Time’s report “Gun On the Air Force’s F-35 Has ‘Unacceptable’ Accuracy, Pentagon Testing Office Says” yesterday says that Pentagon Testing Office found lots of flaws in F-35 in its latest assessment of F-35
The report says, “The number of software deficiencies totaled 873 as of November, according to the report obtained by Bloomberg News in advance of its release as soon as Friday. That’s down from 917 in September 2018, when the jet entered the intense combat testing required before full production, including 15 Category 1 items.”
“‘Although the program office is working to fix deficiencies, new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number’ and leaving ‘many significant’ ones to address, the assessment said.”
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Time’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://time.com/5774422/f-35-military-jet-assessment/.
In its report “PM Imran reviews CPEC progress, directs ministries to fast-track projects” on January 29, Pakistan’s geo.tv says that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told officials at a high-level review meeting to ascertain progress on different CPEC projects that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be completed on a fast-track basis.
The report says, “Lauding the time-tested friendship with China, the premier said China had always supported Pakistan during difficult times and the CPEC was a manifestation of the partnership between the two countries” and “‘Chinese experiences in the social sector, especially for the eradication of poverty and promotion of agriculture, must be fully explored,’ the prime minister said, according to the media wing of the PM Office.”
CPEC and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor are of vital strategic importance in China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as they will provide vital trade routes to China’s west. The BRI railway connections to China’s west through Central Asia and Russia lack volume and are slow and too expensive to accommodate China’s huge volume of trade with Europe, the Middle East and Africa. BRI’s 21st century maritime Silk Road through Pakistan and Myanmar will provide shortcut to bypass the Malacca Strait. The route through CPEC is especially secure due to Iran’s friendship with Russia and China and enmity against the US. Iran may protect China’s trade route there.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on geo.tv’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.geo.tv/latest/269622-pm-imran-reviews-progress-on-cpec-directs-ministries-to-fast-track-projects.
The solutions are available, but it will depend on Pakistan as a nation to set targets and benefit from the given opportunities
By Mahnoor Izhar On Jan 29, 2020
The second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been launched which will open new doors for Pakistan. Pakistan will be able to collaborate with 60 other countries partnered in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
‘National Agriculture and Food Security in Pakistan’ held a meeting at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), where experts said that CPEC would provide the roadmap for further strengthening ties with China and collaborating with 60 other BRI countries.
The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan attended an event held in collaboration with Pakistan Agriculture Scientists Forum (PAS Forum). He said that we have to focus on developing Pakistan’s agriculture sector, which offers enormous prospects of growth and trade by collaborating with partners at the right time.
Dr. Azeem Khan provided a clear picture of the agricultural industry and insisted that productivity through international trade and affiliation would secure Pakistan’s food security concerns. He also addressed the productivity of various potential sub-sectors of agriculture.
Dr. Azeem pointed out that Pakistan was a food exporting country till 2013 but now has become a food importing country. He said that CPEC’s second phase offers an excellent opportunity to help the agriculture sector to recover.
The solutions are available, but it will depend on Pakistan as a nation to set targets and benefit from the given opportunities.
Many experts at the event spoke on the issue at Pakistan Agriculture Scientists Forum which included University of Haripur Vice-Chancellor (VC) and Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST) ex-chairman Professor Dr. Anwar-ul-Hasan Gilani, Faisalabad University of Agriculture Professor Dr. Amanullah Malik, IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, and PAS Forum President Dr. Abdul Wakeel.
Experts also emphasized that combinations of different products being produced alongside the CPEC routes boast significant prospects.
There is considerable potential for the production and export of fodder, edible oils, and palm oil, whereas pulses and oilseeds are some other lucrative areas that can be invested in.
Source: blog.siasat.pk “Second phase of CPEC will allow Pakistan to collaborate with 60 other BRI countries”
Note: This is blog.siasat.pk’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Euronews.com’s article “Liberator or Persecutor? How Poland sees the role of the Soviet Union in World War Two” describes debates in Europe about Soviet Union’s role concerning Poland in World War II.
It was a fact that the non-aggression treaty between Hitler and Stalin facilitated Hitler’s launch of attack at Poland and thus started World War II.
It was also a fact that the Soviet Union invaded Poland two weeks after Hitler’s invasion.
It was a fact too that Soviet troops liberated Poland from German occupation.
The first two facts were Soviet evil deeds while the third was good.
Facts are facts. You cannot regard the first two as good due to the third fact nor regard the third as bad due to the first two.
No debates but remember a country may do both good and evil things for its national interests. What it does may turn out to be evil to itself in the long run. The Soviet Union concluded a non-aggression treaty to turn Hitler’s aggression to the west in order to avoid being attacked by Hitler, but it was stupid with the ignorance that encouraging an aggressor will finally turn itself into a victim of aggression.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on euronews. com’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/27/liberator-or-persecutor-how-poland-sees-the-role-of-the-soviet-union-in-world-war-two.
By Sebastien Roblin
December 22, 2018
What do you actually do with it?
In January 2018, the Navy will commission its second hi-tech Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer , the USS Michael Mansoor . The third and last, USS Lyndon B. Johnson was launched this December 2018 and will be commissioned in 2022.
Traditionally, warships are tailored to perform specific missions. But the cutting-edge Zumwalt has been a ship in search of a mission , especially since procurement of hyper-expensive ammunition for its primary weapon system was canceled. Years and billions of dollars later, the Navy may finally have found one.
In the post-Cold War 1990s, the U.S Navy lacked peer competitors on the high seas, so it conceived its next-generation surface combatants for engaging coastal targets. As the Navy phased out its last battleship, it decided its next destroyer should mount long-range guns that could to provide more cost-efficient naval gunfire support than launching million-dollar Tomahawk cruise missiles.
In the 2000s, development proceeded for a DDG-1000 destroyer integrating every next-generation technology then conceivable. The Navy promised Congress a larger destroyer requiring only 95 crew instead of 300 thanks to automation, with adequate space and power-generation capacity to deploy railguns and laser weapons. The new warships would be stealthier to avoid enemy attacks and pack rapid-firing 6-inch guns with a range of 115 miles for the sustained bombardment of land targets. Thirty-two DDG-1000s were to succeed the Arleigh Burke -class destroyer.
The lead ship USS Zumwalt took shape sporting a futuristic-looking tumblehome hull—wider below the waterline than above—helping reduce the 190-meter long vessel’s radar cross-section to that of a small fishing boat. The ship’s induction motors generated a whopping 58 megawatts of electricity while cruising, enough to power the entire 17,630-ton ship thanks to an Integrated Power System. The electrically-driven motors and chilled exhaust also reduce the destroyer’s infrared and acoustic signature. The vessel’s new Total Ship Computing Environment networked all the destroyer’s systems, making them accessible from any console throughout the vessel.
In addition to rapid-firing 6” guns, the Zumwalt had eighty Mark 57 missile vertical-launch cells dispersed across her bow and stern to minimize secondary explosions. These could target and launch Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, ASROC anti-submarine rockets, or quad-packs of Evolved Sea Sparrow medium-range air-defense missiles. The Zumwalt’s spacious landing pad and hangar could accommodate up to three MQ-8B helicopter drones or two MH-60R helicopters, which can carry Hellfire anti-tank missiles or torpedoes. The destroyers also boast a capable dual-bandwidth sonar for hunting submarines, but lack the torpedo armament found in Arleigh Burkes
The destroyer’s crew of one-hundred-and-fifty—plus a twenty-eight-person air detachment—exceeded by over 50 percent the originally promised number, but remained half that of an Arleigh-Burke destroyer. However, some analysts fear the super-trim crew complement leaves too little redundancy should the vessels sustain battle damage.
Indeed, by 2008, the Navy was no longer highly concerned with bombarding militarily weaker countries. Rather, it contemplated the challenge posed by China’s rapidly expanding surface and submarine fleets, and the proliferation of deadly anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles .
Worse, the Zumwalt’s Advanced Gun System didn’t even work that well, with two-thirds the forecast range (around 70 miles). Furthermore, its rocket-boosted LRLAP GPS-guided shells cost $800,000 dollars each—nearly as expensive as more precise, longer-range and harder-hitting cruise missiles. The Navy finally canceled the insanely expensive munitions, leaving the Zumwalt with two huge guns it can’t fire.
Downsizing and Downgrades:
Despite the well-known difficulties of developing next-generation military systems, the Zumwalt had been sold to Congress based on unrealistic minimum-cost estimates. Eventually, program costs exceeded the budget by 50 percent, triggering an automatic cancelation according to the Nunn—McCurdy Act.
Already by 2008, the Navy sought to ditch building more than two Zumwalts in favor of procuring Arleigh Burke Flight III destroyers with ballistic-missile defense capabilities. Maine Senator Susan Collins nonetheless wrangled a third destroyer to keep her state’s Bath Iron Works shipyard in business.
Each Zumwalt now costs $4.5 billion—in addition to the $10 billion spent on development. Like the troubled F-35 and Littoral Combat Ship, the Zumwalt’s spiraling costs were due to the Navy’s ambition to integrate completely new technologies still being concurrently developed. The final design was not even stabilized by the time construction began in 2009. The hybrid electrical system has proven especially challenging to integrate, leading the Zumwalt to break down while crossing the Panama Canal in November 2016.
Nearly decade after she was laid down, a 2018 Government Accountability Office report stated only five of the Zumwalt’s twelve key technologies was “mature.” Farcically, the ships were even officially “delivered” without combat systems. The lead ship, commissioned in 2012, won’t be ready for operational deployment until 2021.
The need to curb runaway costs led to crippling downgrades. Instead of fitting combining a powerful SPY-4 volume search radar with a SPY-3 hi-resolution targeting radar, the Navy ditched the former and rejigged the SPY-3 to handle volume-search as well. This saved $80 million per ship but significantly degraded air-search capabilities.
However, the Zumwalt currently only has Evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missiles with a range of thirty miles—adequate only for local coverage at best. Though the Zumwalt’s missile cells are compatible with longer-range Standard Missiles, those depend on the Aegis Combat System for guidance, which the Zumwalt lacks. And the Zumwalt’s last-ditch Close-In Weapon Systems were downgraded from 57-millimeter to much less capable 30-millimeter cannons.
Even the destroyer’s radar cross-section has been degraded to cut costs, with the adoption of cheaper steel for the deckhouse and the incorporation of non-flush sensor and communication masts.
Ship-Hunting Stealth Destroyers?:
What were merely three DDG-1000s good for, despite their nifty stealth features and propulsion? The advanced destroyers lacked ammunition for their guns, anti-ship missiles, anti-submarine torpedoes, and long-range area-air defense missiles. Furthermore, the Zumwalt had fewer cells to pack land-attack missiles than Arleigh-Burke destroyers (96), Ticonderoga-class cruisers (122), or Ohio-class cruise-missile submarines (144)—all of which were cheaper, and the last of which is stealthier.
Even the destroyer’s stealthy hull did not offer a clear advantage if it had to escort—or required an escort from—un-stealthy warships. And keeping a class of just three vessels operational meant very high overheads expenses in training and sustainment per individual ship. Thus, many analysts speculate the Zumwalt’s operational career could prove short-lived.
The Zumwalt needed a new mission—even if that meant tweaking its capabilities at an additional cost. Finally, in December 2017 the Navy announced the class would specialize in “surface strike”, i.e. hunting down other ships .
The destroyers will be modified to fire new Maritime Tomahawk Block IV subsonic anti-ship missiles and SM-6 active-radar-homing missile. The latter can provide longer-range air defense missile (up to 150 miles) and has a secondary ground or naval attack capability. Compared to the Tomahawk, the SM-6 has a much smaller 140-pound warhead, but its maximum speed of Mach 3.5 makes it much harder to intercept. Eventually, cheaper ammunition may be developed for the presently-useless guns, or they may be swapped out for additional missile launch cells or even future railguns or directed-energy weapons.
This surface warfare role may best leverage the Zumwalt’s stealth capabilities, allowing it to range ahead of the fleet and penetrate “ anti-access” zones threatened by long-range anti-ship missiles. It could creep closer to enemy warships before launching its own missiles, giving adversaries little time to react.
The Navy is also working on networking sensors between its submarines, surface warships, helicopters, patrol planes and attack jets through “Cooperative Engagement” technology. Thus one strategy could see distant “spotter” generating targeting data using active radar, then transmitting it to a sensor-ghosting Zumwalt to perform the strike.
The cost of the current upgrades is reportedly $90 million—a sum which may prove worthwhile if it helps recoup some value after the $22 billion sunk into the ambitious but failed ship concept.
Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring .
Source: RealClear Defense “The Navy’s Stealthy Zumwalt-Class Destoryer Has 1 Big Problem”
Note: This is RealClear Defense’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
The diplomatic spat between Washington and London continues to spiral us into unknown territory this weekend, with the news that even President Trump’s personal plea to Prime Minister Johnson on Friday evening has not pulled the U.K. back from the brink of its decision to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei into its 5G network.
The Sunday Times reported on January 26 that “Trump’s anger” would cast a cloud over the U.K.’s Brexit week, and that the president had told Johnson “that giving a green light to the [Huawei] deal would be a grave threat to national security.” There was even a suggestion from the U.S. that the two countries might forge an alternative to Huawei. The U.K., though, takes the view that to do so would take too long.
With a U.K. Huawei decision expected on Tuesday, January 28, the intensity around U.S. and U.K discussions is only matched by the fierce debate raging within the U.K. government itself. Johnson’s more hawkish cabinet members are said to be furious at the prospect of being “bounced” into a pro-Huawei decision. According to the Sunday Times, one source sourly suggested that “Huawei is next week’s Chinese virus.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make a last ditch attempt to sway minds in the U.K. this week, but sources close to events believe this is a now a done deal. There is even talk of a choreographed announcement on Tuesday involving Huawei itself. One would imagine that such a spectacle would be highly incendiary to the U.S.
Writing in the Sunday Times, British MP Bob Seely, a candidate to head the foreign affairs select committee, warned that the country may “regret our refusal to say ‘no way, Huawei’,” adding that he fears that “by the time we see the real cost, in the decades to come, it may be too late.”
On Friday, it was reported that Trump’s immediate riposte to Huawei, to significantly tighten sanctions against the company to damage its supply chain further has been thwarted by the Department of Defense, the argument being that such a move would damage U.S. industry and innovation. This led to an angry challenge from leading senators who suggested to the Pentagon that U.S. companies contracting with Huawei was akin to the same being down with KGB subsidiaries during the Cold War.
Now another letter has now been crafted from U.S. senators, this one directed at the U.K.’s National Security Council. The letter says that the Huawei decision is linked to the special relationship between the two countries. While specifically pulling back from trade agreement or intelligence-sharing threats, Senators Rubio, Cotton and Cornyn urge the U.K. to “make the right decision on Huawei,” which they stress would be “in the best interests” of that relationship.
It remains unclear what will actually happen on Tuesday if the U.K. does not take a last minute U-turn on Huawei. Spooks on both sides of the Atlantic are divided as to the actual risks and the practical application of any change to security alliances. What will be more of an immediate issue is other countries around the world, all of which are less capable than the U.K. of mitigating any Huawei risks, using the U.K. decision as an excuse to defy U.S. warnings. If it’s good enough for Washington’s closest ally, they will argue, it’s good enough for us.
Johnson remains in a bind on the issue. It is tricky for the U.K. to completely backtrack on Huawei without incurring significant cost and delays to the critical 5G rollout. At the same time, if he is seen to kowtow to Washington against the advice of his officials, it will play badly domestically—there is no popular uprising in the U.K. against Huawei. And so, it is likely that Johnson is taking a Brexit-like “let’s just get it done,” after which reparations can be made and political concessions offered.
And so all eyes are on what happens post-Tuesday, when absent any last minute shock, the U.K. will confirm the inevitable. Months of lobbying and wrangling will come to an end—at which point the real work begins as everything changes. Much of this work will be political, and the U.S. will need to be seen to act in some capacity to back up the risks they have raised and the mitigating actions they have threatened.
Whether there is any security or trade deal hangover from these events will be the subject of intense speculation in the coming weeks. While it is unlikely to scupper a trade deal, one can assume some impact. For the U.S., such as been the intensity of its lobbying that it cannot simply roll over on the issue—that would undermine its case. But any action could well be limited to the optics around security arrangements and need not interfere in anything commercial.
For the U.K., with the security issue settled other issues will come to the fore. Chief amongst these will be Huawei’s work in Xinjiang, where its technology forms part of the surveillance programs subjugating the Uighur minority. If the U.K. decision turns up the political heat on Huawei to face up to Beijing and back away from all such involvement, then at least something good will have come from this protracted process.
Source: Forbes “Angry Trump Now Helpless To Stop Huawei’s Stunning Victory: This Week Everything Changes”
Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views
In quite a few years before the announcement of Xi Jinping Though on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China had advocated at home a wholesale rejection of the so-called “universal values” especially “Western universal human rights’ advocated by the West and regarded it as merely a weapon used by the West to undermine China’s socialist system. Chinese authorities have told universities and colleges not to advocate such values and human rights and scholars may find themselves in trouble if they have argued otherwise, but China has not promoted such views in the world.
With Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China is self-confident in its path, system, theory and culture after CCP 19th Congress. In order to better defend China against the spread of Western human rights, China held a South-South Human Rights Forum in Beijing in December, 2017 to advocate China’s own human rights system that stresses the rights to development, health, nutrition,housing, etc.
The Forum was successful in attracting 300 participants from over 50 countries and representatives from the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union, the World Bank and the World Health Organization.
The declaration of the forum regards the right to subsistence and the right to development as the primary basic human rights, It says, “The main body of the right to development is the people.” “Developing countries should pay special attention to safeguarding the people’s right to subsistence and right to development, especially to achieve a decent standard of living, adequate food, clothing, and clean drinking water, the right to housing, the right to security, work, education, and the right to health and social security.”
Through the forum, China says no to Western human rights system and advocates its own human rights system that proves popular among developing countries.
The forum has redefined the concept of human rights. Moreover, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the opening session of the Forum that the building of a community of shared future for mankind advocated by China “presented opportunities for the development of the human rights cause”.
The West, especially the US has been used to regard itself as the banner holder of human rights and always use human rights as excuse for regime change and intervention of other countries’ internal affairs. Now, China, instead the US is the banner holder as China shows its sincere desire for win-win cooperation to build such a community.
The forum is so popular among developing countries that they want such forum to become a regular event. As a result, China held a South-South Human Rights Forum again in December 2019 and attracted representatives from more than 80 countries.
China’s designation of the forum as a South-South one reminds us of the Cold War when developing nations cooperated among themselves independent from both the US and Soviet blocs.
However, Situation is quite different now as China has the support of its de facto ally Russia and lots of developing countries while the US the leader of the Western camp of the old Cold War is now isolated and has no camp behind it.
The forums show that China has been moving closer to the center stage of the world due to its popularity among emerging economies and developing countries.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
The country has taken on similar rush jobs before.
By Jennifer Leman
Jan 24, 2020
Authorities in Wuhan, China have begun construction on a new temporary hospital in the region, designed to isolate and treat patients of the coronavirus.
City officials plan to complete construction in just six days.
This isn’t the first time China has pulled off such an enormous feat; During the SARS outbreak in 2003, Beijing built a similar medical facility in just under seven days.
Wuhan, China is the epicenter of a new type of coronavirus that has infected more than 830 people and killed as many as 26 throughout China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the United States. To tackle the crisis, the city began construction on a 1,000-bed temporary hospital in Wuhan’s Caidian district Thursday evening. Officials have said they plan to finish the project in just six days.
That’s right: six days.
Hundreds of workers are already at the bustling six-acre construction site, operating diggers and other heavy equipment. According to the Changjiang Daily, more than 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers were dispatched to the scene Thursday evening—many from China Construction Third Engineering Bureau. Locals in the region told the South China Morning Post the city is paying workers as much as 1,200 yuan (about $173) per day in an attempt to quicken the pace.
If you’re wondering just how this is possible, Chinese officials have taken on such projects before, like when they built a similar temporary facility in Beijing during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Officials completed that hospital, which also held 1,000 beds, in just a week, by a workforce of over 7,000. Over the course of two months, the hospital staff treated nearly 15 percent of SARS patients there, according to the Post.
Sources told the Post that blueprints would be released by the Wuhan CITIC Design Institute today, and that the site would be “delivered for inspection” within six days. The prefabricated building will reportedly be one to two stories tall and will be composed of 20 “blocks,” which will house a yet-to-be-determined number of patients. Workers would even celebrate a Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner at the construction site.
To combat the spread of the respiratory illness, China has decided to impose a travel limit on 35 million people in the region. No one from Wuhan or the 12 nearby cities will be allowed to travel in the coming days, even as the country celebrates the Lunar New Year, its busiest travel holiday.
Social media posts revealed a chaotic scenes at Wuhan’s medical facilities, with several patients being turned away due to a lack of personnel and resources. Several of the region’s hospitals have actually put out calls for the public to donate supplies including face masks, goggles, and medical gowns, The Guardian reported.
Source: Popular Mechanics “China Is Building a Hospital for Coronavirus Patients in Just Six Days. How?”
Note: This is Popular Mechanics’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
By Sean –
Jan 22, 2020
Following Huawei being caught in the crossfires of the US-China trade disputes, drones have now become another area that is facing scrutiny by the US Government. Allegedly, Drones that are manufactured or belong to Chinese brands could potentially be used to spy in the US, according to Government officials.
Drones have been increasing in popularity in the US and it is not just limited to cinematography or plain entertainment. They can be highly useful in real world scenarios as well. The best example being the volcano eruption in Hawaii back in May 2018, where a drone was used by US scientists to save a man from the lava by asking him to follow the drone to make it out of a jungle.
Examples such as these are indicative of the wide range of application and usefulness unmanned drones bring to the table. However, what about “espionage?” is the question the US Government is asking. With the increasing rivalry between the US and the east, namely China, the western nation is scrutinizing every avenue that the Chinese have a foothold in. One of these is the commercially available drones that are widely sold in the US.
DJI or Da Jiang Innovations Science and Technology Company is one of the market leaders in videography equipment and unmanned drones. Its offerings are used both for entertainment and to access areas for scientific research as well. But the company isn’t alone as even more Chinese drone manufacturers are seeking to enter the US market in the near future. These drones are also seeing an increase in adoption in various Government departments and have become a cause for worry for David Bernhardt, the Head of a Federal agency.
According to Bernhardt, these drones are currently under evaluation and review, which is an effort being made to deem their safety for being used in the nation. Furthermore, during this process, all drones made in China are grounded, as reported by the BBC network. Notably, crucial areas like drones used in fire fighting and to help rescue people are still allowed to fly.
Chinese analysts see US policies that hamper the operations of companies from China as a form of protectionism. In other words, the US is actively against foreign MNCs gaining a large market share within its nation. However, despite all of these allegations and friction, the US and Chinese leaders are well on their way to sign a trade deal to recuperate the ailing relations between the two.
Source: GISMOCHINA “US Officials ground Drones fearing Chinese Espionage”
Note: This is GISMOCHINA’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
Anwar Iqbal January 24, 2020
In an interview with CNBC, Prime Minister Imran Khan explained that his government was now creating special economic zones to attract investment. — Screengrab courtesy CNBC
WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected the criticism of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as ‘nonsense,” insisting that the project “is really helping” the country.
In an interview to a US news channel CNBC, shown on Wednesday night, Mr Khan also urged US President Donald Trump and the United Nations to mediate between Pakistan and India over Kashmir.
“When the Chinese came to help us with this Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC, we were really at the rock bottom,” said the prime minister when the interviewer, Hadley Gamble, asked if the project was a debt-trap for Pakistan.
“So, we are really grateful to the Chinese that they came and rescued us,” he added.
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“They came and pumped in, not just they gave us loans – and the loans, by the way are barely five or six percent of the total portfolio,” said Mr Khan, rejecting the suggestion that the CPEC was a debt-trap. “This is nonsense.”
Terms Kashmir far more serious a problem than people realise
The Chinese, he said, actually helped Pakistan with investment and because of them the country now “has an opportunity to attract foreign investment”.
The prime minister explained that his government was now creating special economic zones to attract investment. “We just opened two and we are opening more where we are giving special concessions to industries,” he said.
Mr Khan said the CPEC was “beyond BRI as China was also helping Pakistan in technology transfer. They are especially helping us in agriculture because Chinese technology (can boost) development (in this sector) much better than Pakistan’s as “our productivity is very low”.
The CPEC, he said, was also teaching Pakistanis the skills they needed to benefit from the CPEC projects. “They are building skill centers in Pakistan. So, they are helping us and we are grateful,” the prime minister said.
Earlier this week, senior US diplomat Alice Wells once again urged Pakistan to rethink its wholeheartedly embrace of China’s economic initiative. Speaking at a think-tank in Islamabad, she alleged that there was no transparency in the CPEC projects, and warned that the country’s debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing.
Both Chinese and Pakistani officials have rejected the US criticism as misleading but the prime minister’s remarks further cemented the impression that Islamabad remains committed to the CPEC.
The prime minister spoke with CNBC in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the annual summit conference of the World Economic Forum.
When the interviewer asked how useful could the US president be in settling the Kashmir dispute, Mr Khan said: “I can’t say what would be the outcome but for me it is important to try my best because Kashmir is a far more serious problem than people realise.”
“This is serious because there are two nuclear-armed countries,” the prime minister said. “That’s why I want President Trump, head of the most powerful country in the world — he should intervene right now. United Nations, or President Trump through the UN at least.”
Mr Khan explained that the possibility of an India-Pakistan conflict had increased because “India has been taken over by an extremist ideology, which is called Hindutva or the RSS.”
The prime minister said that the founding fathers of RSS were “inspired by the Nazis” and the Nazi concept of “racial purity” and “believed in ethnic cleansing, of Muslims.”
Mr Khan said that the ideology which was responsible for the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the group that was declared a terrorist organisation three times by previous Indian governments had now taken over India.
Responding to another question, he said the people of Kashmir, through a referendum could decide whichever country they wanted to join.
“Now, that disputed territory has been annexed by India, and, they are trying to change the demography of (the) people of Kashmir, which according to the fourth Geneva Convention is a war crime,” he added.
The prime minister also expressed concern about ongoing protests in India over a controversial citizenship bill passed last December that many say is set to disproportionately affect Muslims.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020
Source: DAWN “Imran rejects CPEC’s criticism as ‘nonsense’
Note: This is DAWN’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.