By Mario J. Mallari –
April 29, 2019 12:05 AM
The short three-day swing of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing was hailed as one of his most successful foreign visits after clinching a commitment for peace from President Xi Jinping and $12 billion pledge of new investments.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. described the visit as a “raging success.”
“Actually the Belt and Road Forum (visit) is a raging success,” declared Locsin in a social media post.
Locsin was among the Cabinet members who joined President Duterte during the four-day visit to China.
Apart from attending the Second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation, Mr. Duterte had bilateral meetings with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo noted Duterte’s trip paved the way for the signing of 19 business agreements on investments such as in energy, infrastructure including tourism-related facilities and for the speeding up of internet connectivity, improving agriculture productivity and providing Filipinos with skills training.
“As Mr. Duterte noted, the People’s Republic of China is the largest trading partner and a major source of foreign investments of the Philippines,” Panelo said.
Panelo disclosed the President also met with top Chinese leaders where he affirmed the country’s commitment to friendship and understanding with China.
Area of restraint
“He expressed the country’s readiness to pursue more high-quality and good-impact projects,” Panelo said.
Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping yielded a 1 billion renminbi (over P7 billion) grant to the Philippines,” he added.
Duterte reiterated to Xi his resolve to endeavor to make the West Philippine Sea (WPS) a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.
“He expounded the need for both countries to exercise restraint and caution to avoid actions that could complicate situations,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo pointed out that President Duterte also advocated the protection and welfare of migrant workers during the High-Level Meeting Session 1 of the forum.
Duterte pitched for the development assistance based on reciprocal benefits, Panelo added.
In his last day in China, Panelo said. Duterte attended the Leaders’ Roundtable Sessions in the Yanqi Lake International Conference Center where he emphasized the value of the nations, especially in Asia, working together with a shared goal of inclusive and sustainable growth and prosperity.
“He welcomed economic investments that will help our country improve its economic productivity in the area of agriculture as well as in our country’s massive infrastructure development program while ensuring that it will be clean and green,” Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, assured Filipinos that Duterte is chartering an “independent foreign policy to a new height of diplomatic relations with other nations.”
He said this independent policy will be solely based on national security and interest, national development and the aspiration to attain economic progress and a comfortable life.
During the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Xi, the Philippines also bagged a 1-billion renminbi grant from China.
The investment agreements were worth $12.165 billion and could generate 21,000 fresh jobs for Filipinos.
Duterte vowed to prospective foreign investors an enabling environment in the Philippines to help their businesses and investments prosper, highlighting his administration’s anti-corruption campaign.”
Locsin said the Philippines and China also agreed to ensure that the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are free from corruption.
“Another agreement is a clean Belt and Road Initiative between China and Philippines anti-corruption bodies to prevent and punish corruption in BRI projects,” Locsin said in a separate post.
Peaceful negotiations remain the sole option for the country in addressing the WPS issue with China, according to former Senate President and Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino senatorial bet Juan Ponce-Enrile.
Enrile cited Republic Act (RA) 9522 or the Philippines Archipelagic Baselines Law as basis in pursuing the country’s claims over the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal in the WPS.
“The KIG or the regime of islands there are under our baseline law. We should negotiate that with China,” Enrile told the Daily Tribune.
“The only capability we have is through negotiations, we must use patience in negotiating with China,” he added.
Enrile, one of the authors of RA 9522, said the Philippine baselines law was provided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.
Commitment to laws
“The baseline law not only enabled us to defend, protect and preserve our own national territory but also to signify the Philippines’ strong commitment to adhere to the tenets of the international law of the seas,” Enrile said.
The former Senate President reiterated that close cooperation and enhanced bilateral relations with China is the right path.
Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the Philippines will focus on the positive sides of the relationship with China rather than the differences, like the dispute in the WPS.
He, however, stressed the Duterte administration is not remiss in its constitutional duty of protecting the country’s sovereignty and territory.
Source: Tribune “Beijing tour ‘raging success’”
Note: This is Tribune’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Business Insider says in its report “China’s South China Sea strategy takes a hit as the US Navy threatens to get tough on Beijing’s sea forces”, “The US Navy’s top admiral has warned China that the US could treat China’s coast guard and maritime militia the same as the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Financial Times reported.”
US military is notorious for its attack on civilians in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but always claims that it attacks civilians by mistake or its enemy is hidden in civilian area.
Now, it threatens to attack China’s maritime militia with its true intent to kill Chinese civilians. When the US invades Chinese islands and territorial marine areas, Chinese civilians have the right to drive US military away. The US is well aware of Chinese people’s patriotism so that when it wants to kill Chinese civilians it will invade Chinese territorial sea to cause Chinese civilians’ resistance and thus find excuse to attack Chinese civilians.
Chinese navy is strong, especially in the South China Sea as it has air support from the three air strips on China’s artificial islands. As without ground support, US navy will lose to Chinese navy, at present the US dare not attack Chinese fishing boats when they voluntarily protect China’s rights and interests there.
The report regards Chinese people and military’s protection of their country’s rights and interests in the South China Sea as aggression on the ground of the arbitration ruling of a court of arbitration the US regards it as a UN agency, but the UN has declared that the court of arbitration is not a UN agency. As a result, few countries in the world support the court’s decision.
The US has declared that it does not take side in China’s territorial disputes with other claimants, but now the US media describes in its report China’s protection of its rights and interests as aggression.
It spreads the lie that China has been scared by US military’s warning. That is utterly untrue. Recently, Chinese fishing boats surrounded the disputed Zhongye Island occupied by the Philippines. Just as US military did at the Scarborough standoff between China and the Philippines, US refrained to help the Philippines.
In fact as far back as after the arbitration decision was made, China challenged US navy to war when the US sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to force China to accept the arbitration decision. US Navy, however, refused to fight as the US has no interests in the South China Sea and it certainly will not fight for Philippines’ interests.
No one is scared by US military as it has showed its weakness in failing to attain US strategic goals in its decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Business Insider’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://amp.businessinsider.com/us-navy-tough-on-china-paramilitary-fishing-fleet-gray-zone-tactics-2019-4.
The popularity of China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) scares the US and its anti-China media. CNBC cites Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech and the communiqué of the second Belt and Road Forum signed by nearly 40 countries’ leaders out of context to prove its distorted description of China’s ambition to extend the scope of its BRI win-win cooperation to customs, taxation, audit oversight, technological development, connectivity among financial markets, development of digital infrastructure, etc.
What Xi said in his speech at the Forum is his desire to extend the scope of win-win cooperation jointly with other participating countries. The communiqué of the forum proves that those countries have a common desire for the extension. Almost all countries in the world want economic growth and prosperity. BRI helps them attain that goal. That is why it is so popular.
The report quotes Rafferty as saying “(Xi) wants to establish China as a global power.” Rafferty is indeed ignorant and stupid. China has already become an established global power. Its GDP in terms of purchasing power parity has already surpassed the US. The popularity of its BRI has already proves that its financial power and popularity exceed America’s.
BRI aims at achieving common prosperity for China and other participating countries. Such common prosperity will certainly result in rise of China’s geopolitical influence. Moreover, the common economic growth of participating countries will in comparison reduce the geopolitical influence of a declining US, resulting in elimination of US world hegemony that has already been in great trouble.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CNBC’s report, full text of which is reblogged below:
China expands global ambitions with a new phase of Xi’s signature program
Evelyn Cheng | @chengevelyn
April 29, 2019
•A forum on China’s Belt and Road Initiative that wrapped up this weekend in Beijing made it clear the program now seeks to influence technology and international governance.
•”There will be a shift away from … hard infrastructure projects,” Tom Rafferty, principal economist for China at The Economist Intelligence Unit, says. “(The Belt and Road is) going to have a broader range.”
•Chinese President Xi Jinping says in a speech that, through the Belt and Road Initiative, China would “strengthen cooperation in customs, taxation and audit oversight” and pursue cooperation on technological development.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative is now about far more than just infrastructure.
The program began roughly six years ago with a focus on building out rail and maritime trade routes connecting China with central Asia, Europe and Africa. While critics have charged that the initiative is simply a branding exercise for Beijing to spread its global influence through lending — and the associated debt — for projects like ports and bridges, Xi has now made it clear he’s aiming even further.
That is, the second Belt and Road Forum that wrapped up this weekend in Beijing demonstrated that the China-led program now seeks to influence technology and governance around the world.
“There will be a shift away from … hard infrastructure projects,” Tom Rafferty, principal economist for China at The Economist Intelligence Unit, said Friday. “(The Belt and Road is) going to have a broader range.”
In fact, Rafferty said, the Chinese leader demonstrated that he sees the program “as a China global governance initiative.”
Xi’s speech at the forum’s opening ceremony on Friday proclaimed that, through the Belt and Road, China would “strengthen cooperation in customs, taxation and audit oversight” and pursue cooperation on technological development.
The joint communique released at the conclusion of the forum also said Belt and Road participants “aim to enhance connectivity among financial markets” and encourage the development of digital infrastructure.
Although it’s always been difficult to pin down the exact nature of the Belt and Road Initiative, the latest pronouncements indicate how Beijing is, as many had expected, using the program as a way to expand its global influence.
“I think it is fair to say that the introductory phase of Belt and Road is over,” Jacob Shapiro, director of analysis at online publication Geopolitical Futures, said in an email.
“A number of countries have signed on, money has been distributed, some projects have been completed and many other projects either failed or didn’t get off the ground,” he said. “I now expect China to be more strategic about where and what projects it takes on, with the goal being that long elusive goal of previous would-be Eurasian powers: to connect the Eurasian landmass.”
China already has a close relationship with major countries in central Asia, and is making steady inroads into Europe. In March, Italy became the first G-7 nation to officially endorse the Belt and Road Initiative by signing a memorandum of understanding. Luxembourg signed its own agreement with Beijing a few days later.
Switzerland has also formalized its support. Swiss Confederation President Ueli Maurer was one of nearly 40 national leaders named in a joint communique for the forum this past weekend.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras were also among the attendees. The U.S. did not send a high-level representative.
The net result appears that, since the first Belt and Road forum in 2017, Beijing has gained more international support for the program — despite criticism from the likes of Washington.
“(Xi) wants to establish China as a global power,” Rafferty said. “Probably China feels it’s going in an OK direction (in finding support for Belt and Road). The general movement still seems to be there.”
China’s Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (BRI) does not aim at gaining geopolitical influence but will result in tremendous rise of China’s geopolitical influence in BRI-related areas.
To that consequence, the US has made and is making great contributions.
The US knows well that BRI win-win cooperation may bring prosperity to and thus enhance China’s geopolitical influence in participating countries. It is afraid that such consequence may cause China to take over world leadership from the US. In order to hinder BRI, the US and pro-US media have made great efforts to spread the lies that China exploits BRI to attract participating countries into China’s debt traps so as to control and dominate them.
China certainly may not benefit from such debt traps. China provides cheap finance to help participating countries grow prosperous so that it may utilize their labor and natural resources and expand its market there. If those countries have grown prosperous to enable China to obtain resources and expanded market, China will still gain lots of indirect returns from the debts even if those countries fail to fully repay relevant Chinese loans.
However, if China’s loans have caused borrower countries to be insolvent, China will not only lose the money it has lent but also get no indirect returns from access to natural resources and expanded market. Moreover, failures of BRI projects may make participating countries suffer so that the people there will hate China. That is what China must strive to avoid.
Chinese leaders are wise. They do not become hostile to the US, but remain active in resolving trade disputes friendly through negotiations with the US. US lies make Chinese leaders more careful in providing loans to avoid making borrowers insolvent. Moreover, they became more prudent in assessing the results of the projects built with the loans provided by China.
For example, Malaysian new prime minister Mahathir suspended the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project funded by China due to his worry that Malaysia would not be able to repay the loan.
At that time, China’s negotiations with Myanmar had been successful to enable China to build a deep-water port at Pyaukyu, Myanmar. To utilize that port, Myanmar had to build a railway linking the port with China; therefore, China was sure that it could bypass the Malacca Strait through Myanmar, As a result, the route through Laos, Thailand and ECRL to bypass the strait was not so indispensable to China. However, the railway will enable Indochinese countries to bypass the strait and thus greatly benefit Malaysia.
Still, Chinese leaders were considerate as win-win cooperation with Malaysia, though not so indispensable, would after all improve China’s connection to Southeast Asia and thus benefit China. They allowed Malaysia to renegotiate the project resulting in substantial reduction of the cost of the project by alteration of the route of the rail link.
China has thus convinced Mahathir that BRI indeed aims to pursue mutual benefits instead of geopolitical dominance. I had a post today titled “Belt and Road Initiative not China’s plan to dominate: Dr Mahathir (Updated)” on that, which is a reblog of The Sun Daily’ report “Belt and Road Initiative not China’s plan to dominate: Dr Mahathir (Updated)”
The report says that previously PM Mahathir thought that BRI was China’ attempt to dominate Southeast Asia, but now he sees that BRI is a cooperative efforts to develop participating countries through development of infrastructures with Chinese financial assistance.
US media Bloomberg also sees that in the Second Belt and Road Forum. It says in its report “Xi Jinping’s Second Belt and Road Forum: Three Key Takeaways”, “The president (Chinese President Xi Jinping) stuck to discussing steps China is taking to clean up the project, and vowed ‘zero tolerance’ on corruption.”
The report says that the joint statement of the forum “repeatedly called for ‘high-quality’ projects and standards.”
No wonder with such improvement BRI has become even more successful. At the first forum, China promised additional investment of 100 billion yuan ($14.8 billion) without any deals being signed for that amount of investment. At the second forum however, $64 billion worth of deals were signed. The US has indeed made great contributions to China’s success in BRI with its lies on debt trap, geopolitical dominance, etc.
BRI’s success will certainly raise China’s geopolitical influence. What shall the US do? Bloomberg says at the second forum “developed countries including Austria, Switzerland and Singapore signed up for so-called third-party market cooperation. Japan, France, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Australia have already signed the document, agreeing to help build infrastructure in developing countries.” Those countries’ geopolitical influence will also be enhanced along with China’s. Will the US join them?
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Sun Daily and Bloomberg’s reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.thesundaily.my/local/belt-and-road-initiative-not-china-s-plan-to-dominate-dr-mahathir-updated-CA828400 and https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-28/xi-jinping-s-wins-and-losses-at-his-second-belt-and-road-forum.
April 28, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – China on Sunday warned Britain not to discriminate against companies involved in developing the 5G network and to resist pressure from other countries over whether it should work with Huawei Technologies.
Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, is under intense scrutiny after the United States told allies not to use the company’s technology because of fears it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying. Huawei has denied this.
Sources told Reuters on Wednesday Britain’s National Security Council (NSC) had decided to bar Huawei from all core parts of the country’s 5G network and restrict its access to non-core parts.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, China’s ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming defended Huawei as having a good track record on security and said Britain should “make decisions independently and in accordance with their national interests”.
“The last thing the world needs is the introduction of any sort of discriminatory measures toward companies involved in 5G network development. The last thing China expects from a truly open and fair ‘global Britain’ is a playing field that is not level,” he wrote.
Liu said security concerns about the development of 5G networks were understandable but could be managed.
“The risks should be taken seriously but risks must not be allowed to incite fear. They can be managed, provided countries and companies work together,” he said.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Dale Hudson
Source: Reuters “China urges UK not to discriminate against Huawei in 5G development”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
28 Apr 2019
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks with members of the Malaysian media at a press conference after attending the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Beijing on April 28, 2019. — Bernama
BEIJING: The “One Belt, One Road” (Obor) initiative by China is a joint development plan with participating countries and not a strategy to dominate, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said he now has a clearer perspective of the development plan and supported it as it would benefit the country.
“We feel that the Obor initiative is not a domination plan by China, which would end up being controlled by China.
“Instead, it is a policy developed by all the countries and not only focused on China,” he said.
He said this to reporters at a Malaysian media conference at the end of his five-day visit to China to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), which ended yesterday.
The international forum was attended by 37 world leaders and 5,000 representatives from 150 countries.
The Prime Minister also said that he had initially thought that the Obor was China’s attempt to dominate Southeast Asia as the trade passage for the project includes the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca.
However, during the forum, Dr Mahathir said he saw that the initiative was a cooperative effort to develop participating countries via infrastructure development and funding from banks.
“Previously, there were other development plans by developed countries to create a world without borders and free trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They (the developed countries) made the proposals and asked us to accept them.
“This is not like that, the forum attendees are from small countries and they are sitting with China which has a 1.4 billion population. They sit together, at the same level, and talk about how to develop infrastructure projects,” he said.
He said the forum was attended by senior leaders from all around the world, including Spain, Italy and Britain, which had sent the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.
The Prime Minister said the views of the other countries were taken into account in the infrastructure initiative and this was evident in the joint communique issued after the leaders’ roundtable meeting in Yangi Lake yesterday.
“I believe that this was a very successful trip,” he said.
During his visit, Dr Mahathir also met with China’s President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
Asked whether Malaysia would be receiving more investments related to the Obor after the forum, he said he hoped that it would happen but said that the country should make it easier for investments to come in from China and other countries.
Meanwhile, Chinese investors have expressed their wish for a one-stop centre (OSC) to be set up to make it easier for investment-related matters, which the Prime Minister has requested to be expedited.
This is because investment-related transactions may be rather complex, involving trips to 20 different places just for approvals, he said, adding that the officer to be in charge of the OSC should also be given the authority to make decisions.
“I am confident that if we do this (set up the OSC), the investments will be pouring in,” he said.
Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah return to Malaysia today. — Bernama
Source: The Sun Daily “Belt and Road Initiative not China’s plan to dominate: Dr Mahathir (Updated)”
Note: This is The Sun Daily’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
April 28, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – Criticisms of China’s intellectual property (IP) protection “lack evidence” and IP infringement is a worldwide problem, the head of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration said on Sunday.
Critics also ignored the significant progress China has made on IP protection, Shen Changyu told a press conference in response to a question on concerns raised by countries like the United States.
“Some countries’ criticisms of China’s IP protection lack evidence and are non-specific,” Shen said.
IP protection has been a topic of “deep concern” in ongoing Sino-U.S. trade negotiations and China would take further measures to comprehensively strengthen its IP protections this year, he said.
The measures will include amending China’s IP laws to increase the cost for infringements, boosting the efficiency of IP approvals, and providing lower-cost and more convenient IP protection channels, Shen said.
Washington and Beijing last year slapped import duties on each other’s products as the United States seeks reforms to Chinese practices that it says result in the theft of U.S. intellectual property and the forced transfer of technology from U.S. companies to Chinese firms.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for trade talks beginning on April 30 to discuss issues including intellectual property and forced technology transfer.
In April the Trump administration labeled 36 countries as inadequately protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, keeping China on a priority watch list, a move that Beijing said lacks objective standards and fairness.
“China has some problems and we are stepping up efforts to fix them. But meanwhile, IP infringement is a global problem that exists in every country,” Shen told reporters.
“Every country should try to improve their business environment and fix their problems, instead of window dressing themselves,” he added.
Reporting By Shen Yan and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; writing By Shu Zhang in SINGAPORE; editing by Richard Pullin
Source: Reuters “China says criticisms on IP protection lack evidence amid trade spat”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.