China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) aims first of all at establishment of secure connections to its export markets in Asia, Europe and Africa.
The rail connections to Europe through Russia and Central Asia have not only been established but also in regular operation but the railway freight is expensive and slow due to the need to change carriages with different gauges.
A shipping route through the Arctic to Europe along Russian coast will be a secure shortcut but the Arctic has not melted enough. However, US refusal to reduce carbon dioxide emission may help. I wonder why the US is always helping China with or without its measures to contain China.
The rail link through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to the port of Gwadar for shipping to the Middle East, Europe and Africa will be a faster and cheaper alternative without gauge problem. The railways will be newly built with capacity devoted to such connections while the rail connections through Russia and Central Asia have limited capacity due to the use of existing old railways that have already been busy. The shipping from Gwadar is safe due to protection of Pakistani and Iranian military, for which China and Russia will provide advanced weapons and training if necessary.
The US is certainly unhappy with that as with such connections powerful US navy will be unable to cut China’s western trade lifelines.
Now, due to the trade war launched by the US against China, BRI’s top goal has switched to the transfer of China’s labor-intensive industries to BRI’s Silk Road economic belt to avoid US tariff hikes on the products of Chinese labor-intensive industries as well as reduction their labor costs.
US trade deficit with China will be greatly reduced but its trade deficit with Silk Road economic belt will increase by the same amount. China’s such strategy will deal a heavy blow at the US to thoroughly defeat the US in the trade war.
China’s market in the belt will expand and so will its geopolitical influence there though geopolitical influence is but BRI’s byproduct not its aim. For the US, however, such byproduct upsets it most as it hinders US world hegemony.
With secure trade lifeline, transfer of industries, exploitation of labor and other resources, expansion of China’s market and geopolitical influence, etc. BRI facilitates China’s further rise to surpass the US and reduces US world hegemony. No wonder the US and the Western media under US influence have been so upset by BRI and have been trying so hard to spread lies about BRI being debt trap, etc. to obstruct BRI. However, lies are but lies. With or without Chinese investment, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, etc. are building railways, roads, pipelines and ports to set up trade connections and build infrastructures and industry zones for China’s trade and labor-intensive industries.
The connections and labor and other resources also attract other countries. According to Reuters’ report (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-pakistan-economy/saudi-arabia-to-set-up-10-billion-oil-refinery-in-pakistan-idUSKCN1P60OU on March 13), Saudi Arabia plans to build a $10 billion refinery in Gwadar due to its connections to Saudi’s markets in South Asia and China.
Other countries will also exploit the connections built by BRI. India is a firm opponent against BRI but its wealthy business family owned and Singapore-registered Silver Park International is taking part in building a $3.85 billion refinery in Hambantota, the port built under BRI (see Channel News Asia’s report “Sri Lanka opens work on US$3.85 billion refinery near strategic port” on March 24 at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/sri-lanka-opens-work-on-us-3-85-billion-refinery-near-strategic-11374242).
Seeing the successes of BRI, Europe certainly is no willing to lag behind in exploiting the connections built and markets expanded under BRI. Moreover, the infrastructures built under BRI will enable Europe to build factories of cars and other products in Silk Road economic belt to avoid US tariff hikes. Italy has signed a memorandum of understanding to participate in BRI, Germany and EU have shown their interest in BRI after Merkel and Juncker’s summit with Macron and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Like AIIB, the US will again fail in its efforts to have Europe join it in containing China.
Article by Chan Kai Yee.
China has been building the best civilian infrastructures with central and local government funds. Some of China’s local governments are even heavily in debt for that. However, the wonderful high speed railways, modern airports, bridges, tunnels and express roads China has built prove that the funds, even borrowed, have been spent satisfactorily for the prosperity and security of the nation. Militarily the infrastructures facilitate smooth and fast movement of military force and equipment.
Local government debts may be a problem and Chinese government is dealing with it. However, the infrastructures are valuable assets. If local governments put the assets into companies for initial public offer, they may obtain lots of funds from the public as Chinese people have lots of savings. Therefore, in the final analysis the debts borrowed for the construction of infrastructures are not serious problems for China.
Chinese military has even more abundant funds for construction of its infrastructure.
Those military and civilian infrastructures will be tremendously helpful in resisting US attack at Chinese mainland.
I have mentioned that there are 50,000 bridges in the US in poor conditions. If US homeland is attacked, any one of such bridges may collapse by the minor shockwave of a bomb that does not directly hit it.
Not only civilian infrastructures, even military ones are in poor conditions due to lack of funds according to Defense One’s article “All the Ways the US Military’s Infrastructure Crisis Is Getting Worse” on March 27 at https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/03/us-militarys-infrastructure-crisis-only-getting-worse/155858/?oref=defenseone_today_nl.
In spite of huge military budget, US military is hard up. Do not forget that the US has to borrow lots of foreign funds to maintain such budgets. Now, the US is conducting a trade war to reduce China’s trade surplus. That will cause China to have less money to buy US treasury bonds to help the US live on borrowed money.
Moreover, Chinese President has launched his Belt and Road initiative (BRI) to invest China’s surplus foreign exchange in win-win cooperation in building infrastructures in countries other than the US. That is a better alternative to investment in US treasury bonds to provide the US with funds for development of weapons to attack China.
That will make the US even more hard up. No wonder, the US has been making great efforts to spread lies to hinder Xi’s BRI.
How can a military that lacks funds even for its infrastructures win its arms race with a military with abundant funds not only for weapon development and acquisition but also infrastructures?
Think about that. What if US homeland is attacked when the US has attacked Chinese homeland? Will the US not in chaos due to its poor infrastructures. That is why China is developing strategic bombers and most advanced attack submarines. Only when China has the conventional capabilities of counterattack at US homeland in addition to its nuclear second-strike capability can China really deter US attack at Chinese homeland and ensure its security.
China is making sound progress in developing such conventional capabilities. Whether or not it is criticized as conducting an arms race with the US, it will keep on doing so and win the arms race.
Article by Chan Kai Yee.
US military is a laughing stock in its development of advanced weapons. Its top stealth fighter jet F-35, destroyer, aircraft carrier all have problem of seriously exceeding budgets, delay in delivery and technical problems after delivery.
1. There are no scientists or engineers really know the jobs in US military as the culture of US military is disgusting to scientists and engineers. That is well-known so that I will not mention my post on that.
2. US military serves big moneys in weapon industry. It is willing to pay the excessive R&D and maintenance costs that the weapon enterprises charge though such costs shall be incurred by the big money weapon producers.
Defense One’s article “America’s Fighter Jet Makers Are Thriving, Thanks to Trump and Putin” on March 20 says that Boeing has got contracts for quite a few older fighter jets. It says “Last year, Kuwait ordered 28 Super Hornets, the first of which are to arrive by December.” There may be further orders as “Finland is considering new Super Hornets (as well as the F-35 and other European-made aircraft) to replace its older Hornets in a deal that could be worth $13 billion. Germany is considering the Super Hornet to replace its fleet of 90 Tornado jets.”
In addition, it says “Qatar agreed in 2017 to order 36 F-15s, the first of which is expected to arrive in 2021. Israel is also reportedly considering an order of new F-15s.
Such orders and potential orders have kept and will keep Boeing very active in fighter jet production. Still US military will place orders for outdated F-15s to keep Boeing active so that there will be two fighter jet makers active!
The above are where China has great advantages:
1. China’s military and weapon producers develop and make weapons to serve their country instead of earning profit.
2. Chinese military employs top scientists and engineers as active military officers and highly respects and trusts them.
The photo below shows that China’s navy chief Admiral Wu Shengli held an umbrella for Rear Admiral Ma Weiming, China’s top naval engineer well-known for his development of China’s electromagnetic catapult for aircraft carrier and integrated electrical propulsion system for quiet submarines (see my post “Why Chinese submarines could soon be quieter than US ones” on July 5, 2017)
Chinese military understands and trusts scientists and engineers and is able to wisely assign them the job of developing top weapons.
A typical example is the assignment of the development of China’s most advanced fast missile boat to a young girl engineer Navy officer Yang Yi (shown in the photo below) as described in my post “A Pretty Girl Is China’s Houbei Class Missile Boat Designer” on November 12, 2012, in which I said
She may be 40 now, but still looks young in photos. However, nearly 2 decades ago in 1994, she was assigned chief designer of China’s well-known Houbei Class fast attack missile boat. At that time, she was the youngest chief designer ever in China.
There are now three flotillas of more than 80 such boats in Chinese navy. According to a retired US navy officer, the boat is a purebred ship killer, perhaps even a carrier killer.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
The USS Ford is already two years behind schedule and billions over budget.
By Kyle Mizokami Mar 28, 2019
The USS Gerald R. Ford, the first in a new class of aircraft carriers, will be delivered to the U.S. Navy three months later than planned. The Navy says the delay is necessary to resolve issues with the ship’s nuclear propulsion system and elevators designed to lift munitions up to the hangar. The technologically ambitious Ford, which introduces several technologies to frontline service, is already at least two years behind schedule.
The Navy, per USNI News, says that the Ford won’t be delivered to the fleet in July as originally planned but October. The service says that it needs the extra three months beyond the planned 12 months shakedown period to make adjustments to the nuclear propulsion system and fix the Advanced Weapon Elevators. The problem with the propulsion system isn’t related to the nuclear reactors but rather the turbines driven by the steam produced by the reactors.
The Advanced Weapon Elevators, on the other hand, are an ongoing problem. Unlike past elevators, the AWEs use electromagnetic propulsion to move munitions from the magazine to waiting aircraft. The electromagnetic powered elevators, as UPI reported earlier this month, are designed to lift 20,000 pounds of munitions at a rate of 150 feet per minute. Older elevators on the previous Nimitz-class moved 10,500 pounds of munitions at 100 feet per minute.
Technical problems saw the Ford commissioned into the U.S. Navy in July 2017 with zero of the planned eleven elevators. Ford current has two certified and working elevators.
The USS Ford, which includes other technologies such as an electromagnetic aircraft catapult, a new system for landing aircraft, and a new radar, is now more than two years behind schedule and at least 22 percent over budget. Originally forecast to cost $10.5 billion, the carrier’s construction cost is now at $13.027 billion, making it the most expensive warship ever built. Almost all of the new technology has had developmental problems and cost overruns–for example, the cost of the landing system has tripled from $301 million to $961 million dollars.
Ford is scheduled to make its first operational deployment cruise in 2021. It’s unknown if this latest delay will impact that schedule at this point. Built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Virginia, Ford is the first of its kind. The Navy has identified two follow-on ships for now, John F. Kennedy and Enterprise, and eventually all of the service’s Nimitz-class carriers will be replaced by Ford-class ships.
Source: Popular Mechanics “The Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Is Delayed, Yet Again”
Note: This is Popular Mechanics’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Huffpost’s report “AG Barr: Mueller Report Doesn’t Find Trump Conspired With Russia, Doesn’t ‘Exonerate’ Him On Obstruction” gives me a funny impression that
Mueller’s investigation is about the question of whether Trump colluded with Russia in meddling US presidential election to have him elected instead of the question of whether foreign meddling of US presidential election is possible and allowed.
What if Russia has meddled the election to have a candidate it likes elected without collusion with the candidate? Is it possible according to US current election system? If it is, how shall the US correct the system to prevent that? I think that must be the vital question but the US pays no attention to it.
Perhaps, as the US is a split nation, a contending political group is only interested in bringing down the president elected of its opponent political group. If foreign influence helps its own candidate and makes its own candidate elected, it certainly welcomes such meddling. Is that true?
If so there may be the situation that every political group takes care of its own interests with no one taking care of the interests of the country.
It is really a funny situation. Absurd but true?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Huffpost’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/william-barr-mueller-report-findings_n_5c9645a4e4b01ebeef0ff759?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__032519.
Disguised weapon turns freighters into warships, ports to missile bases
BY: Bill Gertz
March 27, 2019 5:00 am
China is building a long-range cruise missile fired from a shipping container that could turn Beijing’s large fleet of freighters into potential warships and commercial ports into future missile bases.
The new missile is in flight testing and is a land-attack variant of an advanced anti-ship missile called the YJ-18C, according to American defense officials.
The missile will be deployed in launchers that appear from the outside to be standard international shipping containers used throughout the world for moving millions of tons of goods, often on the deck of large freighters.
The YJ-18C is China’s version of the Club-K cruise missile built by Russia that also uses a launcher disguised as a shipping container. Israel also is working on a container-launched missile called the Lora.
Spokesmen for the Defense Intelligence Agency and Navy declined to comment.
Disclosure of the new missile comes as the Trump administration is nearing completion of a trade deal with China aimed at allaying American concerns over illicit trade practices by Beijing.
The new missile also could undermine China’s current buying and building spree for international commercial port projects.
The YJ-18C container missile also is being developed as China is engaged in a major global program called the Belt and Road Initiative that will provide Chinese military forces and warships with expanded access through a network of commercial ports around the world.
China operates or is building deep water ports in several strategic locations, including Bahamas, Panama, and Jamaica that could be used covertly to deploy ships carrying the YJ-18C.
Other locations include Pakistan’s Gwadar port near the Arabian Sea and in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa close to the strategic choke point of the Bab el Mandeb at the southern end of the Red Sea.
Rick Fisher, a China military affairs expert, said he is not surprised China is copying the Russian Club container-launched missile.
“It fits with China’s penchant for seeking asymmetric advantages against its enemies,” said Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
The new missile also supports China’s longstanding development of deniable technologies such as a hard-to-track shipping container fitted with missiles.
The weapon system also could be sold to Iran or North Korea as China has done in the past with other weapons systems, including long-range missile launchers that were transferred to North Korea.
Fisher said China also showcased a precision-guided multiple launch rockets concealed in a shipping container-launcher, similar to the Club-K concept during a military show in 2016.
Also, China has offered for export the SR5 precision guided artillery rockets deployed in shipping container-launchers
“Containerized missiles give China, Russia, and its rogue state partners new options for directly or indirectly for attacking the United States and its allies,” Fisher said.
“Shipping container missile launchers can be smuggled through ports or via highway ports of entry and stored for years in a climate-controlled building within range of U.S. military bases, and taken out when needed for military operations,” he added.
Container missiles also can be deployed on commercial ships that can sail off U.S. coasts or within American ports prior to a conflict.
“Potentially, Chinese missile launching containers could be stored near the Port of Seattle, waiting for the day they can launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warhead-armed missiles over the Bangor nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) base,” Fisher said.
“The EMP blast might take out electronics on the [submarines] and all over the base without having to launch a nuclear missile from China. Washington would be in chaos, would not know against whom to retaliate, and perhaps China uses American distraction to begin its real objective, the military conquest of Taiwan.”
Retired Navy Capt. Jim Fanell, a former Pacific Fleet intelligence chief, said a containerized YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missile would add a significant threat to the Navy given the volume of Chinese container ships that enter U.S. ports on the west and east coast, well within range of the vast majority of the U.S. fleet.
“If this capability is confirmed, it will require a completely new screening regime for all PRC flagged commercial ships bound for U.S. ports,” Fanell said.
Additionally the container-launched missiles could be targeted in foreign ports used by Chinese-flagged merchant vessels.
China’s state-owned Cosco shipping company is currently selling its Long Beach, Calif., shipping terminal as part of a deal completed last year to buy a rival container shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd.
Retired Navy Capt. Chris Carlson who has written extensively on Chinese missiles, cautioned that the range of the YJ-18C is unlikely to be 1,000 miles.
“China has had considerable problems with propulsion of all kinds and the YJ-18 uses a reverse engineered Russian design turbofan in the subsonic cruise body,” Carlson said.
The YJ-18 uses subsonic flight and then speeds up to supersonic flight shortly before striking a ship. It could not be learned if the YJ-18C is subsonic throughout its flight. One official called it a land-attack cruise missile.
However, based on the YJ-18 similarity to the Club missile, Carlson estimates four of the missiles could be deployed in one shipping container.
A standard shipping container is 8 feet wide by 8.5 feet high by 20 feet or 40 feet.
R. Evan Ellis, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College, says that China’s military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean are extensive.
During a conflict, “China’s substantial commercial base, its access to ports, and its military-to-military contacts in the Caribbean might prove useful,” Ellis told Radio Free Asia. “All of these add up to growing Chinese influence in a region located close to the U.S. as well as its most important Atlantic coast military facilities.”
Adm. Craig Faller, commander of the Southern Command, warned that China is expanding in the South American region.
“In the future, China could use its control of deep water ports in the Western Hemisphere to enhance its global operational posture,” Faller said. “Particularly concerning is China’s effort to exert control over key infrastructure associated with the Panama Canal.”
China’s port in Jamaica will serve as a transshipment hub for Chinese container ships arriving through the Panama Canal.
In Panama, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed multiple cooperation agreements with the government there and the country’s leader President Juan Carlos Varel has voiced support for China’s Belt and Road program.
Panama shifted diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2017.
Chinese companies also are building the Panama Colon Container Port that will be a terminal for container ships.
Two-thirds of ships to or from the United States pass through the canal.
In Pakistan, the Gwadar port was built and is operated by China and is located strategically along oil shipping routes used by Chinese oil tankers.
China also is building a military base at Jiwani, a Pakistani port close to Iran.
Pakistan will play a key role in an economic corridor as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
China also is investing in ports in Sri Lanka, Greece, Seychelles, and Australia that could be used for both commercial and military purposes.
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Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Building Long-Range Cruise Missile Launched From Ship Container”
Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
SCMP says in its report “Japan ‘rooting for Donald Trump’ in China trade war, but urges US not to ‘monopolise’ any benefits” on March 1 that Tamaki Tsukada, deputy director general for economic affairs within Japan’s foreign ministry “urged the United States not to ‘monopolise’ the concessions it extracts from China as a part of any trade deal”.
So does Europe. Bur Trump is not likely to do so as his policy is “America first”.
Xi Jinping has his Foreign Investment Law on further opening-up rushed through recent NPC annual session so that not only the US but also EU and Japan gets what they want. Xi treats EU, Japan and the US equally.
The problem for the US is that it gets that through an unpopular trade war that may cause serious trouble to not only China and the US itself but also EU and Japan while EU and Japan get that without any cost or effort. Moreover, the US has been threatening EU and Japan with similar trade wars but EU and Japan have no concession like China’s to please the US.
The law makes China popular and the US isolated.
What China fears most is EU and Japan’s participation in US trade war with China for such concession. Removal of that threat is China’s top priority.
US President Trump has already lost Japan as his ally in his trade war with China by his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership aimed at containing China economically and his threat of trade war with Japan.
EU is more important as it is a larger economy with the largest volume of trade with China. That is why winning over EU is top priority for Xi to win the trade war with diplomacy.
EU has similar complaints about China’s lack of opening-up to foreign investment and trade surplus with its member countries.
Xi has made arrangement to get the foreign investment law adopted to please EU and then visit Italy and France to win over EU with his charisma.
He has achieved great success.
Wining over Italy to join Xi’s BRI, though a great success for BRI, is insignificant compared with his success in France. In addition to the said law, Xi has had 15 contracts signed for China’s purchase of $30 billion French goods to cover almost all French trade deficit with China according to Reuters’ report “France, China sign 15 commercial deals, including with Airbus, EDF” on March 26
That is a heavy blow to the US. See France has got what it wants for trade balance without even the threat of any trade war attack. How stupid and unpopular the US is to conduct a trade war for trade balance that hurts not only China and the US itself but also EU and others.
Xi’s sincerity in dealing with EU’s complaints convinced French President Macron so much that The Guadian says in its report “Macron meets Xi Jinping to strengthen EU-China relationship” on March 26 that Macron “took the unprecedented step of inviting the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, to Paris for the talks.”
The summit of the four leaders bodes well for the full China-EU summit scheduled in Brussels on April 9.
Xi’s successful diplomacy ensures his victory in the trade war whether he and Trump will be able to conclude an agreement to end the trade war or not. If no agreement, Chinese market will be closed to the US but wide open to EU and Japan. With EU and Japan on China’s side, the US will be isolated in the world. It is hopeless for the US to win its further trade wars with EU and Japan.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP, Reuters and The Guardian’s reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.msn.com/zh-hk/news/other/japan-rooting-for-donald-trump-in-china-trade-war-but-urges-us-not-to-monopolise-any-benefits/ar-BBUe9wU, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-china-contracts/france-china-sign-15-commercial-deals-including-with-airbus-edf-idUSKCN1R623Q and https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/26/emmanuel-macron-meets-chinese-leader-in-attempt-to-strengthen-ties