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Showing posts from January 10, 2019

China's Belt & Road Initiative: A Cautionary Tale for the Kachins

A commentary by Lahpai Seng Raw 10 January 2019 Article A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) was signed by the governments of Myanmar and China in September 2018. The CMEC forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a 21st century reimagining of the ancient Silk Road, the network of land and sea trade routes that once linked Imperial China with markets in the west. Authors Lahpai Seng Raw Programmes Myanmar in Focus Kachin traditional manao ceremony, northern Shan State / Photo credit Tom Kramer The Chinese posit BRI as "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future", but there are many who perceive it as nothing more than a form of neocolonialism, a thinly-veiled attempt at gaining dominance on the world stage. The very act of rebranding the initiative Belt and Road, taking the word "One" out of its original name [“One Belt, One Road”], is seen as an attempt to address

Balochistan local govts announce protest, sit-in

Saleem Shahid Updated January 11, 2019 LG officials say they took up issue of powers of local bodies at every forum but did not get their due rights. ─ Photo courtesy Syed Ali Shah QUETTA: Berating bureaucracy for creating what they called hurdles, mayors of Quetta and Khuzdar and chairmen of district councils announced plans to hold a demonstration and a sit-in outside the Balochistan Assembly on Saturday against the “injustice done to local bodies institutions”. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, they accused the bureaucracy of failing to resolve problems of the people in the last four years. Quetta Mayor Dr Kaleemullah Khan Kakar, Khuzdar Mayor Mir Abdul Rahim Kurd, Chairman of Pishin’s District Council Essa Roshan, Chairman for Kila Abdullah Malik Usman Achakzai and chairmen of other districts and municipal corporations said that after they had taken the oath of office the authorities concerned denied them their powers and were also creating hurdles in smooth running

CPEC project significant for country’s development: Usman Buzdar

Imaduddin January 10, 2019 LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Thursday said public-private partnership would further boost Pakistan-China economic relations. He said, “China is the most trustworthy country and we appreciate Chinese cooperation in the development of a new Pakistan.” He expressed these views in meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing who called on him here at his office. On the occasion, different matters of mutual interest including promotion of Pakistan-China relations and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related initiatives came under discussion. Pak-China agreed to take collective measures to initiate public-private partnership for giving new dimensions to bilateral relations, establishment of special economic zones and development of social sector. CM Punjab said work had been started on the new dimensions of Pakistan-China economic relations while the CPEC project carried vital importance in the durable development of Pakistan, he

China Japan keen to invest in oil and Gas

 Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan meeting with Kimihide Ando, Country Head Mitsubishi Corporation at his office.  ISLAMABAD: Chinese Sichuan Chuanzhong Gas Investment Co Ltd has expressed its interest to investment in Pakistan’s natural gas exploration and development sector. A visiting delegation of the company on Wednesday held a meeting with Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan and expressed its willingness, saying that the company is ready to invest in the exploration and production of natural gas. The company has also financed gas exploration in China and India, and now interested in investing in Pakistan, it said. Khan said that the government of Pakistan will ensure favourable atmosphere to foreign investors. The government is encouraging international financiers to invest in Pakistan, he added. Meanwhile in another meeting with the delegation of Mitsubishi, the minister assured that the government would provide all-out support to internationa

Kazakhs to leave, but who will speak for the Uyghurs? NPR reports : China is letting more than 2,000 ethnic Kazakhs drop their Chinese citizenship and leave the country, according to Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry. The Associated Press first reported Beijing's decision, which was later confirmed by the ministry. It's unclear who among the ethnic Kazakh community can leave China or under what circumstances. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment. Kazakhstan allows ethnic Kazakhs, including Chinese citizens, to repatriate and gain citizenship, NPR's Rob Schmitz has reported. However, the Central Asian country has long been hesitant to confront its large neighbor on the treatment of ethnic Kazakhs because of its dependency on Chinese investments and loans. The change suggests that Beijing is under pressure following international condemnation of its crackdown on Muslims in northwestern China. Kazakhstan is also an important part of Beijing's

China’s chilling debt trap for Pakistan

China’s chilling debt trap for Pakistan : How everything China invests goes back to it, along with a lot more Chinese investors borrow from China’s national banks to fund projects in Pakistan. Raw material, labour comes from China. Pakistan finally foots the bill. ALI SALMAN ANDANI   @an_alisalman --- Total Shares ‘Higher than the highest debt, deeper than the deepest trap’. Yes, this should be the new slogan of Pakistan-China’s so-called 'all-weather friendship', now that China’s sinister objectives behind the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have been exposed. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, capital of Pakistan's 'all-weather ally'. (Photo: Reuters) According to  a report , documents of the ministry of planning and development have revealed that Pakistan will pay China $40 billion for the $26.5-billion CPEC investments in 20 years. This figure doesn’t include the $8.2 billion Mainline-I project of Pakistan R

Jubilation and concern: 2019 marks 70th birthday of PRC and 30th anniversary of Tiananmen

MERICS, Berlin 2019 will be a year of many anniversaries for China. On October 1, the PRC will celebrate the 70 th  year of its existence, no doubt providing the leadership with many opportunities for festive speeches and ambitious announcements. But this year will also feature an anniversary the CCP is less keen on remembering. June 4 marks the 30 th anniversary of the crackdown on the democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Stability maintenance measures will be in full swing, as the CCP will do everything in its power to prevent social unrest or any form of commemoration. During the jubilee year, party and state leader Xi Jinping will be measured against his plans to establish China as a global political and economic power. He will also have to stand the comparison with his predecessors Mao Zedong, the founder of the PRC, and with Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the country’s economic reform and opening policy. Despite its confident rhetoric, regime security remains a maj

How to Manage M&A Risk Along the BRI

January 10, 2019Agnes VargasDirector, Asia, of Commerzbank Men work in Kazakhstan's Caspian seaport of Aktau, part of China's Belt & Road Initiative. The unprecedented scale of investment in the BRI comes with new risks that will increase in size and complexity as it advances. Photo: Talant Kusain/AFP/Getty Images SHARE THIS ARTICLE       The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is creating ample investment opportunities along its route, while also reshaping the scope of outbound Chinese investment. Such transformations, however, also come with material financial risks—for China, and for corporates and financial institutions worldwide. The BRI embodies the broader story of China’s economic transformation, which has now been three decades in the making. Driving the change is China’s search for foreign investment and its push to open its industries to the world, particularly as the country continues to demonstrate that its reputation as a low-cost manufacturing center belon

China’s Digital Silk Road Is Looking More Like an Iron Curtain

A laborer inspects a CCTV unit in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg) Sheridan Prasso Jan 10 2019, 10:31 AMJan 10 2019, 4:36 PM (Bloomberg Businessweek) -- The first billboard that greets passengers arriving at the airport in Lusaka, before Pepsi’s “Welcome to Zambia,” is an advertisement for Bank of China. Nearby, a Chinese company is building a sleek terminal. On the road into the capital city, near the office of Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp., another billboard features surveillance cameras made by Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. At the national data center built by Huawei Technologies Co., a Chinese man in a bright orange vest walks toward a building that houses government servers. This southern African nation, a former British colony rich in copper and cobalt, is spending $1 billion on Chinese-made telecommunications, broadcasting, and surveillance technology. It’s all part of China’s “Digital Silk Road,” a subset of its “ Belt and Road ” initia

Myanmar is set to embrace Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative

     by Charles Williams , January 4, 2019 After years of interrupted progression with Chinese-backed projects the Myanmar government has agreed to speed up progress. This signals that relations between China and Myanmar are good and that Myanmar is seeking for the foreign investments it needs to improve its economy. Between the Economic Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative After meetings that took place in late November, between China’s National Development and Reform Commission deputy head Ning Jizhe and Myanmar’s State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar has decided to proceed with developing the  China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) . This includes the development of all Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects such as the Kyaukpyu deep-water port, the Kyaukpyu-Kunming highspeed railway,  special economic zones  and natural gas pipelines. A CMEC implementation committee will now look to establish fast progress on all potential CMEC projects throughout the country. T

China’s Belt and Road lands in Latin America

Joining the initiative is an easy sell for the region as it promises much and demands little. Ricardo Barrios July 9, 2018 The Panama canal fits with China’s vision of Latin America as a “natural extension” of the Belt and Road Initiative (image:  World Bank ) Read in Chinese  中文版本   After several months of anticipation, the blueprints for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) finally include Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). As speculation gives way to reality, it’s a good time to assess what we know about the BRI’s arrival and what it can offer Latin America. Enter Latin America Over the last couple of months, Chinese leaders have endeavoured to modify the Belt and Road discourse to include LAC, with noticeable success. Diplomats now consistently  refer  to the region as a “natural extension” of the Maritime Silk Road and an “indispensable participant” in the BRI’s construction. This language was first  used  by President Xi Jinping during his meeting with Argentina’s

ADB provides $107 mln for water management in Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the provincial government of Balochistan signed on Saturday the project agreement of a $107 million loan and grants to improve irrigation infrastructure and water resource management in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest yet economically poor province. Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, witnessed signing of the project agreement by Additional Chief Secretary for Development, Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Ms. Xiaohong Yang in Quetta, said a statement issued here. “Agriculture remains the backbone of Balochistan’s economy,” said Ms. Yang. “This project will introduce efficient water usage systems and practices to help farmers improve productivity and farm incomes. "Agriculture accounts for almost two-thirds of Balochistan’s economic output and employs 60% of the province’s 13 million population, but frequent drought and poor water management has put the industry, and those who rely on it, at ris

Raisani slams govt inaction over missing persons

By  Mohammad Zafar Published: January 10, 2 PHOTO:FILE QUETTA  :  Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) leader Haji Lashkari Raisani has said that during the last three months more people from Balochistan have gone missing. It seems people sitting in Islamabad have sought to run the federation on the basis of a one unit policy, the BNP-M leader said while talking to various delegations at the Sarwan House on Wednesday. Lashkari said, “The BNP-M supported Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on the assurance of bringing prosperity in Balochistan rather than for personal benefits. We have given a chance to the new federal government to win the trust of Balochistan’s people.” Raisani terms education key to peaceful society He also said that the BNP-M has been striving for the due rights of the people. Ruling over the masses or acquiring the throne was never a party policy, he added. Lashkari said that during the 2016 all-party conference they were assured of constitutional amendments fo

Balochistan is thirsty for a drop of water – what will it take for Pakistan to notice?

Despite the flow of seven rivers, Balochistan is in a perpetual drought season. PHOTO: FILE It is no secret that Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, is facing a chronic  water shortage  issue and has been experiencing severe droughts for decades. Water is one of the basic necessities of life, fundamental for the existence of life to begin with, and without it we will all cease to exist. And yet the province is moving closer towards becoming a land without water. At least seven small and large rivers flow across Balochistan, from which the Hingol River (the longest river in the province) covers a length of 560 kilometres. Despite the flow of these seven rivers, Balochistan is in a perpetual drought season. It faced acute and chronic droughts from 1997 to 2007, and then from 2013 to date. Currently about nine districts, including Nushki, Kharan, Awaran, Musakhail, Killa Abdullah and  Quetta  are experiencing extreme water shortages. A  survey  held by the provincial government

Social architecture and identity

By: Dr Asma Hyder Baloch An inclusive society is defined as a society for all, a society where everyone has freedom of expression, respect and recognition for religious, ethnic and cultural diversity. An important determinant of conflict is modernization and development. During the development process traditional parochial identities are threatened. There are many developing countries in Africa and Asia, where sensitivity of social fabric of society is on rise and may require mature and solicitous initiatives. In the last few years, if we count only those renowned people, who were assassinated due to their thoughtful expression and sovereign thought –the list is very lengthy. The event diaries of this country are full of acts of hatred and extremism. Social resilience has never been a priority agenda in any of our policies. The concept of dialogue and freedom of expression is nonexistent. Economists take ethnic, racial, religious, political and other social disputes as an issue of