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Showing posts from April 5, 2019

Italy’s BRI pact will be measured by domestic politics

OXFORD ANALYTICA Monday, April 1, 2019 Italy is the first G7 country officially to endorse China's BRI, but its cooperation faces various obstacles On March 23, Italy became the first G7 country officially to endorse China’s global infrastructure and connectivity project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, Italy’s populist government is itself divided on engagement with the BRI; the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) views it as a timely opportunity to boost Italy’s struggling economy and deliver populist fiscal policies, while the far-right League is concerned lest it lead to Chinese ‘colonisation’ of some of Italy’s ports. Ultimately, the extent of the engagement will be determined by: voter concerns; the longevity of the current government; and which party holds the balance of power over coming years. What next At the EU-China summit on April 9, EU leaders will ask China to open its market to European industries. Creating more opportunities for Italian co

Chinese Pressure Tactics

By Dr. James M. Dorsey April 3, 2019 BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,131, April 3, 2019 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:   Recent  Chinese pressure on Myanmar to approve a controversial dam project  and  the arrest in Kazakhstan of a human rights activist  suggest that China, in a seemingly tone-deaf pursuit of its interests, is forcing governments to choose between heeding increasingly anti-Chinese public sentiment and pleasing Beijing to ensure continued political and economic support. Apparent Chinese disregard of public opinion, whether as a matter of policy or because of haphazard insensitivity, is compounded by the powering of anti-Chinese sentiment in several countries as a result of commercial terms of China-funded Belt and Road projects that favor the use of Chinese rather than local labor and materials. The Chinese approach risks that anti-Chinese sentiment, meshed with social and economic discontent, will explode into popular protests that could prove destabilizing. It also has

South China Sea: Filipino officials dial up the rhetoric

South China Sea: Filipino officials dial up the rhetoric Agence France-Presse  reports : The Philippines on Thursday April 4 branded as "illegal" the recent presence of hundreds of Chinese ships near a disputed island in the South China Sea — a rare public rebuke of Beijing by Manila, which has backed off their once tense territorial standoff… Pag-asa, also called Thitu island, is held by the Philippines, but in the first three months of the year at least 275 Chinese fishing and coast guard vessels were sighted in the area, the Philippines military said. "The presence of Chinese vessels near and around Pag-asa (island) ... is illegal," the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement. "Such actions are a clear violation of Philippine sovereignty.” Even Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte — who  on April 2 said China was a “friend” despite the tensions in the South China Sea —  told China on April 4  to stay away from Pag-asa: “I will not p

Eight months in, how is Balochistan faring?

Eight months in, how is Balochistan faring? From economic revival to managing the insurgency, here's a progress report of the province's coalition. Malik Siraj Akbar Updated about 9 hours ago In 2018, Balochistan witnessed political earthquakes on at least three different fronts. All these tumultuous changes emanated from different sources and targeted specific goals. All these political rebellions in near-unison identified a common enemy: Islamabad. The first upheaval came months before the general elections of July 2018 when several members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and former allies of ex-prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, decided to close Balochistan’s doors to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Weary of what they described as Balochistan’s endless exploitation by the two mainstream national parties and persistent manipulation of the province’s natural resources and political vulnerabilities, this group of traditionally

Pakistan’s GDP growth to fall behind Nepal, Maldives this year: UN

AMIN AHMED ISLAMABAD: The annual Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2019 titled ‘Ambitions beyond Growth’, released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on Thursday, forecast Pakistan’s GDP to remain lowest in the region at 4.2 per cent in 2019 and 4pc in 2020 compared to Bangladesh’s 7.3pc, India 7.5pc, Maldives and Nepal 6.5pc each in 2019. The  survey  revealed that overall economic conditions in the region are stable with the projected 5-5.1 per cent GDP growth in 2019 and 2020 respectively. However, export-oriented sectors face headwinds from weaker demand in Europe and possibly in US, and looming uncertainty over ongoing US-China trade war. Read: Pakistan's GDP growth expected to slow down to 3.9pc: ADB report Pakistan’s economy is experiencing severe balance of payment difficulties amid large fiscal and current account deficits and mounting pressures on the currency, the report adds. Inflation in the dev

Pakistan’s brave posture on Balakot belies growing insecurity

Pakistan’s brave posture on Balakot belies growing insecurity Rawalpindi’s brave public posture, however, belies its growing insecurity and inability to rein its fast slipping reputation. By ET CONTRIBUTORS | Apr 05, 2019 Reuters A cropped version of a satellite image shows a close-up of a madrasa near Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, March 4, 2019. Picture taken March 4, 2019. Mandatory credit: Planet Labs Inc./Handout via REUTERS By Prasad Nallapati Pakistan  continues to be on high `military alert’ although the  Balakot  episode receded to background and India deeply engrossed in a long, grueling election campaigning for the world’s largest democratic undertaking. ADVERTISEMENT The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is reveling in showcasing its “muscular” policy toward Pakistan while the opposition, equally vehemently, questioning some of its unsubstantiated claims. -Mohammed  (JeM) camps at Balakot heights in what it said a `preventive anti-terrorist oper