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ASEAN primer
Old 05-10-2017, 17:32   #1
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ASEAN primer

World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2017 is under way in Phnom Penh. For those who aren't old Asia hands, ASEAN is The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation political and economic association. Collectively, ASEAN matters.

For those interested, click the below link for a decent, though not authoritative, ASEAN overview. I would invite you to note the "diversity" of governmental styles among the member nations.

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China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road as champion of globalization
Old 05-14-2017, 17:43   #2
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China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road as champion of globalization

ASEAN has been a regional competitor of China for years. China is growing rapidly to be much more than capital and economic power. It is a matter of leadership and having the balls to take the initiative. China is demonstrating it has that kind of leadership and that level of resolve. Important to always keep in mind that Communism is one of their major exports. Never assume otherwise. Money and economic influence is only the bait. That Silk Road is bright Red. Standby.


China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road as champion of globalization

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $124 billion on Sunday for his new Silk Road plan to forge a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade, and called for the abandonment of old models based on rivalry and diplomatic power games.

Xi used a summit on the initiative, attended by leaders and top officials from around the world, to bolster China's global leadership ambitions as U.S. President Donald Trump promotes "America First" and questions existing global free trade deals.

"We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy," Xi told the opening of the two-day gathering in Beijing.

China has touted what it formally calls the Belt and Road initiative as a new way to boost global development since Xi unveiled the plan in 2013, aiming to expand links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Xi said the world must create conditions that promote open development and encourage the building of systems of "fair, reasonable and transparent global trade and investment rules".

Hours before the summit opened, North Korea launched another ballistic missile, further testing the patience of China, its chief ally. The United States had complained to China on Friday over the inclusion of a North Korean delegation at the event.


Xi pledged a major funding boost to the new Silk Road, including an extra 100 billion yuan ($14.50 billion) into the existing Silk Road Fund, 380 billion yuan in loans from two policy banks and 60 billion yuan in aid to developing countries and international bodies in countries along the new trade routes.

In addition, Xi said China would encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses to the tune of 300 billion yuan.

Xi did not give a time frame for the new loans, aid and funding pledged on Sunday.

Leaders from 29 countries attended the forum, as well as the heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Britain's finance minister told the summit his country was a "natural partner" in the new Silk Road, while the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, a close Chinese ally, praised China's "vision and ingenuity".

"Such a broad sweep and scale of interlocking economic partnerships and investments is unprecedented in history," Sharif said.

White House adviser Matt Pottinger said the United States welcomed efforts by China to promote infrastructure connectivity as part of its Belt and Road initiative, and U.S. companies could offer top value services.

India refused to send an official delegation to Beijing, reflecting displeasure with China for developing a $57 billion trade corridor through Pakistan that also crosses the disputed territory of Kashmir.

"No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay, adding that there were concerns about host countries taking on "unsustainable debt."

China plans to import $2 trillion of products from countries participating in its Belt and Road initiative over the next five years, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said.


But some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. They are also concerned about transparency and access for foreign firms to the scheme.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said Canberra was receptive to exploring commercial opportunities China's new Silk Road presented, but any decisions would remain incumbent on national interest.

"China is willing to share its development experience with all countries," Xi said. "We will not interfere in other countries' internal affairs. We will not export our system of society and development model, and even more will not impose our views on others."

"In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not re-tread the old path of games between foes. Instead we will create a new model of cooperation and mutual benefit," Xi said.

North Korea, which considers China its sole major diplomatic ally and economic benefactor, raised eyebrows when it decided to send a delegation to the summit.

The North Korean delegation largely kept a low profile at the summit, and there was no evidence that its presence had affected participation despite U.S. misgivings.


Xi said the new Silk Road would be open to all, including Africa and the Americas, which are not situated on the traditional Silk Road.

"No matter if they are from Asia and Europe, or Africa or the Americas, they are all cooperative partners in building the Belt and Road."

The idea of cooperation and inclusiveness extends to funding projects and investments along the new trade routes, which are being developed both on land and at sea.

"We need joint effort among Belt and Road countries to boost financing cooperation," Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China's central bank, said.

To sustain the projects, Belt and Road nations should allow companies to play a key role, as government resources are limited, Zhou said.

The active use of local currencies will also help to mobilize local savings, lower remittance and exchange costs, and safeguard financial stability, he said.

At the forum, finance ministries from 27 countries, including China, approved a set of principles that will guide project financing along the new Silk Road.

Germany, which was not among the countries that approved the financing guidelines, said its firms were willing to support the Belt and Road initiative, but more transparency was needed.

Some of China's close allies and partners were at the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

There were also several European leaders attending, including the prime ministers of Spain, Italy, Greece and Hungary.

Chinese state-run media has spared no effort in its coverage of the summit, including broadcasting an awkwardly-named English-language music video "The Belt and Road is How" sung by children from countries on the new Silk Road.

"Do not go gentle into that good night..."
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The Beginning of the “de-Americanized globalization”.
Old 05-14-2017, 19:58   #3
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The Beginning of the “de-Americanized globalization”.

The Beginning of the “de-Americanized globalization”.

(More on the topic.)

China has every intention of being the new global economic stallion and America had better learn how to rope and ride. It's about to become a brand new rodeo.

(Link below has map of the "Silk Road")

Peace, harmony and happiness, plus a deluge of yuan

President Xi Jinping, in his keynote speech that opened the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, did his best to explain the future of the New Silk Roads.

Xi said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – that what was once “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) – is a multilateral project set to bring “peace, harmony and happiness” across Eurasia by “strategically connecting” nations as diverse as Russia, Mongolia, Turkey and Vietnam through development plans that are already operational. And, he added, they will be a success because extra funds are already on their way.

Xi told his audience, that included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and a host of other world leaders and top ranking officials, that he had proposed an additional RMB 780 billion (approximately US$113 billion) to be disbursed through multiple sources.

These include the Silk Road Fund; the China Development Bank; the Export and Import Bank of China and also overseas capital provided by Chinese banks. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is not part – at least not yet – of this proposed package.

That’s still a long way towards fulfilling Asia’s gargantuan infrastructure needs – estimated to be at least $5 trillion up to 2022.

Economic logic certainly points to connectivity between Asia and Europe compressing as mutual trade multiplies. Italy and the UK are already enthusiastic supporters of OBOR/BRI. As too are Germany’s industrialists.

Significantly, before the summit, Xi was in a phone call with new French President Emmanuel Macron, who took power this Sunday. Xi not only offered the requisite support for EU integration; he encouraged Macron to buy into the New Silk Roads – which are not exactly understood in France’s business and media – as part of a unified EU strategy.

There’s no question that this massive attempt at infrastructure building – pipelines, ports, roads, high-speed rail, fiber-optic cables – that aims to unify Eurasia into a seamless trade emporium is the definitive 21st century geoeconomic/geopolitical project.

OBOR/BRI will configure Globalization Mark II, or which Xi in Davos defined as “inclusive globalization”.

Which is really the same as interpreting OBOR/BRI as “de-Americanized globalization”.

And OBOR/BRI will certainly act as an essential component of Xi’s Made in China 2025 strategy and the now central aspirational “Chinese Dream” concept. The initiative has become the trade/economic foreign policy arm of Xi’s drive to move China into the status of a “moderately affluent” society.

What Xi is aiming at during the Beijing summit is to address two key but controversial points. How China proposes to finance OBOR/BRI. And how to build a consensus that this is a Eurasia-wide “win-win” operation.

About that black or white cat

New Silk Road activity is already frantic. Take the China-Europe Railway Express for for instance. It spans 51 different rail links with freight trains already connecting 27 Chinese and 28 European cities. There’s also a planned rail line between China and Laos and a high-speed rail between Yunnan province in China and Thailand. In Malaysia there is Kuantan port industrial park and aluminium and palm oil processing. In Turkey three state-owned Chinese companies are turning the country’s third largest port, Kumport, into a key OBOR/BRI node.

Among all these myriad projects, arguably the most ambitious is the US$46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It’s a complex network of roads, rail, oil/gas pipelines, ports, airports and special economic zones linking Xinjiang to Gwadar port in Balochistan and is first New Silk Road project to get direct investment from the Silk Road Fund.

In November 2016, an upgraded and extended Karakoram highway linked this Arabian Sea port with the ancient Chinese silk road of Kashgar.

As Xi has stressed, China, beyond CPEC, will get even closer, geopolitically, to Pakistan under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Cue to India throwing tantrums – and then sending a low-level delegation to the Beijing summit.

That could be said to be counterproductive because China and India’s development strategies are not mutually exclusive. India is the second largest shareholder of the AIIB, after China and both China and India are equal partners in the New Development Bank (NDB) – the BRICS bank – which is not directly implicated in financing OBOR/BRI projects.

And most of all China and India are both members of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC); that has the aim of – what else – economic development. BCIM-EC could either become a branch of OBOR/BRI or proceed as a stand-alone mechanism, with equal voice by all members.

So to upgrade Deng Xiaoping. “It doesn’t matter if the New Silk Road cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice”. And catching mice in the 21st century means Eurasia integration.

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move over ASEAN
Old 05-30-2017, 08:56   #4
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move over ASEAN

move aside ASEAN for Beijing-US ruling. Great trend for China, I am sure. Perhaps for US too?

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