Digital Silk Road upgrade
Pakistani newspaper Dawn in June “publicly disclosed for the first time” details from documents that set out the long-term plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), whose major element is a transportation link between far western Xinjiang Province in China and the port of Gwadar in south-western Pakistan. CPEC is a long-planned project that has become one of the key elements of the Belt and Road initiative. Much of the analysis of CPEC has seen it as primarily a means for China to gain access to an Indian Ocean port, but the plans Dawn revealed also include an agreement for China to lease “thousands of acres of agricultural land,” and to install “a full system of monitoring and surveillance…in cities from Peshawar to Karachi, with 24-hour video recordings on roads and busy marketplaces for law and order.”
After further analysis of source documents, Dawn now reports on the “CPEC plan for Pakistan’s digital future,” which envisions a project set for completion in 2030:
•A “new, upgraded fibre optic cable network” that covers Pakistan and “crosses the border to connect directly with China” following the route of the Karakoram Highway.
•The new network will improve communications between the two countries, and allow them to avoid routing data through Europe, the U.S., and India.
•Dawn says that “China also has in mind its own increasing international telecommunications service demands,” which will necessitate additional international bandwidth.
•The new network should improve internet penetration and speed in Pakistan, as well as provide landlocked central Asian countries with alternative communication routes.
•The new China-built networks will, of course, also give the Chinese government enhanced surveillance capacity, not only in Xinjiang, but over all countries that use Chinese optic fiber to connect.
Source: SupChina “Optic fiber on the Karakoram Highway – China’s latest top news”
Note: This is SupChina’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
In my post “China Stupid if It Started a Border War with India” on August 12, I said that China and Pakistan’s “Iron Buddy” relationship and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor regarded by China as a key project in China’s Silk Road economic belt initiative makes India fear that it is encircled by China and Pakistan, its long-term enemy.
To counter the encirclement, India wants to establish close ties with the US and Japan and hopefully the combined navies of the three nations may encircle China and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean.
I said in my post:
A modern war is fought for achieving a political goal which we regard as the strategic goal of a war. A country is a loser in the war if it wins the war without attaining its strategic goal but it is the winner if it attains its strategic goal even though it loses the war.
From that we see Indian Prime Minister Modi’s shrewdness. He knows well that India army is no match to Chinese army but he provoked China to fight and win a war with India so that he may attain the goal of developing close alliance with the US and Japan to counter-encircle China and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean.
China’s strategic goal must be resolution of its border dispute with India to turn India into its friend instead of enemy. China has been making great efforts in doing so. What can China attain even if it wins a border war with India now? It will turn India into its dead enemy if the war is a large-scale one like the countless border wars between France and Germany that gave rise to the two world wars.
Therefore, I said that China is stupid if it start a border war with India as China will get the opposite of its strategic goal while enable India to attain its strategic goal.
True enough, according to Reuters’ report “India and China agree to end border standoff”, the two nations have found solution to their border standoff and will both retreat.
India sent its troops to provoke China and China responded by sending troops there. Now India agrees to withdraw its troops so that China can withdraw hers.
Chinese leaders are wise enough to avoid military conflict with India in spite of India’s provocation.
The end of the standoff is obvious India’s failure in provoking China and China’s success in maintaining peaceful relations with India. That is very clearly shown in Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:
India and China agree to end border standoff
Sanjeev Miglani and Ben Blanchard August 28, 2017 / 2:56 PM / 11 hours ago
NEW DELHI/BEIJING (Reuters) – India and China have agreed to an “expeditious disengagement” of troops in a disputed border area where their soldiers have been locked in a stand-off for more than two months, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The decision comes ahead of a summit of the BRICS nations – a grouping that also includes Brazil, Russia and South Africa – in China beginning on Sunday, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.
Indian and Chinese troops have been confronting each other at the Doklam plateau near the borders of India, its ally Bhutan, and China, in the most serious and prolonged standoff in decades along their disputed Himalayan border.
The Indian ministry said the two sides had agreed to defuse the crisis following diplomatic talks.
“In recent weeks, India and China have maintained diplomatic communication in respect of the incident at Doklam,” the ministry said in a statement.
“On this basis, expeditious disengagement of border personnel at the face-off site at Doklam has been agreed to and is on-going,” it said in a statement.
It did not offer more details of the terms of disengagement from the area which had raised fears of a wider conflict between the Asian giants who fought a brief border war in 1962.
China said Indian troops had withdrawn from the remote area in the eastern Himalayas. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Chinese troops would continue to patrol the Doklam region.
“China will continue to exercise sovereignty rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance with the rules of the historical boundary,” she said.
The Chinese defense ministry said troops would remain on a state of alert.
“We remind the Indian side to learn the lesson from this incident, earnestly respect the historical boundary and the basic principles of international law, meet China half way and jointly protect the peace and tranquillity of the border region,” spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.
“The world is not peaceful, and peace needs to be safeguarded. The Chinese military has the confidence and the ability to protect the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” Wu added.
The trouble started in June when India sent troops to stop China building a road in the Doklam area, which is remote, uninhabited territory claimed by both China and Bhutan.
India said it sent its troops because Chinese military activity there was a threat to the security of its own northeast region.
But China has said India had no role to play in the area and insisted it withdraw unilaterally or face the prospect of an escalation. Chinese state media had warned India of a fate worse than its crushing defeat in the war in 1962.
Indian political commentator Shekhar Gupta said there was too much at stake for the two countries to fight over a small piece of territory.
“Hopefully, Doklam is a new chapter in India-China relations. Too much at stake for both big powers to let legacy real-estate issues linger,” he said in a Twitter post.
India and China have been unable to settle their 3,500-km (2,175-mile) frontier and large parts of territory are claimed by both sides.
Lin Minwang, an India expert and the deputy director of the Center for South Asia Studies at China’s Fudan University, said the detente would ensure a smooth BRICS meeting.
“Both sides should be happy. Modi is also happy. They can conduct a meeting smoothly and naturally. If there was still a stand-off, how could they meet?”
I have quite a few posts on the emergence of the new Cold War between Russia-China autocratic camp and Western democratic camp consisting of US, EU and Japan.
There has been much media talks about the US losing Asia, which in facts means US losing Southeast Asia.
Previously US was Asian leader but in East Asia consisting of Japan and South Korea and in Southeast Asia, the ASEAN.
Now, the US has lost ASEAN due to ASEAN’s economic dependence on China and US military’s failure to protect Philippines’ interests in the South China Sea.
In recent Shangri-la Dialogue, only the US, Japan and Australia criticized Chinese moves in the South China Sea, but ASEAN remained silent. Some ASEAN members have contending claims against China but they prefer silence as they know that they will suffer in confronting China as the US will not and is unable to help them either economically or militarily.
Western media blames Trump for that. However, US losses were caused by Obama administration’s failures.
First, US pivot to Asia aimed at containing China gave Russia the impression that the US was also containing Russia when Putin was making great efforts to improve Russia-US relations.
Obama thus gave China the opportunity to win over Russia, China’s historical enemy.
Unexpectedly, Russia has become China’s close ally as China can be the largest market for Russia’s natural resources especially oil and gas. The US, however has greatly reduced its import of energy even from the Middle East let alone Russia as it has developed the technology to extract gas from shale. China has also been able to provide Russia with funds for Russia’s development.
Certainly, the alliance is first of all political as they have to combine forces in resisting the US.
Being strategy illiterate, US politicians and military intensified pressure on both China and Russia respectively in the South China Sea and Ukraine. That has turned China and Russia into close allies and their Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) into their new Cold War camp against the Western camp led by the US.
SCO’s recent expansion to include Pakistan and India has made the China-Russia camp much stronger. Now it seems that SCO will soon accept Iran as its new member as Iran has been applying to join SCO.
SCMP’s report today “China and Iran held a joint naval exercise near the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf amid rising tension in the region” shows China and Iran’s joint efforts in developing military ties.
The report says “the drill on Sunday included an Iranian warship and two Chinese destroyers, a logistics ship and one helicopter.”
The timing of the drill is especially important as SCMP says that it was carried out “amid heightened tension between Iranian and US warships in the Gulf. Washington has accused Iran of sending fast-attack boats to harass US warships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy also held a drill with Qatar on Saturday.”
In fact, close relations with Iran will enable China to have a new Silk Road through Pakistan to Iran for secure export of Iranian oil and gas to China. As India, Pakistan and potentially Iran are all SCO members, there is possibility for Iran to export oil to India safely through Pakistan.
The great economic interests will make China and Pakistan Iran’s close military allies in countering the US and protecting China’s trade sea route from Pakistan to the Middle East.
On the other hand, Trump’s “America first” has given rise to serious split between EU and the US while his scrap of TPP and improvement of US ties with China has made the US Japan’s fierce competitor in China’s huge market.
US-EU-Japan Cold War camp is disintegrating while China-Russia camp is growing larger and stronger.
American world leadership? In the new Cold War, America cannot even lead its Western camp.
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/2098898/china-and-iran-carry-out-naval-exercise-near-strait.
On May 12, Ely Ratner, the Maurice R. Greenberg senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, published an article along with Samir Kumar titled “The United States Is Losing Asia to China” .
I posted my comment on the article on June 14 titled “Why the United States Is Losing Asia to China?” to make my analysis of the reasons why the US has been losing Asia. I point out that the US has lost due to its own problems and that China has done nothing to grab Asian leadership from the US.
Unhappy with US loss, Mr. Ratner published another article on Foreign Affairs on June 13 titled “Course Correction: How to Stop China’s Maritime Advance” to give US government his advices on the measures that the US shall adopt to stop China’s advance in exerting full control of the South China Sea, including revival of Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the adoption of some other measures with similar effects to TTP to put an end to ASEAN countries economic dependence on China and providing weapons and military support for them to stand up against China in the South China Sea.
Such measures will certainly be economic burdens too heavy for a hard-up US to bear. In the final analysis, however, Mr. Ratner does not want such US efforts to result in a war with China. He believes that such measures will force China to retreat as China fears a war with the US.
He simply does not understand the Chinese dream that Chinese President Xi Jinping has used to overcome the serious split between conservatives and reformists and make China a united nation.
Chinese people cherish the Chinese dream due to their memory of China’s misery of being bullied by foreign powers for nearly a century. They want the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation to make China strong to be able to resist foreign bully, which now comes from the US, the only hegemon in the world now.
In 1947, China published its map with an 11-dash line (9-dash now) encircling most of the South China Sea to show its historical claim. The map in fact means that the South China Sea is China’s lake. The US did not oppose as at that time China was very weak and depended on US support for its claim. At that time, China’s lake means America’s lake for US politicians and military.
Unfortunately, there has been regime change and China’s unexpected rise. Now China has grown so strong that it can claim the lake on its own strength. The US can no longer dominate Southeast Asia and the South China Sea. Ratner believes that such loss means US loss of Asia.
In fact, in spite of its ambition, the US has never had Asia. North and Central Asia was parts of the Soviet Union and now Russia and areas under Russian influence. South Asia especially India is under Russian influence. US influence in Pakistan has long been replaced by China. Pakistan now regards itself as China’s closes brother.
To further west, the US lost Iran long ago and now has Iran as its dead enemy. The US is losing the Middle East possibly to Islamic extremists but not to China.
Therefore, Mr. Ratner’s statement that the US is losing Asia to China merely reflects US impudence and fear of a rising China. China cannot have Asia even if the US does not exist in the world. How can China take Russia, India or Japan? China simply shall not have the ambition to take them. China shall take care of its own people and have no ambition for world hegemony.
However, due to Chinese people’s dream for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, they will fight to resist foreign bully no matter how strong the bully is.
China’s posture to fight was shown very clear in Chinese navy chief Adm. Wu Shengli’s meeting with his US counterpart. We have a photo of Wu pointing his finger at his US counterpart when he was told to respect Hague arbitration award that entirely denies China’s historical rights and interests. China conducted large-scale military drill around the time when the award was declared and began combat patrol of the South China Sea immediately after that.
What was US response at that time? It simply dare not respond militarily but only declared that it would maintain its naval presence in the South China Sea.
I said repeatedly in my posts that with geographical advantages, especially the seven large artificial islands with three airports, China has full control of the South China Sea and made it China’s lake as it has claimed long ago.
China can deploy at least 600 fighter jets on the three airports of the artificial islands. There are in addition land-based fighter jets on Chinese coast that may join the fight through refueling as China’s J-20s will have air supremacy. The US only has 10 aircraft carriers but cannot send all of them to fight as they are so sophisticated as to need long-term overhaul periodically so that only two third of them can be in service. As a result, the US can only send a maximum of 7 carriers with at most 560 fighter jets to deal with more than 1,000 land- and island-based Chinese fighter jets.
Chinese fighter jets are now as good as US ones.
They say Chinese pilots lack the experience in fighting modern war. So are US pilots. They have never had any air battles with advanced air force. They have defeated Iraqi air force much inferior to them and can have gained no experience they need in fighting China’s air force.
In an emergency, land based fighter jets can land on Chinese expressways when Chinese airports are damaged but carrier-based fighter jets in the South China Sea can only fall into the sea or land on Chinese airports to be captured by China.
Moreover, artificial islands are large and can deploy the best air defense and anti-ship missiles and rocket artillery to destroy entire US attacking navy. China has built islands to not only defeat US aircraft carrier battle groups but also prevent US submarines from attacking China with submarine-launched missiles.
China’s strategy of island building is much better than US strategy of carrier building.
Artificial islands can be used as fishing and mining bases and can even generate income as tourist resorts. US navy has conducted a research and proved that one floating island and two aircraft carriers have the capabilities of five carriers.
I can safely predict that China can dominate the Pacific if it has built three floating islands and six aircraft carriers and deploy them in the Pacific. China’s Silk Road economic belt initiatives have enabled it to have land routes to Europe and the Middle East through Russia, Central Asia and Pakistan so that it has no need to deploy its navy in the Indian Ocean. Its three floating islands and six carriers with capabilities of 15 carriers are more than enough to protect its trade lifelines in the Pacific against US navy that can deploy at most only 7 carriers.
Moreover, China is able to build nuclear submarines better than US ones and have built a plant able to build four nuclear submarines simultaneously. The US only has the capacity to build two. Even so, it has funding problem to maintain such scale of construction.
The US is not capable to stop China’s control of the South China Sea. Mr. Ratner had better worry about the Pacific than the South China Sea.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Affairs’ article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2017-06-13/course-correction.
China wants SCO (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) to counter the US, but Russia wants it to counter not only the US but also EU, i.e. making it the eastern camp to counter the Western camp of EU and US.
SCMP says in its report “Security trumps rivalry as India, Pakistan to join China-led regional bloc” yesterday that India and Pakistan will both be admitted into SCO. SCMP’s report regards SCO as China-led. That is natural as lots of media and politicians believe that the rising China will take over world leadership from declining US let alone SCO leadership.
In fact, as neither Russia nor China wants to be SCO’s sole leader, SCO is led by both China and Russia. That’s something unbelievable!
We all know that only one tiger rules a mountain and that it is impossible for two tigers to cooperate in ruling one mountain. However, that is for tigers. Human beings must be wiser. However, the Thucydides trap precisely reflects human beings’ tiger mentality.
No, tigers are wise, but human beings are stupid!
When there are two tigers in a mountain, they do not fight for dominance, let alone killing one another. One of them simply leaves and goes to rule another mountain.
The Thucydides trap is entirely human. It has given rise to the cruelest wars and massive killing. The death toll in one of the world war due to the trap exceeded 10 millions.
We should say Russian leader Putin and Chinese leader Xi are both exceptionally wise so that there can be two leaders in SCO. It is really exceptional.
However, there will soon be something even more exceptional: India and Pakistan the two archenemies will join the same organization for cooperation.
The report points out the trouble China will face in dealing with India-Pakistan hostility and China-India rivalry.
It forgets SCO’s another leader Putin. If Russia had not been one of the leaders, how could SCO have attracted India in the first place when India’s archenemy Pakistan wants to join at the same time while one of SCO’s leaders is India’s rival China?
Putin will help Xi deal with those issues.
Moreover, we shall not underestimate India and Pakistan’s leaders’ wisdom. Their participation in the same organization of cooperation precisely proves their wise intention to bury hatchets. It will be very tricky but the benefits for both countries will be terrifically great. The ease of tension between India and Pakistan will enable both of them to transfer lots of their resources to the funding of their economic development.
Just imagine, how tremendously great the benefit a pipeline linking Iran and India through Pakistan will bring to India! I believe that the two countries will overcome their hostility through SCO rather than splitting SCO due to the hostility and rivalry.
The report says that SCO will consider admitting Iran into the organization. An expanded SCO with the addition of two South Asian powers will enable SCO to counter the Western camp which is splitting due to Trump’s dissatisfaction with NATO and Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Taking Iran into SCO will make the eastern camp centered on SCO much more powerful than the Western camp.
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/2096913/india-pakistan-set-join-china-led-security-group.
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.
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.