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Showing posts from May 9, 2019

Belt and Road 2.0

Dhruva Jaishankar MAY 08, 2019 00:15 IST With the second Belt and Road Forum, a paradox is now apparent at the heart of the initiative Six years after it was unveiled,  China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) assumes another avatar. In its initial form, it was all things to all people, a catch-all for China’s international engagement. But in fact it had multiple, layered objectives. The first concerned domestic economics: exporting surplus industrial capacity and cash reserves overseas to keep China’s economy humming, its industrial output flowing, and its employment levels high. The second concerned domestic politics: a signature foreign initiative to associate with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The third concerned security: stabilising Western provinces and the Eurasian hinterland. And the fourth concerned strategy: leveraging China’s new-found economic heft for political objectives in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and creating new standards and institu

29,000 tube-wells in Balochistan likely to run on solar energy

Saleem Shahid May 10, 2019 QUETTA: The Baloch­is­tan government has decided to switch tube-wells instal­led in the fields in the province to the solar system. A meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, was informed on Thursday that there are around 29,000 agriculture tube-wells running on electricity across the province. It was decided that the geo-testing mechanism will be adopted for the verification of tube-wells. Parliamentary secretaries and administrative secretaries of respective departments also attended the meeting. The meeting also discussed the matters related to the appointment of chairman of Provincial Zakat Council and distribution of Zakat. It decided to start distribution of Zakat among the deserving people with immediate effect after appointing the chairman of the Zakat Council. ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD The meeting reviewed the performance of power, environment, mines, forestry, women empowerment and religious affairs departments, the Qu

Three FC men among five killed in Balochistan

News Desk MAY 10, 2019 At least five people including three Frontier Constabulary (FC) officials were killed in two separate terrorism-related incidents on Thursday. As per details, at least two labourers were killed when unidentified armed assailants opened fire on a coal mine in Harnai’s Khosat area. After the incident, FC officials rushed to the spot and a vehicle carrying the FC officials collided with landmine. As a result, three FC officials embraced martyrdom. The killed labourers were identified as Syed Shah and Habib Ullah. The martyred FC officials were identified as Junaid Shafiq and Khudaye Noor. An FC official named as Sher Alam was injured in the incident that was shifted to a Quetta hospital for medical assistance. On Wednesday night, an IED attack had killed at least three people, including a tribal leader, in the province. Meanwhile, the death toll from Wednesday’s suicide blast outside the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore rose to 11, as another police official suc

Project included in next budget to link Gwadar with national grid station: Senate told

Imaduddin May 9, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar Thursday informed the Senate that a project worth Rs 17 billion was included in the forthcoming budget to link Gwadar with the national power grid. Responding to various supplementary questions during Question Hour, the minister said the government had clear policy to bring all those areas at par with developed one which were ignored in the past. He said Balochistan would get its due share in the upcoming annual Public Sector Development Progamme (PSDP) and around Rs 8 billion would be allocated for Kacchi Canal project. He said during last 4 years (April, 2015-March, 2019) 119 development schemes were received from provincial governments out of which Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved 43 projects sponsored by Provincial Governments. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved 45 projects sponsored by the Provincial Governments, he

CPEC’s first power project mired in financial difficulties

Part of workin­g capita­l is stuck in circul­ar debt; rupee fall causes loss on coal import­ By  Salman Siddiqui Published: May 10, 2019 The power project has produced over 10 billion kWh of electricity since the first of its two power plants was synchronised in November 2017. PHOTO: FILE KARACHI:  The first-ever power project set up under the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is facing financial trouble as some of its working capital is stuck in circular debt and it faces notable losses on the import of coal fuel in the wake of massive rupee depreciation. Answering queries through a translator, Port Qasim Electric Power Company (PQEPC) Chairman Sheng Yuming said the circular debt in the power sector of Pakistan had remained a very challenging issue. His company, which operates two coal-fired power plants of 660 megawatts each, is also “facing the challenging problem of payment of arrears by Pakistan”. “ We have around $150 million (over Rs21 billion)

Experts review CPEC trade activities

The Newspaper's Staff Reporter Updated May 10, 2019 Experts from Pakistan and China on Thursday reviewed problems related to the volume of traffic and trade activities on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). — Reuters/File ISLAMABAD: Experts from Pakistan and China on Thursday reviewed problems related to the volume of traffic and trade activities on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The two sides held a detailed discussion on the issues during signing of minutes of the two-day expert groups meeting on international road transport at the communications ministry. Read:  Success of CPEC linked to job opportunities for Pakistanis Communications ministry’s senior joint secretary Altaf Asghar and leader of the Chinese delegation and party secretary of the transportation department Xinjiang Lin Ping signed the minutes. ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD The two-day talks bet­ween working level expert groups from Pakistan and China were aimed at promoting bilateral tra

Intellectual Property, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethical Dilemmas: China and the New Frontiers of Academic Integrity

Written On 2 April 2019. Posted In  Op-Eds . Author:  James Darrowby Recent media headlines in Australia and the United States have highlighted the threat of intellectual property (IP) theft by Chinese actors. This reporting has placed particular emphasis on Chinese hackers, as well as military technology or economically-competitive IP developed by Australian/US universities—either through local funds or sponsored by Chinese companies and government—before being transferred to China. In the wake of the shifting relations between China and the United States, changing strategic interests, and the ongoing trade war, the threat of IP theft and foreign interference has triggered diverse political responses, ranging from contextualised discussions about the actual extent of the issue and its bilateral implications, to localised outright bans of any form of academic engagement with China (see, for instance, US Senate Committee on the Judiciary 2018; Eftimiades 2018; Puko and O’Keeffe 201

Smashing the Bell Jar Shades of Gender in China January–March 2019 Sun and moon have no light left, earth is dark; / Our women’s world is sunk so deep, who can help us? / Jewelry sold to pay this trip across the seas, Cut off from my family I leave my native land. / Unbinding my feet I clean out a thousand years of poison, / With heated heart arouse all women’s spirits. / Alas, this delicate kerchief here / Is half stained with blood, and half with tears. Qiu Jin, 1904 (translated by Jonathan Spence)   As she bode farewell to China in the summer of 1904, early revolutionary Qiu Jin penned these words to bemoan the fate of herself and of uncountable Chinese women. She was leaving behind her husband—whom she had married out of obligation—and two young children to go to study in Japan. Having returned to China, she would continue to engage in revolutionary activities, and was ultimately beheaded by the Qing authorities in July 1907 at the age of 31. Martyrdom made her into a legend. Mor

Two-Way Street: 2019 Update US-China Direct Investment Trends

Thilo Hanemann ,  Daniel H. Rosen ,  Cassie Gao , and  Adam Lysenko May 8, 2019 The US-China Investment Project clarifies trends and patterns in two-way investment flows between the world’s two largest economies. This report updates the picture with full-year 2018 data and describes the outlook as we move through 2019. The key findings are: Two-way foreign direct investment (FDI) flows dropped nearly 60% year-over-year in 2018. $18 billion of completed two-way FDI between China and the United States (US) in 2018 represented a 60% decline compared to 2017 and a 70% decline compared to the record $60 billion seen in 2016.The bulk of this drop was attributable to over 80% decline in Chinese FDI in the US to just $5 billion from $29 billion in 2017 and $46 billion in 2016. Accounting for asset divestitures, net 2018 Chinese FDI in the US was -$8 billion. Meanwhile, American FDI in China dropped only slightly to $13 billion in 2018 from $14 billion in 2017.The FDI balance shifted back t
Weak domestic demand and ongoing trade tensions caused  imports of US goods into China  to slump almost 32 percent in annual comparison to 28.5 billion dollars (EUR 25.4 billion) in the first quarter of the year. As Chinese exports to the US shrank by 8.5 percent to USD 91.1 billion, total trade flows between both countries fell by 15.4 percent to USD 119.6 billion in the first three months of 2019.    TOPIC OF THE WEEK: US-CHINA TENSIONS Xi Jinping and Donald Trump at their meeting in China in 2017. Source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via flickr.   USA raises the pressure in trade dispute – but China still sends Vice Premier to Washington The  trade dispute continues to divide China and the USA  and a solution remains elusive. A few days before the next round of talks in Washington, US President Donald Trump announced via Twitter a drastic increase in customs duties on imports from China. Levies on Chinese goods worth USD 200 billion (EUR 178 billion) look s

The Utterly Dysfunctional Belt and Road

Image Source It is not luxury and pomp that make a king a king. It is when his orders are never disobeyed that he has entered a title such as yours. — Mudrarakshasa  3.99 [c. 300 AD] T he always excellent  Stella Zhang  directed me to  a newish paper by political scientists Lee Jones and Zeng Jinhan on the domestic politics of China's Belt and Road . Long term readers will remember that I am bearish on Xi's grand dream. Here is how I described the central problems with the scheme for  Foreign Policy : There is also a gap between how BRI projects are supposed to be chosen and how they actually have been selected. Xi and other party leaders have characterized BRI investment in Eurasia as following along defined “economic corridors” that would directly connect China to markets and peoples in other parts of the continent. By these means the party hopes to channel capital into areas where it will have the largest long-term benefit and will make cumulative infrastructure impr