cook Islands. The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the One Belt One Road or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritim

At least 70 BRA militants, including commander, surrender in Balochistan

By  M Zafar Published: November 20, 2018 Baloch militants surrendering weapons on August 14. PHOTO:INP QUETTA:  At least 70 militants and a commander of a banned organisation surrendered to the government on Tuesday. The militants and the commander, Marri, from the proscribed Balochistan Republican Army surrendered during a ceremony held in the provincial capital. Over 250 anti-state militants surrender arms The ceremony was attended by Nawab Changez Marri, Senator Sarfaraz Bugti, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar and Brigadier Tasawwur. During the surrender ceremony, the militant commander lamented that the group’s leader lived out of the country and instructed youth in Balochistan to rebel against the state. He requested other militants to lay down their arms and work for the development of the country and also thanked the government for allowing them to rejoin society. As part of the ongoing political reconciliation in Balochistan, 265 anti-state militants laid down arms for the b

Massive anti-Pakistan protests held across Balochistan

ANI | Dera Gazi Khan/Quetta (Balochistan) [Pakistan occupied Kashmir] | Last Updated at November 20 2018 07:25 IST Slogans like "We want justice" and "Release all  Baloch  Missing Persons" echoed across  Balochistan  as a large number of women and children joined massive rallies against enforced disappearances in the Pakistani province on Monday. In Dera Ghazi Khan, the protesters demanded the immediate release of hundreds of  Baloch  political activists, students and other intellectuals who had been illegally abducted by  secret services and the  Army  in the past few months. The family members of  Baloch  missing persons have been protesting for the past few months, but their voice is unheard by  Islamabad.  They demand enforced disappearances should be criminalised. Among many women who have joined the protest for the safe release of their husband is Zarina Baloch, wife of  Shabir Baloch.  Zarina's husband was abducted on 14 October 2016 and she has neve