India Not Interested in Joining US quad to Challenge China


SCMP carries Abhijit Singh’s article “India’s South China Sea policy has not changed. Now, as before, there’s no appetite to challenge China” that stresses that India does not want to challenge China.

The US wants India to join its quad to support its the Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China especially in Southeast Asia and lots of media have tried to make readers believe that India would join the US in challeging China. However, the article says that there are three reasons India will not abandon its policy of non-intervention in security affairs of Southeast Asia.

First, India is not party to the maritime territorial disputes in the region as it has no interests or rights there.

Second, India knows China’s position of strength there.

Third, India is keen to preserve its “Wuhan consensus” that Beijing will respect India’s sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean in the same way that Delhi will respect Beijing’s in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, according to the article media reports on India’s energy stakes in the South China Sea is misleading as India’s stake in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zones are not significant.

However, the source of water for India’s major river the Ganges is the Yarlung Zangbo in China’s Tibet. China is able to divert water from the river to its desert in Xinjiang and greatly reduce the water in the Ganges.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3026729/indias-south-china-sea-policy-has-not-changed-now-theres-no.

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US Pushing Japan, South Korea to China’s Side


Foreign Affairs says in its article “How an Alliance System Withers: Washington Is Sleeping Through the Japanese-Korean Dispute. China Isn’t” that the US fails but China is active in mediating the disputes between US allies Japan and South Korea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and their South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in Beijing, August 2019
Wu Hong / Reuters

That is indeed quite natural as US President finds the US suffers in having obligations to defend Japan and South Korea while China believed having the two in China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will benefit not only China but also Japan and South Korea. Diplomacy is mainly driven by interests. Both Japan and South Korea have great interests in the markets of RCEP members while the US is trying hard to make their trade with the US less beneficial.

Therefore, it is normal for the US to push Japan and South Korea to China’s arms.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Affairs’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2019-09-09/how-alliance-system-withers?utm_medium=newsletters&utm_source=twofa&utm_content=20190913&utm_campaign=TWOFA%20091319%20Bolton%20Was%20Trump%E2%80%99s%20Best%20Match%2C%20Until%20He%20Wasn%E2%80%99t&utm_term=FA%20This%20Week%20-%20112017.


US is Behind Hong Kong Protests Says US Policymaker


By Tony Cartalucci, Journal-neo.org

September 12, 2019 | Educate!

The US continues to deny any involvement in ongoing unrest in China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong. (This blogger’s note: The US is now attacking China with massive tariff hikes and no shy to admit that. That is something much more serious than helping Hong Kong protesters. Therefore, it’s quite normal that the US help Hong Kong protesters’ violence that the protesters claim are against China. The US shall certainly be proud of doing so just as Trump does in his trade war against China. )

However, even a casual look at US headlines or comments made by US politicians makes it clear the unrest not only suits US interests, but is spurred on almost exclusively by them.

The paradoxical duality of nearly open support of the unrest and denial of that support has led to headlines like the South China Morning Post’s, “Mike Pompeo rebukes China’s ‘ludicrous’ claim US is behind Hong Kong protests.” The article claims:

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is “ludicrous” for China to claim the United States is behind the escalating protests in Hong Kong.

Pompeo rebuked Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who had claimed violent clashes in the city prompted by opposition to the Hong Kong government’s controversial extradition bill were “the work of the US”.

However, even US policymakers have all but admitted that the US is funnelling millions of dollars into Hong Kong specifically to support “programs” there. The Hudson Institute in an article titled, “China Tries to Blame US for Hong Kong Protests,” would admit:

A Chinese state-run newspaper’s claim that the United States is helping pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong is only partially inaccurate, a top foreign policy expert said Monday.

Michael Pillsbury, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland the U.S. holds some influence over political matters in the region.

The article would then quote Pillsbury as saying:

We have a large consulate there that’s in charge of taking care of the Hong Kong Policy Act passed by Congress to insure democracy in Hong Kong, and we have also funded millions of dollars of programs through the National Endowment for Democracy [NED] … so in that sense the Chinese accusation is not totally false.

A visit to the NED’s website reveals an entire section of declared funding for Hong Kong specifically. The wording for program titles and their descriptions is intentionally ambiguous to give those like US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plausible deniability.

However, deeper research reveals NED recipients are literally leading the protests.

The South China Morning Post in its article, “Hong Kong protests: heavy jail sentences for rioting will not solve city’s political crisis, former Civil Human Rights Front convenor says,” would report:

Johnson Yeung Ching-yin, from the Civil Human Rights Front, was among 49 people arrested during Sunday’s protest – deemed illegal as it had not received police approval – in Central and Western district on Hong Kong Island.

The article would omit mention of Johnson Yeung Ching-yin’s status as an NED fellow. His profile is – at the time of this writing – still accessible on the NED’s official website, and the supposed NGO he works for in turn works hand-in-hand with US and UK-based fronts involved in supporting Hong Kong’s current unrest and a much wider anti-Beijing political agenda.

Johnson Yeung Ching-yin also co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post with Joshua Wong titled, “As you read this, Hong Kong has locked one of us away.”

Wong has travelled to Washington DC multiple times, including to receive “honors” from NED-subsidiary Freedom House for his role in leading unrest in 2014 and to meet with serial regime-change advocate Senator Marco Rubio.

It should also be noted that the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum also sits on the NED board of directors.

This evidence, along with extensively documented ties between the United States government and other prominent leaders of the Hong Kong unrest reveals US denial of involvement in Hong Kong as yet another willful lie told upon the international stage – a lie told even as the remnants of other victims of US interference and intervention smolder in the background.

The direct ties and extreme conflicts of interest found under virtually every rock overturned when critically examining the leadership of Hong Kong’s ongoing unrest all lead to Washington. They also once again reveal the Western media as involved in a coordinated campaign of disinformation – where proper investigative journalism is purposefully side-stepped and narratives shamelessly spun instead to frame Hong Kong’s ongoing conflict in whatever light best suits US interests.

What’s worse is big-tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google purging thousands of accounts attempting to reveal the truth behind Hong Kong’s unrest and the true nature of those leading it. If this is the level of lying, censorship, and authoritarianism Washington is willing to resort to in order for Hong Kong’s opposition to succeed, it begs one to wonder what this so-called opposition is even fighting for. Certainly not “democracy” or “freedom.”

Source: Popular Resistance “US is Behind Hong Kong Protests Says US Policymaker”

Note: This is Popular Resistance’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Why China believes the World needs the new Silk Road: Beijing’s ambitious mega-project explained


Published time: 13 Sep, 2019 07:04

Edited time: 13 Sep, 2019 11:41

China’s trillion-dollar “One Belt, One Road” initiative (BRI) is an attempt to revive the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that for hundreds of years connected the East and West during the days of the Roman Empire.

The initiative, which was unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, envisages linking China with Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas through a network of seaports, railways, roads and industrial parks. The major goal of the 21st century Silk Road project is to create greater connectivity across the world to promote peace through trade and development.

Why Beijing believes the world needs the BRI

Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, said that the BRI initially started as a connectivity project, including financial and power connectivity.

© Data from LOWY Institute © RT

There are many projects within the BRI, with more than 100 countries already having signed up for it. Each country has different goods to export. Some export manufactured industrial goods, like the Czech Republic and Slovakia in eastern Europe. Other countries export more materials, commodities, energy products, and agricultural products, Gao explained.

According to the expert, better connectivity is created by building new roads, railways and ports. This boosts trade by allowing goods to move faster.

“Among the projects completed is the railway in Kenya between Nairobi and Mombasa. It is already operational and has improved the efficiency and productivity in Kenya a lot, not only in terms of moving people around but also moving goods and services around,” said Gao.

The Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, Holhol bridge © Wikipedia / Skilla1st

He also named a high-quality highway in Ethiopia, spanning from Addis Ababa all the way to Djibouti, crossing a vast expanse of Ethiopian territory.

A platform of Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway © AFP / Houssein Hers

Gao said that there are many potential projects on the Eurasian continent itself. Countries like Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia will benefit in terms of promoting the BRI, he said. “They will get much better connectivity, including the financial [kind].”

China’s trade volume with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is already surpassing its trade volume with the United States and is picking up speed, according to Gao.

Hong Kong-based political scientist Joseph Cheng has pointed to the development of cooperation projects with China’s traditional ally Pakistan. He said that African countries are also interested in participating in the BRI “because they certainly fit in the category of countries needing infrastructural development and investment funds.”

Some European countries which have been in financial difficulties may be interested in “attracting investment from China, mainly Greece a few years ago and Italy in recent years.”

Why China needs the BRI

The project is aimed at satisfying China’s domestic needs in terms of using its excess capacity in certain industries more effectively. It provides China with new markets and sources of raw materials and an opportunity to invest Beijing’s vast foreign exchange reserves, Joseph Cheng explains.

“In response to the economic crisis in 2008-2009, China launched many investment programs resulting in excess capacity in industries like steel, cement and so on.”

Cheng added that “now China would like to use its excess capacity in certain industries, its substantial foreign exchange reserves as well as its technology and experiences in infrastructural projects development.”

As a growing industrial country, China needs markets and sources of raw materials, the expert pointed out. “China has substantial foreign exchange reserves, up to $3.1 trillion. Part of that was invested in financial papers, treasury bonds in the United States, which are not seen as very productive from China’s point of view.”

According to Gao, China is mobilizing all its resources, all of its 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to contribute to the BRI. “Eventually, for many other big projects involved in the initiative, capital is a very important thing. And when you talk about capital, China is one of the biggest providers of foreign direct investments,” he said, noting that it also receives huge flows of foreign direct investment.

Source: rt.com “Why China believes the World needs the new Silk Road: Beijing’s ambitious mega-project explained”

Note: This is rt.com’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China’s BRI vital for Cambodia, Malaysia


KT Staff / Khmer Times Share:

September 10, 2019

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the BRI benefits those who embrace it. KT/Chor Sokunthea

China’s Belt and Road Initiative projects are important because it opens land and sea routes to Europe.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told Khmer Times that: “In so far as the BRI projects are concerned, we are fully supportive because Malaysia also wants to use this passage for trade with the East and the West.”

In addition, it is important, of course, that these trading passages are kept open so that more trade would be possible. After that, we’ll have to engage all the countries along the routes. Central Asia is cut off from the sea, but if they have good communications systems, then they will also prosper.”

He said that while the BRI has much support from countries, such as Malaysia and Cambodia, it is important that investors adjust to local conditions, practices, and prepare themselves for what may come.

Looking at the trade war between China and the US, this is very bad. It doesn’t benefit anybody. Everybody will suffer. But Asean countries, if we work together, we can build a good market for ourselves. This will mitigate the cost of the results of the trade war,” Mr Mahathir said.

There are no winners – only losers and those get ruined, especially those countries who depend on export-related manufacturing. This is because if countries of origin certification are strictly applied, almost every producer and exporter will be affected. One way or another, as it is, all inter-related,” he added.

Mr Mahathir pointed out that Malaysia and Cambodia have enjoyed a long and historic relationship, which stretches over 62 years – same as Malaysia’s independence. Given this long relationship, Malaysia could sympathise with some of the problems facing Cambodia, such as potential sanctions and revocation of the Everything-but-arms trade status, and pressure on its form of democracy.

He noted that there is no denying of Cambodia’s reliance on China on many fronts, primarily infrastructure development and official development assistance.

Cambodia may not have much of a choice because of external pressure on it, but Prime Minister Hun Sen is doing well in establishing bilateral trading pacts with as many countries as possible, particularly European nations,” he said.

Hedging, in terms of politics, trade and economics, is critical for a nation’s survival and as such, it could be wise for Cambodia to also stay engaged with its detractors and maintain its policy of friends with everyone and enemy of none,” Mr Mahathir added.

During his visit to Cambodia, Mr Mahathir stressed that he was visiting an old and trusted friend and that he was pleasantly surprised by the number of questions posed by students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

He stressed that Cambodia is on Malaysia’s radar and that Malaysia is concerned about what is happening in the Kingdom.

We think that to the extent that we can, we should help – and certainly, our business people will be encouraged to come here to do business here, but not just think of profits, although that is the main objective, but also think about their responsibility towards the Cambodian people,” Mr Mahathir said.

He noted that the visit was also to renew relations between the two countries, strengthen relations, identify and resolve problems. Mr Mahathir said that in general, both sides need actions so Cambodia and Malaysia can prosper.

Source: Khmer Times “China’s BRI vital for Cambodia, Malaysia”

Note: This is Khmer Times’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Belt and Road Initiative: A big opportunity to reap benefit for S Asia


12:00 AM, September 09, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:11 AM, September 09, 2019

Experts say India’s indifference to join BRI poses a challenge; Bangladesh has to objectively measure both benefits, concerns

Diplomatic Correspondent

The China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comes as an opportunity for the South Asian nations, but cooperation of all the countries in the region is needed to reap benefits from it, observe international relations analysts.

Speaking at an international conference in the capital, they, however, said India’s reluctance to join the BRI poses a challenge to promoting connectivity and trade in the region.

The conference titled “BRI: Positioning Bangladesh within Comparative Perspectives” was organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue at a city hotel yesterday.

In South Asia, all the countries, except for India, are enthusiastic about the Belt and Road Initiative… There will be certain challenges to implementing the initiative unless India joins it,” said Maj Gen (retd) ANM Muniruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies.

He also mentioned that Bangladesh was excluded from a proposed corridor connecting four countries — China, India, Myanmar and Bangladesh — through maritime routes.

We should try to talk to China so that the corridor is extended up to Chattogram via Rakhine,” Muniruzzaman told this correspondent on the sidelines of the conference.

Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the concept of the BRI in 2013 in the light of the ancient Silk Route to connect Asia with Africa and Europe through land and maritime networks.

Bangladesh is one of the 129 countries that have already joined the initiative. Some of the big powers, including the US and India, are yet to become part of it. India, however, is involved in some other initiatives that partly overlap the BRI.

Muniruzzaman said that though the BRI has been termed a trade project, it has significant political and strategic ramifications.

We must carefully analyse these aspects as we move towards implementing the projects under the initiative,” he said.

According to the CPD, Bangladesh, located in a sub-region that includes economic powerhouses India and China, is a gateway to the Maritime Silk Route that passes through the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh has a unique opportunity to emerge in the region as an important economic hub of the century.

While engaging itself with the BRI, Bangladesh will have to take into consideration its relationship with its big neighbour India, said the thinktank.

Thus, an effective balance of relationship with two big regional neighbours will also be a major task to be taken into consideration by the policymakers of Bangladesh,” said the CPD in a paper presented at the conference.

The BRI is likely to have implications for the interests and engagement of extra-regional powers, such as the USA and the EU, in Asia. It is of interest to observe the role of the proposed Maritime Silk Route in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean, it pointed out.

In this respect, there is possibly a need to have an effective multi-stakeholder platform to discuss the interests and concerns regarding the BRI in South Asia, particularly in Bangladesh.

It is important to have an objective analysis focusing on both economic and political aspects of this ambitious initiative. This will help the government adopt informed policies to reap the fullest benefits of the BRI and mitigate the risks associated with it,” the CPD said.

CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said the BRI should have clear norms such as openness, transparency, no corruption and no conflict of interest in commercial deals.

The BRI also should have multilateral framework for all stakeholders that will have equal footing in the decision-making process, he said.

We need to understand what keeps India away, and how Indo-Pacific strategy affects the BRI.

Rohingya experience taught us geo-political realities… We need to see how we can really exploit our advantages, how we can prepare better, and how we can manage our relationship in certain ways that we can optimise not only in the long run but also in the short run,” Debapriya added.

Dr Kalyan Raj Sharma, president of Nepal-China Friendship Forum, said a lack of trust among countries in South Asia is a major problem that’s hindering regional growth. And India’s role is crucial in implementing the BRI.

For example, if there is a rail link from China to Nepal, it won’t be of much benefit unless it links India or Bangladesh, he said.

Division creates poverty, unity creates wealth,” he said, stressing the need for unity among the South Asian nations.

Former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, said the BRI is flexible because each country can have its own projects, maintaining the common principles of the initiative.

If India has any objection to any component of the BRI, it can raise that and eventually join the initiative. “If not, it will create a lot of hindrances,” he said.

Another former ambassador M Humayun Kabir, acting president of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, said India and several other countries have security concerns that may discourage them from joining the initiative.

But if there is an open environment for trade governance, things could move forward, he added.

Economic relations between China and India are transforming. “I hope India would find some form of modus operandi. On the other hand, the BRI may also have to change, and those opposing it may find space to join it,” he said.

Abul Hasan Chowdhury, former state minister for foreign affairs, said China and India are large trading partners in the region, and they should work together for regional development.

The conference was also addressed by Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the CPD; Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star; Lailafur Yasmin, professor of international relations at Dhaka University; and Guo Suiyan and Dr Lin Yanming, both associate professors at Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences in Kunming of China.

Source: The Daily Star “Belt and Road Initiative: A big opportunity to reap benefit for S Asia”

Note: This is The Daily Star’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


RCEP meet: ASEAN members, partners reaffirm their resolve to conclude free trade deal talks


The 16 negotiating partners have agreed that they should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the value chains in the RCEP

Joe C Mathew New Delhi Last Updated: September 8, 2019 | 22:30 IST

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal during the plenary session of the 7th RCEP Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on Sunday.

The 7th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) ministerial meeting of the 10 members of ASEAN countries and their six FTA (free trade agreement) partners, including India, said the ongoing global uncertainties have added to the urgency to conclude the mega free trade agreement between these nations. The joint statement issued after the meeting, which reviewed the RCEP negotiations on September 8 in Bangkok, Thailand, said the 16 negotiating partners agreed that they should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the value chains in the RCEP.

The RCEP underscored issues raised by India by stating that certain developments in the global trade environment might affect the negotiating countries’ individual positions. “The ministers underscored the RCEP will provide the much-needed stability and certainty to the market, which will in turn boost trade and investment in the region. To this end, ministers reaffirmed their collective resolve to bring negotiations to a conclusion,” the joint statement said.

“The ministers recognised that negotiations have reached a critical milestone. Notwithstanding the remaining challenges in the negotiations, the RCEP participating countries are working on addressing outstanding issues that are fundamental to conclude the agreement this year as mandated by the leaders,” it stated. The meeting, held to review developments in the RCEP negotiations since the ministers last met in Beijing on August 2-3, was chaired by Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce of Thailand.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and its six partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s economic wing, Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, has asked the Centre not to sacrifice the interests of key industries like agriculture, diary and manufacturing. “We firmly believe that national interests especially of agriculture, dairy, manufacturing will not be sacrificed at RCEP Meet. #SayNoToRCEP & Renegotiate ASEAN FTA, which is imperative for protecting agriculture & mfg,” SJM Co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan tweeted.

Source: businesstoday.in “RCEP meet: ASEAN members, partners reaffirm their resolve to conclude free trade deal talks”

Note: This is businesstoday.in’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.