Can China Win over India while Helping Pakistan Grow Stronger?


Journalist take pictures outside the venue of a summit at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Compared with narrow-minded India, China seems too broad minded. Just as described in Reuters’ report “India’s ‘new Silk Road’ snub highlights gulf with China” on May 20, China has failed to attract Indian leader to attend its OBOR summit.

India will certainly be much benefited if it joins China’s Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road or OBOR) plan by attracting Chinese investment and the establishment of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

China certainly will also be benefited by the connection to South Asia; therefore, it has tried hard to attract India into its OBOR. However, it depends on India’s willingness to put aside its disputes and conflicts with China and Pakistan and turn a new page in its relations with its two large neighbors.

India Prime Minister Norandra Modi attached great importance to India’s relations with China when he was just elected, but under the influence of popular enmity against China and fear of China’s rise, Modi has obviously changed his mind. He now seems to have regarded China as his enemy. It is certainly a stupid strategy to maintain instead of removing hostility with India’s large and strong neighbors China and Pakistan but narrow-minded India is too strategy illiterate to see the necessity in conducting friendly diplomacy with its neighbors. That is why Reuters mentions in its report some Indian experts’ view on India’s risk in being isolated, but Modi does not seem to realize that.

For China, however, winning over India serves its best interests. It has made great efforts to resolve its border disputes with India. Now, Reuters says in its report that China has tried hard in vain to have Modi and Indian high officials attend its OBOR summit.

However, supporting Pakistan has long been China’s strategy to reduce border threat from India. China loses nothing if it cannot win over India. On the contrary, India’s opposition will push Pakistan closer to China and facilitate the success of China-Pakistan win win cooperation to make both countries richer and stronger.

Perhaps, India is confident that it will grow stronger than China in the long run, but can it attain that goal in isolation?

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-india-idUSKCN18H01L.


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China’s Vital Success in Its OBOR


Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

In its report “Pakistan signs nearly $500 million in China deals at Silk Road summit” yesterday, Reuters quotes Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif as saying to Chinese President, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a core component of your visionary initiative of the ‘One Belt-One Road'”.

In my post “The Conundrum of China’s New Silk Road Plan” on April 20, I said that China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) aims at establishing alternate land routes for its national security and expanding its trade with other countries. China is not rich enough to share the bounty of its economic development and to fund infrastructure gaps irrelevant to its national security or economic growth.

Sharif is wise to see the vital strategic importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in China’s OBOR so that he describes it as the core of Xi Jinping’s OBOR initiative.

The Corridor will facilitate Pakistan’s and Western China’s economic development and strengthen China’s and Pakistan’s defense in their border with India. Moreover, China will have a shortcut in its trade with the Middle East through the corridor.

Due to the strategic importance, Xi and Sharif signed $500 million deals for CPEC in addition to the $57 billion already pledged for its projects. Pakistani troops are active in ensuring the safety of those projects due to their importance to Pakistan’s and China’s national security.

In fact, the core projects for OBOR are but those in Pakistan, Central Asia and Russia for China’s trade to the Middle East and Europe, especially the access to oil and gas resources there.

It is Xi’s wise idea to describe OBOR as a global initiative involving lots of countries that in fact are not along China’s Silk Road in order to attract other countries’ investment and construction industries to the projects that benefit China. Japan and South Korea are interested in the infrastructures in Southeast Asia, which though is included in China’s OBOR initiative, is really not along China’s Silk Road as China’s trade routes to the Middle East, Europe and Africa through Southeast Asia have yet to go through the Indian Ocean with the risk of being cut by not only US but also Indian navy.

However, the infrastructure developed by whatever countries China, Japan, South Korea or others will facilitate rich overseas Chinese’ business in the region and thus expands China’s influence there.

As for the US, Japan and South Korea’s competition with China in developing infrastructures in Central Asia, China certainly welcomes such competition as the infrastructures will first of all be exploited by China in its trade and investment there. I do not see the wisdom in such competition as the infrastructures are in countries under Russian military dominance.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-pakistan-idUSKBN1890KD.


The Conundrum of China’s New Silk Road Plan


Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni (who will attend New Silk Road summit) talks to the media at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy April 7, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

In its report yesterday titled “China to gather friends for biggest summit of year on New Silk Road”, Reuters says, “While China has portrayed the New Silk Road as a genuine effort to share the bounty of China’s economic development and to fund infrastructure gaps, many Western countries are concerned about a lack of detail and transparency in the project and are suspicious about China’s broader political intents.”

China certainly is not so generous as to contribute billions of dollars to its New Silk Road projects for nothing in return. The sharing of bounty is but propaganda. China is simply not rich enough to do so. It has to first eliminate poverty at home and raise its own people’s living standards to a level similar to Western developed countries. To achieve those goals, China still has a long way to go.

Therefore, it helps other countries build infrastructures first of all for its own benefits, i.e. to provide alternative routes for import and export, which will facilitate not only its trade but also national security.

The most important are pipelines for import of oil and gas from Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The shipping route to the Middle East and Europe through Indian Ocean can easily be cut by powerful US navy. Russia and Central Asia offer alternative land routes, but the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will be even better.

The roads, railways and pipelines to be built and expanded through the corridor will provide China with connections to the Middle East, Europe and Africa as there is military protection by Iran and Russia of the sea route from Pakistan’s Gwadar Port that China has been building. That trade route will facilitate the economic development not only in Pakistan but also China’s vast west.

In addition, China may move its labor-intensive industries to Pakistan to exploit the cheap labor there.

The New Silk Road projects are first of all for China’s own security and economic growth while enabling other countries along the road to become rich through win-win cooperation. Leaders of Western developed countries will not attend the New Silk Road summit as they do not think that their countries will be much benefited by the road. Only Italian Prime Minister will attend the summit as the sea route from Gwadar Port may connect to land route through Italy to Europe.

However, can China’s good relations with those small and poor nations along the New Silk Road in Asia enable China to replace the US as world leader? I don’t think Western leaders have such rich imagination as Reuters points out in its report.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-silkroad-summit-idUSKBN17K0FL.


China’s Trade Lifeline to Middle East, Africa Ensured through Pakistan


In this April photo, Pakistan Navy personnel patrol Gwadar port. Pakistan's top leaders opened a new international trade route on Sunday from the newly built port. Photo: AP

In this April photo, Pakistan Navy personnel patrol Gwadar port. Pakistan’s top leaders opened a new international trade route on Sunday from the newly built port. Photo: AP

The newly built Gwadar port will be used for international trade. Photo: AP

The newly built Gwadar port will be used for international trade. Photo: AP

SCMP says in its report on November 13 titled “Chinese ship opens new international trade route via Pakistani port” that Pakistani civil and military leaders went to Gwadar Port to see off a Chinese ship that exported goods to the Middle East from the port that has been newly built with Chinese investment.

SCMP says, “Pakistani army has created a special force to guard port and new trade routes”.

That marked the beginning of China’s Silk Road economic belt in Pakistan called the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” where China is building a network of roads and power plants to facilitate shipping of Chinese goods through the corridor to the Middle East and Africa. The Corridor will also make great contributions to Pakistan’s economic growth.

China has developed its J-20 to have air superiority in the area around it to prevent attack by the US, but its trade lifelines through the oceans, especially the Indian Ocean may be cut by powerful US navy.

According to SCMP, “Gwadar port is located on the Arabian Sea and occupies a strategic location between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The port is also located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz.”

The port is therefore the key to China’s 21st century maritime Silk Road. As the sea route from Gwadar to the Middle East is protected by Pakistani and Iranian air forces, China now has a safe trade route through its Southwest China and Pakistan on land and the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz along Pakistani and Iranian coast instead of the Indian Ocean that may be cut by US or even Indian navy.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2045579/chinese-ship-opens-new-international-trade-route.


Pakistan army chief accuses India of undermining China investment corridor


Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif leaves after attending the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif leaves after attending the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

Pakistan’s army chief on Tuesday accused longtime regional rival India of seeking to undermine his country’s $46 billion project to build an economic corridor to transport goods from China’s western regions through the Pakistani deepwater port of Gwadar.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, speaking at a development conference on the impact of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), said the significance of a Pakistan-China economic alliance had “raised eyebrows” in the region.

“In this context, I must highlight that India, our immediate neighbor, has openly challenged this development initiative,” Sharif told the conference in Gwadar.

“I would like to make a special reference to Indian intelligence agency RAW that is blatantly involved in destabilizing Pakistan. Let me make it clear that we will not allow anyone to create impediments and turbulence in any part of Pakistan. Therefore, it is important for all to leave behind confrontation and focus on cooperation.”

Indian officials could not be reached for comment late on Tuesday night.

RAW is India’s Research and Analysis Wing, its main external intelligence agency.

Last month, Pakistan said it had detained a suspected Indian spy for RAW in Baluchistan, the southwestern Pakistani province where most of the CPEC is taking shape.

India has confirmed that the man is a former Indian navy official but denied that he is a spy.

Majority Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan, once part of a vast British colonial holding, have fought three wars since they were partitioned upon independence in 1947, leading to a violent separation that has fed decades of mutual suspicion.

Pakistan believes India is supporting a separatist insurgency in resource-rich Baluchistan. It also accuses India of fuelling strife in the city of Karachi. India denies any such meddling.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian security forces in its part of the divided Kashmir region, of helping militants launch attacks elsewhere in India and backing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Pakistan says it only offers diplomatic support to the Muslim people of Kashmir living under what Pakistan says is heavy-handed Indian rule. It denies backing militant attacks in India.

(Reporting by Kay Johnson; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: Reuters “Pakistan army chief accuses India of undermining China investment corridor”


India, Pakistan Join Russia and China’s Camp, a Heavy Blow to the US


Xi Jinping and Putin. Credit: Host photo agency / RIA Novosti via Getty Images

Xi Jinping and Putin. Credit: Host photo agency / RIA Novosti via Getty Images

Reuters says in its report “India, Pakistan to join China, Russia in security group”, “India and Pakistan began accession to a regional security group led by China and Russia on Friday after two days of summits which President Vladimir Putin held up as evidence Moscow is not isolated in the world.

“The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), meeting in the Russian city of Ufa a day after the BRICS emerging economies held a summit there, said the invitation to the two Asian nations showed a ‘multi-polar’ world was now emerging.”

Putin is certainly happy as the expansion of SCO and the intensification of the cooperation among BRICS states shows that the US has failed to isolate Russia.

It is certainly a political victory for Putin in his struggle against US hegemony.

So is it for Chinese President Xi Jinping. I may say that it is even greater a victory for him. US media The National Interest described the problems in Indian-Chinese relations in its article on Modi’s recent visit to China titled “The Chinese ‘century’ is already over”, by quoting Modi as saying to media in China, “I stressed the need for China to reconsider its approach on some of the issues that hold us back from realising full potential of our partnership,” and “I suggested that China should take a strategic and long-term view of our relations.”

I said in my post on May 29:

Everybody who has some knowledge about Chinese-Indian relations knows the problems. When I talked with ethnic Indian Hong Kong residents about Chinese-Indian relations, most of them did not think the border dispute was a great issue but had serious questions about close Chinese-Pakistani relations especially the China-Pakistan economic corridor that will go through the disputed Kashmir area.

If Modi had failed to mention those serious problems in his talks with Chinese leaders, the improvement in the ties between the two countries would have been but a diplomatic show without any true meaning.

I provide the last sentence that National Interest’ omits in its quote of Modi’s words: “I found the Chinese leadership responsive.”

What is Chinese leaders’ response? With Putin’s help, they have succeeded in bringing both India and Pakistan into their camp the SCO.

Reuters says, “The addition of Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed neighbors who have years of tensions between them, could also lead to easing the conflicts between New Delhi and Islamabad.”

In addition, according to Reuters, the leaders of the two countries agreed in a separate meeting in Ufa that Modi would visit Pakistan next year.

That will remove India’s opposition to the China-Pakistan economic corridor through disputed Kashmir that is vital to China’s energy and trade security.

Moreover, Iran wants to join SCO earnestly but due to the existence of sanctions, SCO cannot accept it. When the sanctions have been lifted, Iran will become a member to supply oil and gas to India through Pakistan. While China’s Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor initiative will provide a land link between China and the Middle East in addition to that through the China-Pakistan economic corridor.

Intensive cooperation between SCO, BRICKS and the Eurasian Economic Union will soon make Xi Jinping’s Silk Road economic belt a reality.

The expansion of SCO to form a vast area of cooperation together with the Euroasian Economic Union make the vast Asian land area an area of Russian and Chinese influence.

In establishing such an important area of influence with a fifth of the world’s oil and half of the global population, Russian-Chinese alliance is vital.

US media Foreign Policy says in its report today that Beijing and Moscow have overcome their decade-long competition and become partners.

It says, “Russia is instead aiming to retain its influence as the security guarantor in the region, keeping its sway in the region through military bases in Central Asia, arms deals, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a security bloc of former Soviet countries. This formula satisfies both China, which is wary of deploying troops beyond its borders, and Central Asian countries used to a Russian military presence.”

It quotes Alexander Gabuev, senior associate and the chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, as saying “Under this arrangement, China would be the bank and Russia would be the big gun”.

China as the bank is richer than the US while Russia and China combined are not small as a big gun in countering the US. Russia and China have thus subdued the US by diplomacy, the second best way to subdue an enemy according to Sun Tze’s The Art of War.

Article by Chan Kai Yee in response to Reuters and Foreign Policy’s reports

Reuters and Foreign Policy’s reports are respectively available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/10/us-china-russia-idUSKCN0PK20720150710 and https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/10/china-russia-sco-ufa-summit-putin-xi-jinping-eurasian-union-silk-road/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks&utm_campaign=2015_EditorsPicks_Swiss_Jul10%20Benjamin%20Soloway


China’s Xi Showcases the Benefit of Having it as a Rich Iron Brother


In its report “China Picks Pakistan as First Stop on $40 Billion Silk Road” on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, Bloomberg listed not only Xi’s allocation of $45 billion for the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with funds coming entirely from Pakistan and China without borrowing from China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) or allocation of China’s $40 billion Silk Road fund (Silk Road fund). As Pakistan is very poor, it is obvious that most of the fund will be provided by China.

In addition, $1.65 billion of the Silk Road fund will be invested in Pakistan’s Karot dam project on the Jhelum river for the construction of a 720-megawatt power station to ease Pakistan’s serious power shortage.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has two priorities in his Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road) initiative:

First to expand China’s space for economic expansion abroad that will enable China’s further economic development through Xi’s thorough domestic economic reform; and

Second to protect China’s trade lifelines.

Hitler tried to expand Germany’s space of survival by military force but failed.

The US has tried hard to maintain its world leadership by keeping its military the most powerful in the world but failed.

All its allies except Japan join China-led AIIB in spite of US opposition. That signals the end of US world leadership.

Xi Jinping certainly shall not follow Hitler’s or US examples.

Xi’s creative way is to build up iron brother relations with the countries along his One Belt, One Road.

That is really a surprise move to Western politicians, scholars and media.

There have been mountains of reports, articles and books on the threat from China’s rise that have filled small countries with consternation.

Even US President Obama accused China in early April of bullying its neighbors by its “sheer size and muscle”.

Xi uses his visit to Pakistan to showcase what China does to its iron brother.

Bloomberg says in its report, “On Monday, Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif signed pacts to build roads, ports and power plants, nearly equal to the amount of foreign aid the U.S. has provided to Pakistan over the past decade to support its war in Afghanistan.”

Full text of Bloomberg’s report can be read at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-21/china-picks-pakistan-dam-as-first-stop-on-40-billion-silk-road

Xi set Pakistan as an example of what other countries may be benefited by being China’s iron brothers.

China sets no conditions on the funds it provides in helping its iron brothers nor interferes with their internal affairs.

Quite a few countries will be attracted to become China’s iron brothers, brothers or friends.

On the other hand, China has showcased what it will do when another country tries to confront it by force in maritime territorial dispute.

In 2012, believing its “iron-brother” ally the US may help it in its dispute with China, the Philippines sent its navy to round up Chinese fishing boats at Scarborough Shoal. China responded with taking sole control of the shoal and forbid Philippine fishermen from fishing there.

In its report “Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats” today, Reuters says, “The presidential palace in Manila said China’s coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. Chinese ships rammed a fishing boat in the area a few months ago.”
According to Reuters, US and Philippine troops were conducting a joint military drill near the shoal but did not respond to the incident.

Reuters says that some Philippine people criticized Philippine “government’s dependence on the U.S. military to protect the country.”

Reuters quotes, Renato Reyes, secretary-general of left-wing activist group Bayan (Nation) as saying in desperation, “To stand up to China, we need to develop our economy and our capacity for external defense. We can’t do this by hanging on the coattails of Uncle Sam.”

While China is gaining friends by setting an example in Pakistan, the US is setting an example in losing its allies in the Philippines.

Full text of Reuters report can be find at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/21/us-southchinasea-philippines-usa-idUSKBN0NC0MN20150421

Source: Bloomberg “China Picks Pakistan as First Stop on $40 Billion Silk Road”

Source: Reuters “Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats”