Tuesday, 5 July 2016

On the Road to United Eurasia

Almost simultaneously to the AIIB in action, Russia and China’s foreign ministers signed a declaration supporting the role of international law, stressing sovereign equality of states; non-interference into internal affairs; and peaceful resolution of disputes. [My emphasis] [source]

Friday, 17 June 2016

China–Pakistan Economic Corridor

In a previous post, I pointed out:
Although American's strategy in SCS is unraveling, the Strait of Malacca is still tightly controlled by American. [source]
The Chinese response is China–Pakistan Economic Corridor.
As part of the broad package of infrastructure projects under CPEC, an 1,100 kilometre long motorway will be constructed between the cities of Karachi and Lahore, while the Karakoram Highway between Rawalpindi and the Chinese border will be completely reconstructed and overhauled. The Karachi–Peshawar main railway line will also be upgraded to allow for train travel at up to 160 kilometres per hour by December 2019. Pakistan's railway network will also be extended to eventually connect to China's Southern Xinjiang Railway in Kashgar. A network of pipelines to transport liquefied natural gas and oil will also be laid as part of the project, including a $2.5 billion pipeline between Gwadar and Nawabshah to eventually transport gas from Iran.[source]

Freedom of Navigation

If every time USA navy ships enter within Chinese territorial waters, China does the same towards USA's buddy Japan. Will that teach the hawks that the moral golden rule also applies between countries? See Chinese spy ship enters Japan’s territorial waters for second time since end of WWII

South China Sea

The rise of China is a threat to American's hyperpower status. So, we have Obama's "pivot to Asia". From Chinese leadership, it is a cold-war containment strategy. To encircle China, the land is no longer a possibility given the success of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which helps China to secure a friendly relationship with its land borders. So, American's strategy has been around the Eastern Coast. From WWII, when Japan occupied the coastal cities, China suffered from lack of supply because transportation by road was difficult. The current chock point is the Strait of Malacca - a narrow sealink connecting Asia with Middle East and Europe. Of course, with the largest Navy base at Singapore, America has that in their control. Another weak point is the South China Sea (SCS). Since there are dispute with the ownership of some of the islands, this is a point the American hawks can use. Recent months have seen increased provocative activities in SCS using the excuse of "freedom of navigation".

China has never denied any commercial navigation in SCS. So all this "freedom of navigation" is just an excuse for American hawks to create pressure to China.

In response, we see China increasing the speed of building (including reclamation of land) within SCS. Of course, China was not the first in such activities. Philippine and Vietnam have been doing that for years. The difference is the speed and scale.

With tension increasing, American hawks like both Philippine and Vietnam to be included under Uncle Sam's "umbrella of protection". Recently, American has lifted the weapon ban to Vietnam and in discussion to reactivate navy base in Philippine.

Like any USA foreign policy, Uncle Sam is based on military power and coercion.

Chinese response is a broad "one belt one road" strategy. China is demonstrating to the world that a poor country can rise by following a path of peaceful development. The rise of China is by manufacturing, by giving opportunity to every citizen a chance to participate in a global human enterprise called trade. China can offer both investment and market.

With a change of top leaders in Philippine and Vietnam, the tide is changing towards Chinese favour. As I am writing this, reports have come up showing that Vietnam is asking China for help in finding a missing coastguard plane. The "Philippine president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, called Xi Jinping a “great president” – after Xi told him in a congratulatory note that bilateral ties should “get back on the track of sound development”.

“His government will most likely focus on repairing frayed ties by finding a modus vivendi in the South China Sea, probably through informal agreements if not a formalised deal on joint exploitation of resources,”he said.

Political observers in China agree that a joint development between the two claimant countries could be a way out.

“Joint exploration is possible. China has always wanted joint exploration even during Aquino’s term,” said Xu Liping, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Asian-Pacific Studies.[source]
Although American's strategy in SCS is unraveling, the Strait of Malacca is still tightly controlled by American.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


China is keen to establish a high speed rail link between Kunming and Kolkata as part of its efforts to revive the ancient silk route, traversing through Myanmar and Bangladesh. [source]
With the last track laid yesterday for the 2,100 km Kunming to Shanghai High Speed Railway, completed and operational in stages since late 2010, the entire length of the rail link will come into service later this year. The Kunming to Nanning (Guangxi) HSR started its service end of last year. A new HSR linking Kunming northward to Chengdu in Sichuan is at an advanced stage of planning, and is likely to start work next year. Kunming is not only a major rail hub in Western China, it will also be the starting point for high speed railways connecting China to Singapore, the Pan Asia Rail. The project is at various stages of planning by the countries participating in the project. China proposed last year to India for a 2,800 km HSR linking China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Kolkata in India. China is prepared to commit USD 40 billion to the project, which will be a great boost to the BCIM Corridor with an annual trade potential in excess of USD 130 billion. For China, HSR has transformed the entire country into one giant and interlinked transport grid, cutting travel time over land by up to 70% or more. HSR will also be a major building bloc for OBOR, the iron Road.[source]

NDB and AIIB ready to fund Moscow-Kazan high-speed railroad

The total cost of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway line is estimated at 1.068 trillion rubles ($16.9 bln). The Moscow-Kazan section may later be extended to China, connecting the two countries across Kazakhstan. China plans to extend a loan in the amount of 400 bln rubles ($6.2 bln) loan for 20 years for the high speed railway construction and allocate over 100 bln rubles as a contribution to the equity capital of the special project vehicle. The Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway’s total length will stand at around 770 kilometers. Trains may go at a speed of 350-400 kilometers per hour, and the time en route between the two cities could be 3-3.5 hours against the current 14 hours.[source]