India, China launch joint training for Afghanistan, plan more projects


Sanjeev Miglani October 15, 2018

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India and China launched a program on Monday to train Afghan diplomats and China’s ambassador said it would likely be followed by joint programs in other fields to help war-torn Afghanistan.

Such cooperation is the first by the two Asian giants which have long been locked in a tussle for influence in a region stretching from Nepal to Sri Lanka and the island chain of the Maldives.

Within Afghanistan, India and the China have been on opposite sides with China relying on its old ally Pakistan as it seeks to stabilize Afghanistan by various means, including brokering talks to end the Taliban insurgency.

India, on the other hand, has invested billions of dollars in economic projects and training of military officers to strengthen the Afghan government in its fight against the Taliban.

For its part, Pakistan sees the expansive diplomacy in Afghanistan by its old rival, India, as a way to encircle it.

China’s ambassador to India said the joint training of 10 Afghan diplomats at the Indian Foreign Service Institute was the first step in China-India-Afghanistan cooperation that was agreed at a summit between President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year.

“This is just the beginning. China and India have respective advantages. For example, India has remarkable edge in agriculture and medical services, and China in hybrid rice and poverty reduction,” the ambassador, Luo Zhaohui, said in a speech.

“I am sure that in the future days China-India cooperation in Afghanistan will span from training program to more concrete projects.”

Modi and Xi agreed to handle long-standing political differences peacefully at their summit in China, just months after a dispute over a stretch of their Himalayan border near the tiny state of Bhutan rekindled fears of war.

Luo said India-China cooperation in Afghanistan should be extended to countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Myanmar and even Iran.

In many of these countries, China is helping to build infrastructure as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which India sees as a bid by China to expand its influence.

China’s call for partnership comes just a week after its embassy in New Delhi said India and China must deepen their cooperation to fight trade protectionism, as it criticized the United States for what it termed provoking disputes.

Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Robert Birsel

Source: Reuters “India, China launch joint training for Afghanistan, plan more projects”

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

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Why Is Xi Happy at Trump’s Tariff Hikes? 2


I had a post on October 1 titled “On September 28, I had a post “Why Is Xi Happy at Trump’s Tariff Hikes?” on my judgment that Xi is Happy at Tariff Hikes,

I cannot say my judgment is 100% correct as I am not close to Xi nor to those Xi confides to. My judgment is based on what difficulties Xi faces and what Trump is doing to help Xi overcome his difficulties.

The greatest difficulties Xi faces is the obstacles to his further reform to switch from export- and investment-geared economic growth to innovation-, creation and consumption-geared growth. Only by carrying out such further reform can China attain its two centenary goals to make China a moderately prosperous society by 2021, and a modern prosperous and strong socialist country by 2049.

However, for many export-oriented enterprises, that will be a hard transformation. Most of them have to switch to production of technology intensive instead of labor intensive production or move to countries or regions with cheap labor where living conditions are poor.

Now, Trump’s tariff hikes will force Chinese enterprises to carry Xi’s reform. Xi’s self-reliance means Chinese enterprises shall no longer rely or export market especially the US market. They shall rely on themselves to obtain high technology for production of technology intensive products. That is the first meaning of self-reliance the international pressure is forcing Chinese enterprises to adopt.

Secondly, when Chinese enterprises are able to produce high-tech products, China will no longer depend on imports of such products. That will be the second meaning of Xi’s self-reliance.

Xi is happy that Trump is forcing Chinese to work harder in carrying out his reform. If China succeeds in its switch to innovation-, creation- and consumption-geared economic growth, China will certainly attain the centenary goal. Then by 2019, China will be larger and more advanced than the US. Xi is happy that Trump is helping China achieve that.


Why Is Xi Happy at Trump’s Tariff Hikes?


On September 28, I had a post “Xi Happy at Tariff Hikes, Trump Furious to Place All-round Pressure” as my comment on SCMP’s report “Xi Jinping says trade war pushes China to rely on itself and ‘that’s not a bad thing’” on September 26 and Reuters’ report “Trump’s election meddling charge against China marks U.S. pressure campaign” on September 28.

SCMP quotes Xi as saying “Internationally, it’s becoming more and more difficult [for China] to obtain advanced technologies and key know-how. Unilateralism and trade protectionism are rising, forcing us to adopt a self-reliant approach. This is not a bad thing.” It is based on People’s Daily’s report but People’s Daily’s those passages are not direct quotes from Xi.

As what Xi said concerning the trade war between the US and China is very important, I carefully watched CCTV’s footage, transcribed and translated in full what Xi says as shown on CCTV screen as follows:

A hundred-mile journey is half completed at ninety miles. In attaining our two century-goals, we are now closer to success than any other time, but are also encountering so many challenges and difficulties that we have never encountered at any other time. Internationally, unilateralism and protectionism are rising, which are forcing us to rely on ourselves, to follow the path of self-reliance. That is not a bad thing. Disaster lurks within good fortune; good fortune accompanies disaster. Ultimately, China has to rely on itself.

The last sentence is a quote of a well-know saying from Chapter 58 of Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” in reverse order. What Lao Tzu says is “Good fortune accompanies disaster; disaster lurks within good fortune.”

Why does Xi quote in reverse order?

Xi was aware of the lurking disaster when China is enjoying good fortune due to West’s especially America’s fear of China’s rise. He has been carrying out Belt and Road initiative and Made in China 2025 as his ways to counter the coming challenges and difficulties. True enough Trump’s trade war has given rise to the challenges and difficulties mentioned in his speech. However, he is confident that with self-reliance, China will have the good fortune that accompanies the disaster.

He is happy at the tariff hikes as he foresee the good fortune that will accompany the disastrous trade war.

Note that he did not say “Internationally, it’s becoming more and more difficult [for China] to obtain advanced technologies and key know-how.” People’s Daily does not say that is what it directly quotes from Xi, but SCMP regards it as a direct quote from Xi in its report.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on CCTV’s report on Xi’s words related to trade war. CCTV’s footage in Chinese can be viewed at http://tv.cctv.com/2018/09/28/VIDEMjb1NGXmqSB9oZeSsB3H180928.shtml


Xi Happy at Tariff Hikes, Trump Furious to Place All-round Pressure


We have two very interesting reports on US-China trade war. The first is SCMP’s report titled “Xi Jinping says trade war pushes China to rely on itself and ‘that’s not a bad thing’” on September 26.

The report quotes Xi as saying, “Internationally, it’s becoming more and more difficult [for China] to obtain advanced technologies and key know-how. Unilateralism and trade protectionism are rising, forcing us to adopt a self-reliant approach. This is not a bad thing.”

By trade protectionism, Xi obviously refers to Trump’s trade war attacks at China.

However, Xi did not stop at technology self-reliance. The report quotes him as saying that China was a big country which must “depend on itself for food supply, depend on itself for economic development, and depend on itself for manufacturing”.

Now food ranks first in Xi’s self-reliance. It means Xi is determined to free China from its dependence on US exports of agricultural products. Sorry, US farmers.

Trump thought he would have brought China down to its knees by his high pressure of tariff hikes. Xi’s firm response, the first ever of Xi’s response to Trump’s trade war, makes Trump furious. Trump sees that he has limited ammunition in tariff hikes. What if he has imposed tariff hikes on all Chinese goods but still fail to subdue China?

He has to find other means. That is reflected in Reuters’ report today titled “Trump’s election meddling charge against China marks U.S. pressure campaign”. It says that according to senior US officials, Trump’s “accusation of Chinese meddling in upcoming U.S. elections marks a new phase in an escalating pressure campaign against Beijing that Washington is pursuing on multiple fronts”

The accusation is not supported by any evidence. Reuters says, “The only specific action by China that Trump cited was that it was ‘placing propaganda ads’ in U.S. newspapers, referring to a Chinese government-run media company’s four-page supplement in the Sunday Des Moines Register promoting the mutual benefits of U.S.-China trade.

The ad may has some influence on Iowa farmers but Reuters says, “However, the practice of foreign governments buying space in U.S. newspapers to promote trade is common and differs from a clandestine operation run by a national intelligence agency.”

Trump’s accusation proves what US senior officials said about Trump, being furious, resorting to all-round pressure on China to force it to surrender.

It is also proved by recent flights of US B-52 bombers in East and South China Seas, US planned sale of weapons to Taiwan, etc.

In my previous posts I said that a soldier may fight with emotion but a commander must fight with wisdom. It seems that Trump is now fighting with emotion while Xi, with wisdom. Trump’s accusation, B-52 flights and weapons sales to Taiwan cannot hurt China but Xi’s self-reliance may hit the US hard.

Tariff hikes are but frontal confrontation, according to Sun Tzu’s teaching, to win the war China shall have ingenious surprise move. Now, self-reliance is Xi’s ingenious surprise move.

Xi wants China to rely on itself in food, manufacture and technology. If so China will not import food, airliners, electronics, chips, etc. from the US. With self-reliance on China’s huge market, China will no longer rely on its exports to the US. Then what will be the use of tariff hikes?

Xi’s self-reliance will ensure Trump’s failure in trade war.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP and Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/2165860/xi-jinping-says-trade-war-pushes-china-rely-itself-and-thats and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china/trumps-election-meddling-charge-against-china-marks-u-s-pressure-campaign-idUSKCN1M72VQ.


Will Xi Succeed in Replacing US with African Market


Most Western politicians and media and even some Chinese web users regard Chinese President Xi Jinping’s generous aids to Africa as a repetition of European old and American neo colonialists’ tricks to exploit Africa.

Is Xi so stupid as to repeat those aggressors’ blunders? Sorry, their hope for China to have a stupid leader has long been broken especially now.

Xi is investing heavily in Africa in order to make it prosperous so that China will have a market in Africa larger than the US. Weather he will succeed is uncertain, but since China has surplus funds to invest and Chinese investment is not welcome in developed world, Africa is a natural alternative destination for Chinese investment.

Who can foretell that China’s effort will be doomed? European colonists’ investments in their colonies in South East Asia have failed but Chinese businessmen have succeeded there because Chinese people have the skill to make the poor areas prosperous.

China’s investment in Africa may be successful in the long run to make prosperous Africa a market for China bigger than the US. That will be Western powers’ nightmare. That is why their politicians and media are making great efforts to vilify China’s investment there.

Their most stupid invention is China’s trick of “debt trap”. What can China get by drawing a poor country into a debt trap? To get its natural resources? Buying the resources will be much cheaper than giving generous loans unable to be repaid.

Obtaining political influence there? What is the use of such influence if it is devoid of economic interests? Can any poor African nation help China when it is attacked by a superpower with a military or trade war?

Now Reuters’ report “Botswana says China agreed to extend loan, cancel debt” provides the fact about China’s good and maybe wise intention in investing in Africa.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:

REUTERS
Botswana says China agreed to extend loan, cancel debt

September 9, 2018

GABORONE (Reuters) – China has agreed to extend a loan to Botswana for rail and road infrastructure as well as writing off some debt, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday.

Speaking at the airport on his return from this week’s China-Africa forum in Beijing, Masisi said Botswana had made a pitch to China and “I am happy to report that, judging from what President Xi Jinping told me, we were successful”.

In addition to the loan and a debt cancellation of 80 million pula, China has also offered a 340 million pula ($31 million) grant, he said.

“We got a little bit more than just the loan,” he told reporters.

He did not disclose the size of the loan, but last week the ministry of finance said Botswana was seeking a 12 billion pula ($1.09 billion) loan for transport infrastructure.

Botswana is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. Chinese companies, mostly state owned, are largely into construction in Botswana such as dams and roads.

The bulk of the loan is expected to fund the Mosetse-Kazungula railway line project, which will link the central part of Botswana to the tourism hub in the northwest.

The railway line will also promote regional trade as it will connect Botswana to Zambia via the Kazungula Bridge, currently under construction.

China’s Xi offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going toward “vanity projects”.

Speaking at the opening of the forum, Xi said the financing would include $15 billion in aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a $20 billion credit line, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa.

($1 = 10.9769 pulas)

Writing by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Clelia Oziel


Indirect Report on Freedom of Speech in China


SubChina is a US media focused on negative reports about China. However, its report about Chinese web users’ criticism of Chinese President’s generous aids to Africa in recent Forum of China-Africa Cooperation shows criticism to Xi is not censored on the Internet though it wants to give the impression that the criticism is rare so as to imply the criticism is a leak through censorship.

In fact, as recent Chinese leaders are very popular among Chinese people and have seldom committed mistakes, criticism is certainly rare.

I believe readers are able to make their analysis of what SubChina says in its report

Chinese internet sees Xi’s pledges as too generous

China pledge of $60bn Africa loans sparks anger / FT (paywall)

“The president’s largesse prompted rare criticism among Chinese on social media over why their government was not spending the money on them, with one blogger suggesting that $60bn could fund China’s cash-strapped ministry of education for three years.”

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SubChina’s report, full text can be viewed at https://supchina.com/2018/09/04/china-africa-forum-kicks-off-in-beijing/


China’s Xi offers another $60 billion to Africa, but says no to ‘vanity’ projects


Christian Shepherd, Ben Blanchard September 3, 2018

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa on Monday and wrote off some debt for poorer African nations, while warning against funds going toward “vanity projects”.

Speaking at the opening of a major summit with African leaders, Xi promised development that people on the continent could see and touch, but that would also be green and sustainable.

China has denied engaging in “debt trap” diplomacy, and Xi’s offer of more money comes after a pledge of another $60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago.

Xi, addressing leaders at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, said the new $60 billion will include $15 billion of aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of $20 billion, a $10 billion special fund for China-Africa development, and a $5 billion special fund for imports from Africa.

Chinese companies will be encouraged to invest no less than $10 billion in the continent in the next three years, he said.

Government debt from China’s interest free loans due by the end of 2018 will be written off for indebted poor African countries, as well as for developing nations in the continent’s interior and small island nations, Xi said.

“China-Africa cooperation must give Chinese and African people tangible benefits and successes that can be seen, that can be felt,” he said.

China will carry out 50 projects on green development and environmental protection in Africa, focusing on fighting climate change, desertification and wildlife protection, Xi said.

He pledged, without giving details, that China would set up a peace and security fund and a related forum, while continuing to provide free military assistance to the African Union.

Chinese officials have vowed to be more cautious to ensure projects are sustainable. China defends continued lending to Africa on the grounds that the continent still needs debt-funded infrastructure development.

Speaking earlier at a business forum, Xi said China had to be careful about where money was spent.

“China’s cooperation with Africa is clearly targeted at the major bottlenecks to development. Resources for our cooperation are not to be spent on any vanity projects but in places where they count the most,” he said.

Beijing has also fended off criticism it is only interested in resource extraction to feed its own booming economy, that the projects it funds have poor environmental safeguards, and that too many of the workers for them are flown in from China rather than using African labor.

‘AFRICA KNOWS BEST’

Chinese officials say this year’s summit will strengthen Africa’s role in Xi’s Belt and Road initiative to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa through an infrastructure network modeled on the old Silk Road.

Xi said the plan, for which Beijing has pledged $126 billion, would help provide more resources and facilities for Africa and would expand shared markets.

China loaned around $125 billion to the continent from 2000 to 2016, data from the China-Africa Research Initiative at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies shows.

State media has accused the West of sour grapes over China’s prominent role in Africa and has angrily rejected claims of forcing African countries into a debt trap.

“In terms of cooperation with China, African countries know best,” widely read tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Monday.

“Western media deliberately portray Africans in misery for collaborating with China and they appear to have discovered big news by finding occasional complaints in the African media about Sino-Africa cooperation,” it said.

Every African country is represented at the business forum apart from eSwatini, self-ruled Taiwan’s last African ally that has so far rejected China’s overtures to ditch Taipei and recognize Beijing.

African presidents in attendance include South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu and Gabon’s Ali Bongo.

There are some controversial guests.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power for nearly 30 years, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes over killings and persecution in Sudan’s Darfur province between 2003 and 2008.

Xi told him on Sunday that “foreign forces” should not interfere in Sudan’s internal affairs, China’s Foreign Ministry said. China is not a party to the court.

“China has always had reservations about the International Criminal Court’s indictment and arrest order against Sudan’s president. We hope the ICC can prudently handle the relevant issue,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Christian Shepherd, additional reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Paul Tait, Darren Schuettler and Himani Sarkar

Source: Reuters “China’s Xi offers another $60 billion to Africa, but says no to ‘vanity’ projects”

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