Belt and Road for Win-win Cooperation to Exploit World Resources

CCP 19th Congress sets China’s goal of building China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by 2050.

To attain that goal, China needs lots of resources; therefore, its space program, sea bottom mining efforts and Belt and Road all aim at exploiting resources.

Lunar and Sea Bottom Mining
China’s space program focuses on lunar mining and satellite solar power stations.

The US space program aims at establishment of US world hegemony instead of the future development of the human race in space. It won the race to land on the moon with the Soviet Union to prove its overwhelming technological and financial superiority and then greatly reduced its budget for space exploration.

Now, the US is afraid that China may replace it as space hegemon so that it wants to return to the moon. However, perhaps it may not be able to afford competition with China if it repeats lunar travel with excessive costs without returns,

In addition to space exploitation of resources, China is making great efforts to develop the equipment and technology for sea bottom mining. It has successfully made and tested two manned submersibles that have respectively dived to 4,500 meters and 7,000 meters below sea level and is now building a new one to dive to 10,000 meters according to CCTV’s recent report.

China’s Mawei Shipyard has launched a 39,000-ton sea bottom mining ship for Nautilus Minerals, a Canadian company with ambition of sea bottom mining. As the company has not begun regular sea bottom mining to earn income to repay its debts, it is now on the verge of bankruptcy.

China, however, will conduct sea bottom mining funded by the state with rich financial resources. With the technology of building a large sea bottom mining ship and deep-sea submersibles, it may begin such mining sooner than others.

BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) Win-win Cooperation to Exploit World Resources
It may take two decades or longer to develop the technology required for exploiting lunar and sea-bottom resources, but Chinese industries have become so prosperous that they need lots of resources now especially low-cost labor .resources.

Shall China follow the failed model of colonialism in plundering world resources? China is certainly not so stupid to repeat others’ failures.

The US has exported its industries and capital to countries with relatively stable political situation and cheap labor to exploit the resources there. It has thus to various extents enabled the fast economic growth in some of the receiving countries and regions in Asia, including Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand. Most of those countries become close to the US and even its allies. The US seems to have control of them so that it believes that export of industries and capital will enable a country to control the receiving countries. A country pursuing world hegemony like the US wants such control.

BRI for China’s Trade Security
China’s BRI export of industries and capital, however, strategically aims first of all at China’s trade security to prevent its shipping trade lifelines through oceans from being cut by powerful foreign navy. Through BRI win-win cooperation, China has established rail links with Europe through Russia, Central Asia and some European countries.

In that process, China has also built pipelines to get oil, gas and natural resources from Central Asia, which has thus become a part of Silk Road Economic Belt. Labor costs are low there and China has moved some labor-intensive industries there, but the population there is not big enough for China to transfer much of its industries there.

The above land routes are too long and too expensive. China has another half of BRI, i.e. the 21st century maritime silk road for less expensive but better, faster and also secure trade connection to the Middle East, Europe and Africa. That is why the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor becomes BRI’s first priority. China has been building rail and pipeline links and the port of Gwadar in the corridor that will not only provide secure shortcut for Chinese shipping to the Middle East, Europe and Africa but also promote the economic development of China’s vast northwest.

A shortcut of next importance is the rail link between China’s Ruili and Myanmar’s port of Kyaukpyu China has been building as a part of China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. It will provide southern, eastern and central China with a shortcut to bypass the Malacca Strait.

The above is the win-win cooperation with the countries concerned in exploiting their geographical resources related to location and connection.

BRI for Labor Resources
Economically, labor resources are more important for China’s economic growth as labor costs have been rising and may further rise due to China’s desire to improve its people’s living standards.

US trade war has heightened the urgency for China to move its labor-intensive industries to countries along Silk Road with low labor costs. US high tariffs on Chinese export do not affect the exports of the products made by the Chinese industries that have relocated in Silk Road economic belt.

There are large populations in South and Southeast Asian countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, etc. that may provide China with lots of labor at quite low costs. While China is anxious to move its labor-intensive industries to those countries to reduce labor costs and avoid US tariff hikes, the above-mentioned Asian countries are anxious to attract China’s labor-intensive industries. As a result, there has been BRI win-win cooperation between China and those countries in building industrial zones and moving industries to the zones.

For example on April 4, 2018 China’s State-owned China Harbour Engineering Company and the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone Authority (BSEZA) have signed a contract to set up a joint venture industrial zone near Chattergong for China to move its labor-intensive industries into Bangladesh. According to the contract the Chinese company will hold 70% share of the zone.

On September 9, 2018 Myanmar signed with China a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of China-Myanmar Economic Corridor. The corridor will be T-shaped. It contains an economic corridor from Ruili, China through Mandalay, Myanmar to the port of Pyaukpyu that China has been building for Myanmar and an economic corridor from Mandalay to Yangon, former capital of Myanmar. Myanmar will build industrial zones in Mandalay and Myitkyina in China-Myanmar Economic Corridor to attract Chinese industries.

US Lies for Creation of a Rival Hegemon for Control of Asian Nations
As mentioned above, quite a few Asian countries that have grown rich due to US exports US industries and capital to exploit their labor resources. They become prosperous due to their capitalist system. During the Cold War, Soviet spread of communism to replace their capitalism scared them and caused them to be close to the US and even US allies for protection.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was not so urgent need for protection. Gradually, there is a trend of those countries severing their alliance with or even distancing themselves from the US as US control did no please them.

For example, before the Soviet Union collapsed, most Southeast Asian nations were US allies but now only the Philippines remains US ally. What worries the US most is that even its traditional ally for decades the Philippines is now distancing itself from it and seeking closer relations with China.

From its own experience the US knows Chinese exports of industries and capital may bring prosperity to receiving countries. It may cause them to be close to China and distance themselves from the US. In addition, China has been switching to creation-, innovation- and consumption-led economic growth. It will be able to export products of higher technology to those countries and provide China’s vast market for them as its people’s consumption grows. As a result, unlike the US, China will be able to maintain close economic ties with those countries for a long time.

Now, the US needs China to become a country like the Soviet Union so as to scare those countries away from China and make them turn to the US for protection.

Though China does not pursue communism nor wants to spread communism like the Soviet Union, the rise of a new power may be dangerous for nearby countries. Therefore, the US and Western media close to it have been busy in spreading the lies about BRI being debt traps, colonialism and pursuit of geopolitical influence. They think that such lies may make others believe that China is a rising rival hegemon like the Soviet Union and that China’s BRI is a trick to seduce others to fall into China’s “debt traps” and is China’s colonialism aimed at controlling them.

However lies are after all lies. The lie about Sri Lanka’s forced lease of the port of Hambantota has soon been broken by the disclosure by the Chinese listed company and Sri Lanka government of the truth. As a result, recently Bangladesh and Myanmar are enthusiastic in participating participate in BRI. Even Italy, aWestern developed country, does not want to be left behind.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.

And now, a ship that can mine 39,000 tons of ore from a mile under water

There are giant robots involved.

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer April 30, 2018

Deep Sea Nautilus
The Deep Sea Nautilus is the world’s first dedicated underwater mining platform that can operate underwater robots.
Nautilus Minerals

Last month in China, the Mawei Shipyards launched the Deep Sea Nautilus, the world’s first ship designed for mining deepwater seabeds.

The Deep Sea Nautilus is a 745-foot-long megaship capable of carrying 39,000 tons of ore—plus a 200-person crew and deep-sea mining robots. Nautilus Minerals, which owns the ship, plans to start gold and copper mining in the Solwara I, a mile-deep site in the coastal waters of Papua New Guinea.

Crush, pulverize, and pump
The two underwater robots at left are for preparing and extracting ore from seabed deposits. The robot on furthest left mixes the pulverized minerals with seawater into a slurry that’s pumped up to the Deep Sea Nautilus, which would be floating on the surface a mile above.
Nautilus Minerals

Nautilus Minerals is a Canadian company with an ambitious deep-sea mining plan, centered around high-tech underwater robots that wouldn’t look totally out of place in Star Wars. This February the company successfully tested its line-up of three robots at depths of 1,500 meters, or about 0.93 miles, or about 4900 feet.

Two robots are purpose-built for preparing and pulverizing the metal rich seabed; a third robot will mix the pulverized ore into a slurry, to be pumped up to the Deep Sea Nautilus for further processing.

A giant
Nautilus’s robots, like this excavator, are just as large as their land counterparts, but fully automated and designed to operate under in deep waters.
Nautilus Minerals

Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group, a Chinese copper company, will be the first buyer of Nautilus Minerals’ ore. This kind of purchase further indicates ambitions for large-scale deep-sea operations by Chinese firms. Chinese mining companies already hold three mining licenses in the Pacific Ocean from the International Seabed Authority, while railroad equipment maker China Railroad Corporation purchased Soil Mechanics Dynamic, a leading manufacturer of underwater mining and construction equipment.

Qianlong III
On April 20, the Qianlong III dove to depths of 3,900 meters—or about 2.4 miles—to investigate the seabed and deep-sea wildlife.

China’s deep-sea mining would enable the nation to maintain sovereign control over strategic resources like copper and rare earth minerals. Activities in international waters would also extend Chinese commercial presence in the global commons as well as further solidify Chinese claims to waters in the East and South China Seas. And, of course, the vast amount of oceangraphic data gathered by deep sea mining could prove useful to military operations like submarine and anti-submarine warfare.

Peter Warren Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. He has been named by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues. He was also dubbed an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Jeffrey is a national security professional in the greater D.C. area.

Source: Popular Science “And now, a ship that can mine 39,000 tons of ore from a mile under water”

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

China’s Third Round of Peaceful Economic Expansion

In my post “China’s Second Round of Economic Expansion” yesterday, I regard overseas Chinese’ economic successes in Southeast Asia as China’s first round of peaceful economic expansion. From that perspective, I regard Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Silk Road economic belt and 21st century Silk Road initiative (Belt and Road) as China’s second round of economic expansion. However, whether China or Xi Jinping regards the initiative as China’s peaceful economic expansion is another question. I only make my judgment from the potential outcome of the initiative.

If China succeeds in building infrastructures to enable a country’s economic growth, Chinese people with financial resources will certainly go there to exploit the opportunities provided by the infrastructures. Through win-win cooperation, they will make local people as well as themselves rich but they shall not use their economic strength to control the politics of that country. They shall observe the law and respect the political system, culture, norms and customs there.

However, if local people discriminate or even oppress the Chinese there ungratefully out of jealousy the Chinese will have the support of their motherland.

China’s defense white paper says that China develops its navy to protect its interests abroad. If there is a repetition of massacre of overseas Chinese like what happened in Indonesia and Malaysia in the past, China shall certainly send its troops to protect the overseas Chinese there.

Even if Chinese people cannot go to the country or are not successful there, China will still obtain peaceful economic expansion as its trade with that country will grow as the country will have achieved economic growth due to the infrastructures.

The practice of a country wants win-win cooperation to benefit itself as well as others when it becomes a superpower seems quite not understandable for some of my readers. They misinterpret my view that China shall not export its political system as non involvement or non intervention.

They seem to believe that when a country has become a superpower, it shall involve or intervene in other countries’ politics or be world police. Some are so obsessed with military approaches that even regard economic cooperation as non involvement. They believe economic involvement to help other countries lift their people out of poverty is non involvement and only military involvement is involvement.

However, it is natural that they do not understand me as what I hope a superpower shall do is unprecedented.

However unprecedented, I believe China will go its own way to benefit itself while benefiting others.

Therefore, from what China is doing and has been advocating, I believe that there will be China’s third and fourth rounds of peaceful economic expansion in the future.

We see that while China is carrying out its Belt and Road projects, it is conducting research and development of the technologies to turn its deserts into farmland and habitable areas. China has 1.28 million square km deserts. Its economy will expand greatly if it masters the technologies to transform its deserts.

It costs billions of dollars to obtain such technologies. However, such costs is but a fraction of what the US has spent in conquering Iraq and Afghanistan, but the US still cannot keep the land it occupied for some time as US land.

The irony is that in spite of the huge costs, the US will be satisfied to withdraw safely its troops from there.

Even if the US were able to take both of them, the US still would have to spend billions of dollars to transform their land as Iraq consists mostly of desert while Afghanistan, barren mountains. It is simply not worthwhile for the US to spend more than $1 trillion to take the two countries. Besides, the US has to spend more to keep its influence there though unable to take them as US territories.

The 1.24 million square km deserts are China’s own. China only needs to incur the costs of transformation with no need of military spending to keep them.

As one third of the land on earth is desert, if China has mastered the technologies to transform desert, it will be much welcome by countries with deserts for win-win cooperation in transforming deserts and thus be greatly benefited.

Moreover, the area of sea is even greater. China has about 3 million square km in the South China Sea left down by Chinese ancestors as China’s precious legacy. The US tried to deprive China of the legacy by forcing it to accept the arbitration award from the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague claiming it is an award based on international law. Some media even tried to make people believe that the arbitration court is a UN organization but the UN denied that as soon as the said court issued its ruling.

If the court were a UN organization, the winner of the arbitration the Philippines would be able to ask the UN Security Council for enforcement. That is the usual practice when a country has obtained a verdict from UN’s World Court of Justice. Since the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague is not a UN agency, the Philippines certainly cannot ask the UN to do anything to help it.

Without UN legal support, the US could but send two aircraft carrier battle groups to threaten China into accepting the award, but China responded with its determination to fight a war to protect its rights and interests. The US, being unwilling to fight for the Philippines’ interests, had to withdraw its aircraft carriers.

China is now free to conduct sea-bottom mining and extract the energy resources from the deep sea bottom in the South China Sea. It has been developing the technology and equipment to do so, which it can use to conduct win-win sea-bottom mining and energy exploitation with other countries. Especially, China is conducting research and development of the technology to exploit fire ice from under ocean floor. China has already succeeded in test exploitation of fire ice from deep sea floor in the South China Sea. With further research and development, China will master the technology to conduct win-win cooperation with other countries in not only sea-bottom mining and oil and gas exploitation but even fire ice exploitation.

It may even obtain permission from the UN to conduct sea-bottom mining and exploit fire ice under international waters. It certainly has to share with the UN or the countries nearby for the benefits from such exploitation. However, it will certainly be the major beneficiary.

We can see China’s intention of peaceful economic expansion in that respect from its efforts to establish good relations with Pacific and Indian Ocean island states. (See my post “China’s Maritime Silk Road through the Pacific to South America” on June 15.) The 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zones of those countries are quite enough for China to cooperate with them in sea-bottom mining and energy exploitation.

I only can foresee the economic expansion in transforming deserts and exploiting sea-bottom resources. There may certainly be other kinds of the expansion I cannot foresee. However, China’s third peaceful economic expansion through win-win cooperation in transforming deserts and exploiting sea-bottom resources alone will enable China to become much richer than any other countries in the world.

Economic expansion through win-win cooperation will be the order of the day.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.

China Making Manned Submersible to Dive to 10,000 Meters Depth

SCMP says in its report yesterday titled “Key work finished on Chinese submersible to carry humans to greater depths” that previously China built two manned submersibles that have dived to 4,500 meters and 7,000 meters below sea level and now it is building a new one to dive to 10,000 meters according to CCTV report yesterday.

The manned sphere is being made of titanium to withstand the great pressure at such a depth. Officials of the manufacturer Baoji Titanium Industry said that it was the first time titanium had been used to make a personnel sphere for a submersible.

Wang Dingchun, the company’s deputy general manager, told the broadcaster that the metal was more flexible and the company is able to make titanium alloy that is “almost corrosion-free”.

The report says, “The sphere is being made in two halves that will be welded together with just one seam to make it more solid. Traditionally there are more pieces involved.” Test dive of the submersible will be conducted at the world’s deepest Mariana Trench in three years.

Such deep-sea submersible will facilitate China’s sea bottom mining and its technology will be very useful for China in developing the most advanced submarine.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at

China’s Homegrown 4500m Manned Submersible Passes Pool Test

China’s homegrown 4,500-meter manned submersible. Photo taken from CCTV footage.

On May 28, CCTV prime time news gives a short footage of the all-process pool test of a 4,500-meter manned submersible developed by China independently. The above two photos of the submersible are taken from the footage.

CCTV says that China makes more than 90% of the parts of the submersible including such core parts as the cabin and buoyancy material.

The submersible has successfully passed the all-process pool test and will undergo sea test in July.

Note: Such deep-sea submersible will be very useful for exploration of minerals on sea bottom. China is making real efforts to conduct sea-bottom mining.

In addition, the technology related to such submersible is also very useful for the military in submarine warfare.

Source: CCTV “4500m manned submersible completed pool test” (summary and comment by Chan Kai Yee on the report in Chinese).

China Developing 11,000-meter Submersible

Jiaolong submersible

Jiaolong submersible

According to Bejing Evening News, in a interview with its reporter, Cui Weicheng, first deputy chief engineer of Jiaolong submersible, said: China has not yet gone to the greatest depth, which is what we will work for at the next stage. At present we are doing the research for a new generation of submersible that can dive to the depth of 11,000 meters.

He also said that great efforts are being made to reduce the cost of the submersible and enable China to produce more than 90% of the parts of Jiaolong submersible instead of 60% at present.

According to him, Jiaolong costs 500 million yuan ($81.6 million) to build and each dive costs one million yuan ($163,000).

The designed life of Jiaolong is 30 years but if the cabin that carries people is in good conditions, it can be used forever, though different parts have their respective different lives.

According to the design, the maximum number of dives Jiaolong can do is 100. When 100 dives have been conducted, an assessment has to be made with respect to the conditions of the submersible for further use.

As for usage of the submersible, Cui said it is used for marine research and preparations for sea bottom mining.

Source: Beijing Evening News “Depute chief engineer of Jiaolong Submersible: China is developing 11,000-meter submersible” (Summary translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)