Archive for ‘GeoPolitics’

30/01/2016

China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Solapur, which bore witness to Sino-Indian friendship in history, will soon see a new chapter of cooperation between both countries as China will get actively involved in the city’s smart city mission.

From January 27 to 28, a group of Chinese delegates led by Chinese Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, including representatives from two Chinese high-tech companies, paid a visit to this city.

They saw different projects including sewage treatment plants, textile mills, and sugar mills, and held meetings with local officials and entrepreneurs, exchanging ideas on the smart city planning and progress of Solapur and sharing experiences of both sides in sewage treatment.

The Chinese delegates received warm welcome from the Solapur people. Officials of Solapur showed great interest in the technology of the Chinese companies, and invited them to participate in the sewage treatment projects.

Jiang Konghua, marketing director of Guangdong Sino-Israeli Water Treatment Innovative Industrial Park Co., said he is determined to conduct a comprehensive survey based on the projects he has seen in Solapur, and find the best solution for the development of this city.

Solapur is a city located in the southeastern region of Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the hometown of Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis, who fought with the Chinese people in WWII, and died in China.

On January 28, Solapur is declared as among the first group of twenty Indian cities to receive funds from the central government to start the smart city mission.

Ever since Narendra Modi took office as prime minister of India and proposed the smart city mission, the enlisted Indian cities have invited various countries to join their mission, including France, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

At the end of last year, Zhu Xiaodan, governor of China’s Guangdong Province, led a group of delegates to visit Maharashtra. During Zhu’s meeting with Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra, they both agreed on the cooperation in the smart city mission, which led to this visit to Solapur.

Source: China set to participate in India’s smart city mission starting from Solapur – Xinhua | English.news.cn

27/01/2016

India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam that offers eye on China | Reuters

India will set up a satellite tracking and imaging centre in southern Vietnam that will give Hanoi access to pictures from Indian earth observation satellites that cover the region, including China and the South China Sea, Indian officials said.

The move, which could irritate Beijing, deepens ties between India and Vietnam, who both have long-running territorial disputes with China.

While billed as a civilian facility – earth observation satellites have agricultural, scientific and environmental applications – security experts said improved imaging technology meant the pictures could also be used for military purposes.

Hanoi especially has been looking for advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies as tensions rise with China over the disputed South China Sea, they said.

“In military terms, this move could be quite significant,” said Collin Koh, a marine security expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “It looks like a win-win for both sides, filling significant holes for the Vietnamese and expanding the range for the Indians.”

The state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will fund and set up the satellite tracking and data reception centre in Ho Chi Minh City to monitor Indian satellite launches, the Indian officials said. Indian media put the cost at around $23 million.

India, whose 54-year-old space programme is accelerating, with one satellite launch scheduled every month, has ground stations in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Brunei, Biak in eastern Indonesia and Mauritius that track its satellites in the initial stages of flight.

The Vietnam facility will bolster those capabilities, said Deviprasad Karnik, an ISRO spokesman.

Source: India to build satellite tracking station in Vietnam that offers eye on China | Reuters

24/01/2016

Well-wishing | The Economist

SINCE he took over as China’s leader in 2012, Xi Jinping has been a busy globetrotter. Last year he visited more countries than Barack Obama, America’s president (14 against 11).

Heedless of whether his hosts are powerful, puny or pariahs, he has flown everywhere from America to the Maldives and Zimbabwe. Mr Xi wants to project China’s rising power—and his role in promoting that—to foreign and domestic audiences. But until this week, he had not set a presidential foot in the Middle East.

The trip, under way as The Economist went to press, began in Saudi Arabia (whose king, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, is pictured with Mr Xi). He then visited Egypt and was due to finish his tour in Iran. No Chinese president had toured the region since 2009. China’s leaders had worried about getting embroiled in the region’s intractable disputes. But China has a big stake in the Middle East. It is the world’s largest oil importer and gets more than half of its crude from the region (see chart). Mr Xi’s much ballyhooed “new Silk Route”, aimed at linking China and Europe with the help of Chinese-funded infrastructure, runs across the Middle East. Chinese companies are already building expressways and harbours there. In this section Divorce: a love story Well-wishing Reprints Related topics Middle East Politics Government and politics World politics Asia-Pacific politics

The timing of Mr Xi’s tour is tricky. Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are particularly high after Saudi Arabia executed a Shia cleric earlier this month and angry Iranians responded by storming the Saudi embassy in Tehran. But the lifting of Western sanctions on Iran on January 16th (see article) allowed Mr Xi to display even-handedness by visiting both countries, without upsetting Western powers. Mr Xi, like his predecessors, likes to present China as a non-interfering champion of peace. (Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, said this week that the West’s “meddling hands” were “more of a mortal poison than of a magic potion” in the Middle East.) But Mr Xi is not keen to play a central role as peacemaker. China’s first “Arab Policy Paper”, released on January 13th, is a vague, waffly document. It talks of “building a new type of international relations”, but is devoid of new ideas.

Zhang Ming, a vice-foreign minister, said this week that economic development was the “ultimate way out” of conflict in the region. By expanding its trade and investment links with the Middle East, China hopes discontent and conflict there will gradually dissipate. In addition to crushing dissent, it is trying a similar approach in Xinjiang, a province in western China with a large Muslim population—so far without success.

In the long run, China may find it hard to avoid taking sides. To some extent it has already done so in Syria: it talks to representatives from both the Syrian government and the opposition, but by vetoing UN resolutions on intervention it tilts, in effect, in the government’s favour. The presence of a growing number of Chinese citizens in the Middle East may challenge China’s non-interventionist approach. After a Chinese national was executed by Islamic State in November, China promised to strengthen protection of its citizens abroad. Its new rules of Middle Eastern diplomacy could end up resembling familiar Western meddling

Source: Well-wishing | The Economist

22/01/2016

Chinese president offers remedies for Mideast predicaments, aid to Arab development – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Out-of-the box thinking.  Hope other major powers start to subscribe to this point of view. The current ones  of taking sides and partisan fighting isn’t working.

“Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday prescribed his remedies to restore peace in the Middle East and promote development in the Arab world.

EGYPT-CAIRO-CHINA-XI JINPING-VISIT

While delivering a speech at the headquarters of the Arab League, Xi described the Middle East region, which in many’s eyes is almost an equivalent to wars and tumult, as a “land of abundance.”

PATH TO PEACE

The Chinese leader concluded in the remarks that dialogues and development are the key factors that can help bring peace and stability back in this part of the world.

He said use of force offers no solution to problems, neither will zero-sum mentality bring enduring peace, adding that for the success of talks, there is need for utmost patience and flexibility.

Speaking of the Syrian crisis, he said there will be no winner out of a conflict, and to address the hot-spots, what is the most urgent, is to bring about cease-fire and start political talks.

Xi also believed that turmoil in the Middle East stems from the lack of development, while the ultimate solution will depend on development, saying that only when young people are able to live a fulfilled life with dignity can hope prevail in their heart. Only then will they voluntarily reject violence, extremist ideologies and terrorism.

Mahmoud Allam, former Egyptian ambassador to China, admitted that many of the deep-rooted problems the Arab world is grappling with have been the result of failures to achieve a successful development model, saying development is no doubt the most viable path of mobilizing people toward achieving their common interests and overcoming disagreements.

TANGIBLE HELP

Also in his speech, the Chinese president introduced a host of fresh moves including loans, financial aid and common investment fund to help improve livelihood, fight terrorism and promote development in the Arab world.

The Chinese government has decided to pledge 50 million RMB (7.53 million U.S. dollars) to help improve the lives of the Palestinians and 230 million RMB (about 35 million dollars) for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen as humanitarian assistance, said Xi.

Beijing also wants to promote the industrialization in the Middle East. To achieve that end, China is going to hand out a number of loan programs, including a 15-billion exclusive loan, a 10-billion business lending, and 10 billion concessional loans so as to facilitate production capacity cooperation between China and the regional countries, according to the president.

Meanwhile, China also prepares to work with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to set up a common investment fund worth 20 billion dollars that focuses on traditional sources of energy in the Middle East, infrastructure, and high-end manufacturing.

Xi also offered in his speech 300 million dollars for law enforcement cooperation, police training so as to help build up the abilities of the regional countries to maintain stability.China also planned to provide 1,000 training opportunities for young Arab leaders, and strengthen exchanges among their think tanks, experts and scholars.

CHINA’S DOS AND DON’TS IN MIDEAST

The Chinese leader also said his country will neither look for proxies nor try to fill any “vacuum” in the Middle East, adding that Beijing has no intention of building any sphere of influence in the region.

“Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace talks; instead of seeking any sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road Initiative; instead of attempting to fill the ‘vacuum’, we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Xi promised that China will not link terrorism with any specific ethnic group or religion, as doing so will only create ethnic and religious tensions, adding that there should be no double standards in battling terrorism.

Also, he said the Middle East is the meeting place of ancient human civilizations and home to diverse and splendid cultures. China will continue to unswervingly support Middle East and Arab states in preserving their ethnic and cultural traditions, and oppose all forms of discrimination and prejudice against specific ethnic group and religion.”

Source: Chinese president offers remedies for Mideast predicaments, aid to Arab development – Xinhua | English.news.cn

31/12/2015

2015 Chinese diplomacy: Reaching farther and wider – Xinhua | English.news.cn

2015 has been a productive year not only for China, but for its partners all over the world. The world’s second largest economy reached out farther and wider, through initiatives such as the “Belt and Road” and the “AIIB“. And President Xi Jinping led the way.

 

President Xi Jinping’s official state visit to the UK was full of pomp and pageantry and the occasional imbibing. Footage of President Xi and Prime Minister David Cameron enjoying a pint and some banter in an English pub went viral in China. And the rest is history. The consumer power of the world’s second largest economy has been felt fully by the British beer company. Just this time, it started with President Xi himself.

And in the year 2015, it’s been a recurring story. Wherever the Chinese president travels, Chinese investment and consumer power are his companions. From projects worth in the billions. There’s Chinese investment in the UK infrastructure and energy sector.

Chinese financing of Russian and Central Asian natural gas projects and China’s pledge of 60 billion dollars of development funds to African nations.

To a more personal touch, a visit, in the case of Boeing, by the President of the world’s largest airplane market, means shored up confidence for some 160-thousand employees, against the backdrop of a wobbly global economy, The president also brought Ping Pong diplomacy to a high school in Washington State while students there returned the favor by showing the well-known football fan, a different kind of football. And this viral photo of President Xi brought forward cutting edge research at the Imperial College London.

2015 has been a year when Chinese initiatives were taking root and taking shape on a global scale from the Belt and road initiative. To the AIIB, and the south-south cooperation fund. Economies reshaped and lives transformed or in the case of Greene King, a centuries old British beer finding a new Chinese following.

Source: 2015 Chinese diplomacy: Reaching farther and wider – Xinhua | English.news.cn

30/12/2015

Historian praises China’s global infrastructure building, criticizes West’s destructive methods – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China, with its impressive international infrastructure initiatives, has injected impetus into global growth, a U.S.-German historian has said, while criticizing Washington’s hawkish attitude, as reported by Sputnik.

China is “leading an economic renaissance of a scale not seen in more than a century,” said F. William Engdahl, a historian and economic researcher, in his recent article for New Eastern Outlook. “Beijing is, with customary Chinese speed, linking its economy by land and by sea lanes to all Eurasia,” the historian wrote, previously saying that China is “moving forward with an impressive array of major international infrastructure projects” in various regions. “For my side, I infinitely prefer the peaceful building projects to the destroying ones,” Engdahl said.

During the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in early December in South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the 60-billion-U.S.-dollar aid package for Africa in the next three years. The package seeks to help Africa to industrialize, modernize its agricultural production, boost the skills of its workers, build infrastructure and improve its health care.

“Unlike NATO’s endless wars, construction of infrastructure — railways, water navigation, electric power grids, lifts people up and enhances peace and stability,” Engdahl said, pointing out that Xi’s offer benefits both Africa and China.

China is also establishing a more amicable, vibrant neighborhood and is deepening economic ties with European countries through its Belt and Road initiative. The Belt and Road initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by Xi in 2013, with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

The initiative creates a “golden opportunity” for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that are facing economic difficulties, linking the East and the West of the Eurasian continent through a vast network of high-speed railways and maritime routes, Engdahl said.

“China is the world address in rail infrastructure today, while the West, led by the pathetic rail construction record of the USA, falls farther and farther behind,” Engdahl said, referring to China’s planned construction of a Hungary-Serbia high-speed railway. The railway linking the capitals of Hungary and Serbia, Budapest and Belgrade, has a total length of 350 km, with 184 km in Serbia. It is designed for electric passenger and cargo trains with a maximum speed of 200 km per hour. Once complete, it will help create a fast lane for importing and exporting products between China and Europe.

Besides recognizing the export of “Chinese rail technology” to Europe, the researcher also mentioned Beijing’s intentions to invest in constructing and upgrading port facilities in the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas.

Source: Historian praises China’s global infrastructure building, criticizes West’s destructive methods – Xinhua | English.news.cn

14/12/2015

Japan, India agree on rail, nuclear deal | The Japan Times

Tokyo and New Delhi agreed to major deals Saturday, including the introduction of Japan’s bullet train technology to India and an agreement on nuclear cooperation.

The bilateral accord was reached during talks in New Delhi between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. “This enterprise will launch a revolution in Indian railways and speed up India’s journey into the future. It will become an engine of economic transformation in India,” Modi said after the talks, referring to the introduction of Japanese shinkansen technology in building a high-speed railway in India. “This project befits the start of a new era for (ties between) Japan and India,” Abe said.

The two countries also agreed on a civil nuclear cooperation pact. Sensitive negotiations had continued for five years on exporting Japan’s nuclear power plant technology to India, with one of the sticking points being whether Japan could ensure that its nuclear technology would not be diverted for military use. India, despite being a de facto nuclear weapons state, has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “Japan is promoting (nuclear) nonproliferation, given the history of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, while India is outside the NPT framework but wants to cooperate on nuclear power generation,” one Japanese official said while noting Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic bombings.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda, who accompanied Abe on the visit, told reporters after the talks that Japan’s cooperation under the bilateral civil nuclear pact will stop if India conducts a nuclear test. The two projects were the main points of focus of Abe’s three-day visit to India, which began Friday. Japan is keen to tap into India, with its 1.2 billion population, and forge closer ties in light of China’s growing political and economic clout in the region. Under a policy to elevate bilateral ties to what they now call a “Special Strategic and Global Partnership,”

Abe and Modi plan to boost security cooperation between the two nations and exchange views on regional issues such as the situation in the South China Sea, Japanese officials said. While Japan and India are not directly involved in the tensions in the South China sea, a key shipping route for oil and other imports, they are both concerned over the freedom of navigation in international waters. China claims almost the entire South China Sea and has competing territorial claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan. Beijing’s fast-paced and massive land reclamation work has made the smaller Asian claimants uneasy. Seeing India’s potential value to Japan, both on the economic and political fronts, Abe has touted the importance of strengthening bilateral ties to help maintain peace and stability in Asia. Abe’s latest trip to India is his third visit as prime minister. The shinkansen technology will be applied to a planned 500-km-long high-speed railway that will link Mumbai and Ahmedabad in western India and take roughly two hours.

Japan, which is seeking to spur its economy through infrastructure exports to Asia, is looking to play catch-up after losing out to China in its bid to secure a key high-speed railway contract in Indonesia in October. Construction of the Indian railway project, which is estimated to cost 980 billion rupees ($14.6 billion), will begin in 2017, with the aim of starting operations in 2023. Japan has sounded out India about a plan for Tokyo to provide yen loans on the premise that the railway contract will be given to a consortium of Japanese firms, a Japanese government source said.

The two leaders also signed others pacts, including one that allows the transfer of defense equipment to India and another on data protection, which allows the exchange of defense-related information. The moves reflect Tokyo’s desire to forge closer ties with New Delhi due to China’s muscle-flexing.

When Modi visited Japan last year, Abe vowed to extend ¥3.5 trillion in public and private investment and financing to India over five years for development. Japan also pledged a ¥50 billion loan to India for a public-private partnership infrastructure project.

Source: Japan, India agree on rail, nuclear deal | The Japan Times

29/09/2015

China’s Xi says to commit 8,000 troops for U.N. peacekeeping force | Reuters

China will contribute 8,000 troops for a United Nations peacekeeping standby force, China’s President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, a move that could make it one of the largest players in U.N. peacekeeping efforts.

unpeacekeepers.jpg

Xi’s pledge comes as China is trying to show it is a responsible international player amid concern over its growing military might and territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region. During a state visit to Washington on Friday, Xi agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that both countries would increase their “robust” peacekeeping commitments. They are among leaders from more than 50 countries who pledged some 40,000 troops and police, as well as equipment or training for U.N. peacekeeping missions during a U.N. summit chaired on Monday by Obama.

“China will join the new U.N. peacekeeping capability readiness system, and has thus decided to lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops,” Xi said. He also said China would provide $100 million in military assistance to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby force and to boost its capacity for crisis response.

At the later summit, Xi said part of a new 10-year, $1 billion China-U.N. peace and development fund set up by China would be used for peacekeeping operations. China would give “favorable consideration” to future U.N. requests for more Chinese engineering, transport and medical staff, but operations’ “exit strategies need to be timely formulated and executed”, Xi said.

Obama, who held tense summit talks with Xi last week in Washington, shook his hand vigorously as he left the podium on Monday.

OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE

The U.S. military told dozens of U.N. ambassadors and military advisers in New York in July that the U.N. needed rapid response forces, equipment and training. Washington pays more than 28 percent of the $8.2 billion U.N. peacekeeping budget, but Beijing says it contributes more personnel to peacekeeping missions than each of the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

The top five troop- and police-contributing countries are Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda, according to August data from the U.N. website. China now provides around 3,000 of the more than 106,500 U.N. troops, police and advisers deployed by all countries, making it the ninth biggest contributor of peacekeeping personnel. Its largest contingent is in South Sudan, where it has played a growing diplomatic role and is a major investor in the oil industry.

Experts have noted that China’s expanding peacekeeping role in recent years parallels its desire to expand its military’s capabilities farther abroad and could provide logistical and operational experience. “They clearly want to create a more international armed force so they can operate in more challenging environments,” said Douglas Paal, director of the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

During his earlier address to the General Assembly, Xi tried to allay concerns that his country’s growing influence was a threat. “We are committed to peaceful development. No matter how the international landscape may evolve and how strong China may become, China will never pursue hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence,” he said.

Source: China’s Xi says to commit 8,000 troops for U.N. peacekeeping force | Reuters

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18/06/2015

Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters

Venezuela will receive a loan of $5 billion from China in the coming months for crude oil projects, a director at state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela said on Tuesday.

The flow of crude oil is seen in a container while an oilfield worker works on a drilling rig at an oil well operated by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, in the oil rich Orinoco belt, near Cabrutica at the state of Anzoategui April 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

China has become Venezuela’s principal financier over the last decade, lending more than $46 billion to be repaid in oil.

“It is being discussed right now and will come within a few months,” Orlando Chacin, vice president of exploration and production at PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], said in an interview.

The resources should help the oil company as it handles the severe impact of the drop in crude prices.

Oil makes up 96 percent of the country’s foreign income.

The funds seemed to be part of an overall $10 billion loan a PDVSA source earlier this year said Venezuela had negotiated with the Development Bank of China, half for oil projects.

“They are for many projects,” Chacin said. He said many of those would be in the vast Orinoco Belt, which contains most of Venezuela’s crude, but did not offer more details.

Venezuela is looking to increase crude production in the Orinoco region to offset declines in other traditional areas and to stimulate its struggling economy.

The country’s international reserves hit 12-year lows this month as the economy suffers a recession, high inflation and shortages of basic goods.

via Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters.

01/06/2015

Pranab in Sweden, key pacts to be signed – The Hindu

President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday arrived here on the first leg of his five-day state visit to Sweden and Belarus, the first ever by any Indian head of State, during which a number of key agreements on sustainable development, scientific research are likely to be signed.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel receive President Pranab Mukherjee at Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm.

On his arrival, Mr. Mukherjee was received by Crown Princess Victoria at the Arland airport. Later, he was received at the Royal Mews by the King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia from where he was taken on a horse-drawn cortege to the Royal Palace, where the traditional welcoming ceremony took place.

Earlier in New Delhi, he was given a ceremonial send-off at Rashtrapati Bhavan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the three Service Chiefs.

During his three-day State visit in Sweden, the President will meet Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, and the Leader of Opposition, Anna Kinberg Batra besides number of meetings with the King and the Queen. The visit will focus on innovation, sustainable development, urban development and scientific research with both countries exploring ways to enhance mutual exchange in the areas of trade and science.

via Pranab in Sweden, key pacts to be signed – The Hindu.

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