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China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy for Russia and Japan

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President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” program the new name for old trade route “Silk Road” could be thought of as “killing three birds with one stone”.

Foremost, it is an effective alternative strategy to face US dominance in regions where China traditionally plays the key role. Economically, the initiative aims to help Chinese companies explore overseas markets along the ancient trade route that linked the Middle East with the larger part of Eurasia, formally established during the Han dynasty. The program is also an effort to tackle overcapacity in many industries at home, nurture domestic structural reform and boost growth.

President Xi’s recent whirlwind trip to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt was one such mission: his aim, to rebuild the “Silk Road” routes while also seeking to promote China’s image and influence as a global power. But such a massive spending spree in politically unstable regions has raised questions about the potential risks for this investment.

Armed with more than US$3 trillion in foreign reserves, Beijing has dramatically scaled up its loan book to foreign nations, mostly developing economies that are largely ignored by international investors and Western lenders.

Russia since the end of so-called Cold War has been the most important ally of China. China uses the Kremlin as a powerful shield against any possible reversals from the western powers led by US super power.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has made it amply clear that China’s relations with Russia cannot be affected by changes in the international situation or leadership changes in Beijing and Moscow, or pressure from any third party. He lamented that though Sino-Russian ties are solid, Sino-Japanese relations, however, remained fragile and not yet solid, despite signs of improvement. Li told the media after his wrap-up speech following the National People’s Congress that China and Russia had a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership” – the highest level in China’s diplomatic tier. “The relationship is an all-dimensional one,” he said, adding that President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had met “quite often”. The two leaders met five times last year – the most that Xi met any head of state. Their increasingly upgraded partnership has prompted fears in Washington of a possible Sino-Russian axis that share much common ground on such testy international issues as Syria, Ukraine, Iran and North Korea.

Russia and China have extensively enhanced economic, security and diplomatic ties in recent years as Moscow faces Western sanctions for its unilateral annexation of Crimea. There have been concerns in western capitals that the closer bond could pose a challenge to the Western-led world order. Prez Li made the remarks when responding to a Russian journalist’s question over whether China’s lack of investment in Russia was due to Western countries’ sanction and pressure from powers like Washington. “China-Russia relations will not be affected by changes in the international situation. We will continue to push for the progressive development of China-Russia relations,” Li said, ties with Moscow were improving, pointing to China’s increased oil imports from Russia, which topped eight million tonnes last year. Although overall trade volume had declined, Li attributed the fall to weaker commodity prices and not any change in relations. Due to the unlucky decline of major commodity prices, our whole export sector, not only to Russia, was falling. Trade turnover with Russia fell 27.8 per cent to US$68.07 billion last year, while exports dropped 34.4 per cent.

On Sino-Japanese relations, Li said both should uphold the consensus in principles on treating historical issues, and demonstrate consistency between words and actions.”I don’t want to see us retrace our steps again,” he said.

Chinese Li, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye are to meet this year for a trilateral summit, which was resumed last November after a nearly four-year halt due to tensions among the countries. “As to whether the [trilateral] format will enjoy a smooth development in the future, it’s much up to interaction among the three countries,” he said.

The presence of President Xi Jinping and People’s Liberation Army troops at Russia’s Victory Day parade in Moscow underscored a new era of warming ties between the two nations. While the two giant neighbours shared close relations through the 20th century, China’s high-profile participation at this month’s event was as revealing as the notable absence of many invited leaders from around the world. The line-up of leaders viewing the parade alongside Xi and Putin was a walking representation of an emerging order against the US-led Western alliance – with Xi and Putin sandwiched between Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Raul Castro of Cuba, and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

Xi himself lauded the mutual support of China and Russia during the Second World War, which cost both nations more casualties than any others. “Xi’s presence and the unprecedented participation of Chinese soldiers in the parade delivered a clear message,” said Xinhua. “China and Russia are seeing eye to eye on upholding the post-war international order and safeguarding world peace.” Russia would celebrate the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany alone, adding that changes in global affairs had pushed Beijing and Moscow closer together.

The scenes of Xi taking pride of place next to his host Russian President Vladimir Putin at the event stirred up memories of the past when Mao Zedong first met his communist big brother Joseph Stalin in Moscow for his 70th birthday. But Xi’s treatment was in stark contrast to that in 1949, when Mao felt snubbed by the Russian leader. And the rivalry between Mao and Stalin’s successors over who would lead global communism led to the acrimonious breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance and the rapprochement with the US following President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972. The new détente helped defeat the Soviet Union in the cold war.

The upgraded ties have involved a series of joint naval exercises and a revival of arms purchases apparently designed to complicate US-led efforts to counter both nations’ military expansions. Some observers described closer Sino-Russian political and military ties as a “marriage of convenience”, but such an alliance would help shore up Beijing and Moscow’s position in their rivalry with the US-led West.

The cold shoulder given by Western leaders to the historic celebrations also underscored the tensions between Russia and the West, led by the US, over the Ukraine crisis. For Beijing, forging a closer partnership with Russia is a diplomatic gesture in response to growing military ties between the USA and Japan, plus American support of China’s regional rivals in their territorial disputes in the East and South China seas.

Many Western heads of state stayed away in protest over Russia’s support for separatist fighters in Ukraine. The only other foreign countries to send troops to the parade were Mongolia, Serbia, India and six former Soviet states. China’s state media heralded the attendance of Xi and the PLA as a significant step forward in the strategic partnership of the two big powers.

Both giant nations realize they need to set aside their differences to counter the global dominance of the USA. The theorem of realpolitik in such partnerships of conveniences simple: individually China and Russia are weak to challenge USA in the quest for global influence in all domains and both need a permanent alliance with a powerful friend.

Right now, Beijing’s relationship with most Silk Road countries, from Central Asia to the Middle East, is largely defined by its energy imports, as China gets more than half its crude oil from the region. However, oil can be bought with cash anywhere in peacetime.

Chinese companies are eager to explore overseas markets elsewhere, not least along the Silk Road. But the geographical concept of the Silk Road is irrelevant when it comes to solving China’s economic problems: one cannot compare today’s economically integrated world to the age when camels and horses were the main mode of transport to carry goods for trade through Central Asia to West Asia and Europe.

In economics, the philosophy of investment is about the trade-off between risk and return, which is not necessarily what political leaders are good at.

In many ways, “One Belt, One Road” resembles the 4 trillion yuan (HK$4.7 trillion) stimulus package launched in 2008; it is another political project that will be dominated by state-led investment, rather than private, as few investors will choose to gamble in politically unstable environments where governance and rule of law are weak and infrastructure is lacking. That is why Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing chose to invest heavily in Britain and Canada rather than nations along the belt and road, despite the government’s call to support such projects.

Politically, such investments won’t help the atheist Communist-ruled nation win the hearts and minds of people from countries where religion dominates. China’s regular and often harsh repression of any belief other than communism – from Christianity and Islam to Buddhism and the home-grown,– makes it difficult to forge close relations with countries where religion is an integral part of ideology, culture, politics and everyday life. China’s tensions with India are not based on religions or ideology but on territorial disputes.

Though a UNSC veto member, enjoying a special status in international power, sharing, among other matters, intelligence with top powers, China needs true friends and political allies to offset its ideological isolation in a post-cold-war world dominated by the USA, following the demise of socialism in the early 1990s. Beijing wants to resume its leadership status in the developing world through reviving the once widely known non-aligned movement. Diplomatically, China’s aggressive economic expansion is part of a strategy to expand its sphere of influence to forge a status equal to that of the United States and to resume China’s position as the global centre of trade, culture and politics, as it was some 2,000 years ago.

Despite maintaining good relations with most countries in the region, China is an outsider in global regional affairs as it has long maintained a diplomatically neutral stance and has taken no sides in any conflict unless it hurts national interest. Under this non-interventionist diplomacy, Chinese money can boost its influence, but it won’t buy true friends or love. Though both Russia and China have conveniently abandoned ideology to gain entry into western economic system of profit making, the relations may not stay solid forever. USA is searching for new “threat perceptions” to pursue its imperialist goals.

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East Asia

Emergence of New World Order out of Sino-US clash

Abbas Ali Bughio

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The United States of America and China’s relation has many up and down since the outbreak of Taiwan Strait status issue, Whenever, US Navy lifted than China deployed thousands of soldiers to Quemoy and MatruIsland in Taiwan Strait in August 1955.Later,Beijing was threatened with the Atom bomb, to end the agitation against the US. US president Richard Nixon ascribed Taiwan Strait status with China in 1972. Enduring conflict compelled the US to pass “Taiwan relation Act” from the congress on January 1, 1979, to help and maintain the peace, security and stability in western pacific and foreign policy would help to US authority to support on commercial, cultural and other relations between both countries. Therefore, Washington was lobbying to help Taiwan to get observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 73rd annual world health assembly while failing to maintain the preservation of the cross-strait status quo. Moreover, on retaliation by Chinese president Xi Jinping about Taiwan as under one-China policy to get and capture at any cost before 2050. However, this conflict would carry both superpowers to close any disastrous war.

Meanwhile, US-China Relation Act of 2000granted permission to China on trade. Firstly, the trade tensions were uprisings due to the US trade deficit with China from $273.1 billion in 2010. Therefore, on fulltime high of $295.5 billion in 2011.Preamble,US was malediction to pay $375.2 billion deficit to China in 2017.That imports increased $550 billion annually before imposing tariffs in which the comprehensive economic dialogue was convened in July 2017, on mutual understandings to adjourn$160 billion tariffs on Chinese goods, after the unfair practices of currency and manipulation of 1988 and 2015 Act of USA had compelled to China on massive tariffs.

Moreover, in March 2019, Trump warned most of the countries do not use Huawei and Telecom giant’s equipment in the battle with China for technological supremacy, and 5G works could use the company of spy. Furthermore, Trump administration-imposed tariffs to increase 10 to 25 percent on Chinese goods. The whole scenario compelled to Beijing to sign a trade agreement with Washington. However, the US blamed on currency manipulation through Act of 1988 under section 3004 against an opponent. It is a lengthy history of China to devalue the currency to gain and capture the market of the world. After the devaluation of Yuan as much weaker, which makes more competitive Chinese exports and buying to foreign currencies. Through, in global trade rules, if the competition among the countries on inflation and deflation currency could not evaluate due to get more foreign currencies though reduce capital inflow significantly hits on jobs sector especially in the USA and Europe. People’s Bank of China is under control by the communist party to let Yuan fall below key in 7.0 level against the US dollar and 8.5 percent depreciation from the exchange rate. However, the US department of treasury reported on January 13, 2020, before a great deal in which semiannual report on microeconomic and foreign exchange policies. This report assured about 20 significant partners of the US are involved with China on currency practices. The first trade deal would lead only $200 billion imports of US production and including $32 billion in agricultural. Moreover, $40 billion would be pasteurized through tariffs on Chinese goods at the end of 2021. Indeed, Trump ensured China all tariffs would be removed after signing the “second plan” trade deal.

The US and China’s relations got a new major twist due to COVID-19. After the breakout of the virus, the US president stretches the misinformation about China called “Chinese virus” and “Wuhan virus”. Moreover, the conspiracy theory lies the ideas about escaped from Wuhan lab. On the other side, China blames on US military persons on the carried virus and spilling in China. Therefore, the political battle of China is intense against adversaries, most of Americans about 66% believe virus divulged as the danger of dependency on China all manufacturing products, infect, the US was unaware from the abrupt global pandemic. It revealed the lack of necessary medical supplies and personal protective equipment’s (PPE) as well. The US must keep in mind the new raising for economic nationalism. The trade war between both countries will create uncertainty and global supply chain. Eventually, some business moved out of China like Apple production and the Tesla factory. If US government forced to leave US business from China through executive orders in which reestablish business in the USA to create jobs for Native Americans and secondly, a business must take ensures as a freeway, on its position. China is the first victim of the virus and reopening with $45 billion more attractive worth of markets. At the same time, senior US officials are proposing a plan to make China responsible for this virus and proposals are prepared to compensate that virus effects that economy of the world.

Furthermore, US state agencies convened a meeting on May 7, 2020, to begin mapping out a strategy as reflationary measurement against China, the whole meeting and planning put out on vanquish or anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the planning. Trump and some expert have discussed to strip “sovereign immunity” of China. However, legal expert says it would not be easy to put back China even pass the congressional legislation which is extremely difficult for accomplishing and secondly, senior officer advice to Trump to cancel the debt obtain to China or to pay back $1200 billion amount with no interest and to consider levy extreme. Lastly, Trumps thinks about to increase one trillion-dollar tariff on Chinese imports due to damage to US cost. Similarly, coronavirus has killed 106000 Americans with loss of 28 million jobs. However, companies, corporation, oil companies became bankrupt and lost more than $700 billion since the outbreak of COVID-19 that would never easy to let the US boast up the economy after any solution about the virus.

China modernized maritime PLA Navy for the context of the new war. Moreover, this whole region relies on primary of American military presence on different offshores of countries to contain any immediate response from China and allies after intensifying the naval gape would lead the geopolitical competition US commentators towards south Asia. Last three weeks before Washington post published the secret report of CIA “The war with China would lead the major disastrous for the USA” And major superpowers would lead the US capital losses. Therefore, all bases of US in Indo-pacific command region would be at risk, especially US territory Guan might be the first concern. The primary issue of both superpowers on Taiwan Strait land. After pandemic ravaged in the world. Furthermore, the escalation was erupted last month to push back on the major war that would erupt a nuclear war. After publishing the report, the vast difference had been seen between Trump administration and US establishment.

On the other hand, Trump claims super-duper missiles. Moreover, the US wants to test nuclear bomb to deterrence against China. Besides, China is acknowledged throughout the world on economic hegemony. Lastly, after the end of pandemic US will lose her hegemony from the Middle East, South Asia because US pullout all forces from NATO on any stage in recent future, so Trump already withdraw from WHO. Moreover, Black African American George Floyd murder took a new great agitation against white supremacy. However, all about that weaken and isolate the US from rest of world which is beginning of the downfall of the US that could be enduring so on China will take a better position to change new world order on an economic basis.

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East Asia

Post pandemic: US, China and their deteriorating relationship

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In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increasing clamor, for reducing imports, especially of essential commodities from China, and for exploring new supply chains.

The US has proposed an ‘Economic Prosperity Network’ consisting of US, India, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo while speaking to the media, reiterated the need for greater cooperation between these countries for pushing forward the global economy, in a post corona world, and also to change existing supply chains.

Similarly, a number of members of the CPTPP (Comprehensive Partnership Trans Pacific Partnership), especially Japan, Singapore and Australia, worked closely, to keep supply chains intact in the midst of covid19 (Japan has also been seeking to expand the CPTPP with the aim of alternative supply chains).

Reducing dependence upon Chinese technologies

Apart from supply chains of essential commodities, steps are being taken to create an alternative to Chinese technologies.  UK has recently proposed, that 10 countries work together to counter China’s technologies – especially 5G. This network, Britain has proposed, should include G7 countries (United States, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, France) + South Korea, India and New Zealand. US President Trump further stated, that G7should be expanded to include India, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand.

Resumption of International travel

While there have been numerous discussions on shifting supply chains from China, another challenge posed by the pandemic is likely to be the resumption of international travel. Interestingly, the US has international flights with China from June 16, 2020. This is in line with the US President’s aggressive stance vis-à-vis China. The reason cited for the US President’s decision was China’s refusal to allow US carriers to fly to China (American companies on the other hand have been lobbying for the resumption of flights). China was then compelled to take back on its decision of US airlines.

China has recently allowed business executives to fly in from Germany and South Korea (China and South Korea have also signed a fast track arrangement to reduce the quarantine period for executives travelling).

Domestic flights within Asia

A number of countries in Asia, including Vietnam and India have opened domestic travel (the latter is likely to resume international flights from June 9 to US and Canada). Vietnam had resumed domestic travel after the easing out of social distancing measures, (since then over 500,000 domestic passengers have flown). The ASEAN nation began by opening out five tourist destinations. India resumed domestic Air travel on May 25, 2020 and between then and June 1, 2020 over 4,000 flights have been operated.

Japan seeking to revive air travel

Apart from China, one more country which is  working towards resuming air connectivity with other countries is Japan (restrictions will remain in place for some time for US, China and South Korea). The countries, with which Japan is exploring the possibility of air travel are; Australia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Thailand. Japan shares close economic linkages with Australia, Vietnam and Thailand(over 1500 Japanese companies operate in the two ASEAN nations, while Japan is dependent upon Australia for farm products). Japan also receives a large number of tourists from these countries. The East Asian nation is focusing on resuming air connectivity with the above countries for kickstarting the economy, but it is likely to do so in a phased manner; international flights will begin first for business men, then students and finally tourists.

Countries like China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam are looking to revive economic activity and air connectivity, both domestic and international, is essential for the same. It is important, not just to resume air connectivity, but also to learn best practices with regard to precautions.

While all the above steps are welcome, the real challenge for governments, globally, is likely to be in the months of August and September 2020, when students from different parts of the world, need to travel to the west (especially, US, UK and Canada) for pursuing higher education.

Conclusion

The efforts of Japan, New Zealand, Vietnam and Australia yet again reiterate the point, that while all eyes have been on the US and China and their deteriorating relationship, a number of countries have been seeking ways to foster cooperation, not just in dealing with the pandemic, but also for giving a boost to economic ties, and resuming air connectivity.

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East Asia

Exposure of Ulterior Motives Behind Stigmatization of China with COVID-19

Sabah Aslam

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As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to rage across the US, the American people are complaining about the White House’s “lack of action” in the critical period of pandemic prevention and control, to which, however, Pompeo and his fellow politicians have kept finding excuses for themselves.

To be fair, these politicians have truly had a full plate since the outbreak, although on their plate is not how to control the pandemic at home, but how to make trouble for other countries.

When China, the country first hit by the virus, was busy containing its spread, the US politicians tried to stick their nose into China’s Xinjiang, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and brazenly interfered in the internal affairs of the country by passing the so-called “acts”. On the other hand, they put out a number of ludicrous assumptions like “China made the virus” and “China covered up its pandemic situation”, in an attempt to stigmatize China in the international community and corner it to a moral predicament. Washington leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the use of these ugly tricks.

This isn’t the first time that politicians like Pompeo are trying to loot a burning house – they always jump at the first sign of sniffing such an opportunity. They rolled out sanctions against Iran during its domestic turbulence; they tried to have it both ways when Qatar was on bad terms with countries like Saudi Arabia; and they, on the pretext of “democracy and human rights”, blatantly backed radical and violent criminals in Hong Kong during the riot and unrest caused by the expatriation law amendment bill.

If we go into their ploys seriously, Pompeo and his like are not only professional looters of burning houses, and they set the fire themselves! They first set the house on fire and flame it up, then loot it while occasionally making a gesture of putting out the fire. They are so good at playing “good cop and bad cop” games and busy putting on their farcical performances.

Just take a look at what the US has done in the Middle East. The wars it waged against Iraq and Afghanistan left the two countries in lasting turmoil; the Arab Spring it much-trumpeted left Egypt and Syria in prolonged instability; and its instigation and flame-fueling have led to the growing escalation of Palestine-Israel conflicts, in which the US had sowed seeds.

Yet certain American politicians have the nerve to reap geopolitical gains where they set fire in the first place. Pompeo and his like even posed as saviors or angels claiming to have brought peace to those areas they left in ruins.

How ridiculous and shameful they are! These politicians are accustomed to being cops in name but thieves in nature, calling “stop thief” on the one hand while being that thief on the other. They beautify hegemony as justice and dress up rumor-mongering as freedom of speech.

Pompeo and his like are doomed to a pathetic end. As an old Chinese saying goes, good and evil will meet their karma one day or another, which has been verified on Pompeo and his like over and over again. In the Middle East, for instance, America’s credibility has been irreversibly destroyed no matter how hard Pompeo and his like are trying to bloat their bubble.

The COVID-19 outbreak wouldn’t and shouldn’t have spread so fast and widely across the US had Pompeo and his like devoted a tiny part of their energy and time into what they should have done. The chaotic disaster of Washington’s epidemic control has made millions of Americans suffer, and a growing number of the righteous people are voicing their questions and protests. In contrast, the US media has named Pompeo one of the worst Secretaries of State ever in American history.

Turning a blind eye to the chaos and loss of lives at home, Mike Pompeo and his like, adamant on making trouble for the world, have kept disrupting international cooperation and undermining peace undertakings. They have become the common enemy of world peace and are doomed for a pathetic end. The burning house looters will eventually get burned themselves.

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