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Geo-Strategic Trend

“One Belt One Road” Project Suffers Serious Setback as Neighboring Countries Withdraw

VOA recently published an article reporting that, in the past few weeks, Pakistan, Nepal, and Myanmar have confirmed their withdrawal from three major water and electricity projects which are worth US$20 billion. This has created a serious setback for China’s “One Belt One Road” project’s progress. Pakistan cited China’s tough financing terms as the reason for it to withdraw from the US$14 million Diamer-Bhasha Dam project. The Vice Prime Minister of Nepal announced the country’s withdraw from a water and electricity project worth US$2.5 billion because of the Chinese company’s violation of accounting rules. Myanmar announced last month that it has no interest in resuming the US$3.6 billion dam project it withdrew from three years ago. The article stated that even though there are political or economic reasons behind these decisions, these less developed countries are more and more clear that the these infrastructure projects that China initiated are too costly. When asked about the comments about Pakistan and Nepal’s withdrawal from the “One Belt One Road” projects, the spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs office said that he was not made aware of the news and China and Nepal maintain a good relationship.

Source: VOA, December 4, 2017

The Reason behind the Abdication of the Japanese Emperor

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently summarized a discussion and a commentary that appeared on Chinese Central Television (CCTV) on the topic of the Japanese Emperor’s abdication. In addition to the typical age discussion, CCTV focused on the fact that the sitting Emperor may be in disagreement with Japanese Prime Minister Abe on the agenda for amending the constitution. The article mentioned that the Emperor has consistently talked about the “deep reflection” needed in Japanese society over many years and he has never set foot in the Yasukuni Shrine. The CCTV commentary quoted the “Japanese media” which called the Emperor a “strong protector of the constitution.” Prime Minister Abe is widely considered to be an “amendment advocate.” Given the strong influence the Emperor has, those who want to amend the constitution have tried very hard to push the Emperor to support their agenda. CCTV noted that, apparently, their agenda is against the will of the Emperor.

Source: Sina, December 1, 2017

Huanqiu Opinion: China has Fulfilled Its Responsibilities. It Is time for the U.S. and South Korea to Pay for Their Trouble

On December 2, Huanqiu published an opinion article about China’s role in dealing with North Korea. Below are some of the key points from the article.

China is still one of the few countries that, to date, has insisted on maintaining a friendly policy toward North Korea. Even though China has participated in the sanctions that the United Nations has imposed against North Korea, China remains as North Korea’s largest trade partner. During a number of UN Security Council debates, China has strongly opposed total economic sanctions against North Korea. China has stressed that the sanctions should only target the department or areas that are related to its nuclear projects and shouldn’t impact the livelihood of the North Korean people. In order not to make the North Korean people suffer from the sanctions, China has endured tremendous pressure from the U.S. and the western media.

China has done all it can for the U.S. The root cause of the North Korean nuclear crisis is the worsened hostile relationship between the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea. The mentality that (the remedy) is “China’s responsibility” is wrong. China has fulfilled its responsibility to impose sanctions against North Korea as defined in the UN Security Council resolution. As a result, we have sacrificed the relationship between China and North Korea. The U.S. and South Korea have not fulfilled their responsibility to ease the tension and promote a dialogue with North Korea. They put most of their hope on China to force North Korea to change its position.

For a period of time, the U.S. has somewhat threatened China to get China to increase sanctions against North Korea. China has done its best to excise patience in negotiating with the U.S. on our position. In the fierce conflicts between the U.S. and North Korea, China has played a key role which has prevented the situation from breaking down. As the U.S. is increasing its pressure on North Korea, it is unquestionable to believe that the loss that China will suffer will be tremendous.

As the Korean Peninsula conflict escalates to another level, most of the pressure will continue to shift to China. However, to the U.S. and South Korea: please be clear. You created this trouble so you must take the responsibility. China can’t bear that for you.

North Korea continues to violate the UN Security Council Resolution and launched a ballistic missile. It should be prepared for more sanctions. China has no reason to pay for their mistake and bear the responsibility for them. Regardless of what mistakes North Korea has made, it is wrong to impose complete economic sanctions or discontinue the diplomatic relationship and isolate North Korea. China has no responsibility to cooperate with the U.S. to fulfill this unrealistic plan. The U.S. has no command power over China and the UN Security Council.

Pyongyang should be more and more clear that, as long as it continues to conduct nuclear tests, China will not help it to be spared from future punishment. The chances that a war might break out in the Korean Peninsula are growing, but whether a war will start or not is not dependent on what China will do. The big policy for China is to maintain its independence, encourage the Security Council to come up with a reasonable policy and not give in to the excessive requests from the U.S. and South Korea.

If the situation suddenly gets even worse, China would have to deal with it.

Source: Huanqiu, December 2, 2017

The Philippines Invited Chinese Companies into Its Mobile Communications Market

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that Harry Roque, the spokesperson for the Philippine President, confirmed at a press conference that Chinese mobile communications companies were officially invited to enter the Philippines domestic market. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally extended the invitation when he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang not long ago. This is a special rights authorization to establish a third mobile communications company in the Philippines. The authorization not only includes cellular operation rights but also allows Internet connection services. It is still unclear which Chinese communications company will be the one entering this new market. The Presidential Office expects the Chinese application to be submitted in 45 days. Not long ago, the Philippines granted a U.S. Facebook company rights to take on the Trans-Pacific Cable project.

Source: Sina, November 20, 2017

Duowei News: Why Kim Jong-un Refused to Meet Xi’s Delegate

According to an analytical article that Duowei News published, the delegate who Xi Jinping sent to North Korea returned back to Beijing on November 20. There are four possible reasons for Kim Jong-un not meeting with Xi’s delegate.

1) Japanese Nikkei reported that, according to an anonymous source, the first reason that Kim Jong-un took a stance against meeting the delegate was because the level of the delegate was too low; the second was because China cooperates with the U.S. and the United Nations to exercise economic sanctions against North Korea.

2) Another analysis suggested that Kim Jong-un was extremely upset that Xi’s delegate visited Vietnam and Laos first before coming to North Korea. In the past, the Chinese delegate would always visit North Korea before visiting other countries. Kim Jong-un was also unable to accept the fact that Xi Jinping extended warm hospitality toward Trump during his visit while Kim only received a letter from Xi. As of that time, the leaders of these two countries had never officially met.

3) The media from China and North Korea had different coverage about the visit. North Korean media reported that Xi’s delegate offered a gift to Kim Jong-un but Kim Jong-un did not accept it. Also, the delegate had a dinner banquet with high ranking officials from North Korea during the visit. China’s official media did not report any of this.

4) An article that China’s mouthpiece, Huanqiu, published on November 18 suggested that people shouldn’t have high expectations for this visit. According to the article, “The delegate is not a magician. … He simply helped by knocking on the door so it would open, but it could close at any time.”

Source: Duowei News, November 21, 2017

LTN: China’s “The Belt and Road” Plan Faces Many Real-World Challenges

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that China’s grand plan of “The Belt and Road,” which started in 2013, is now facing difficulties across the board. The US$1 trillion investment plan in 65 countries is being challenged in its implementation phase. Many processes have been disrupted by rebels, autocracy, political stability issues and legal challenges such as land ownership disputes. For example, The Jakarta section of the Indonesian high-speed railway hasn’t started construction since 2015 {when Indonesia awarded the rail project to China}. The construction of the railway from China to Singapore got stuck in Thailand due to labor movements. Debates over the high cost have slowed down the Laos section of the same railroad. The construction of the Cooperation Center at the border between China and Kazakhstan received complaints from the locals for benefiting only the Chinese. The new political leader of Kyrgyzstan has now stopped the railway from China to Uzbekistan. Even the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is being disrupted as rebels along the way have blown up natural gas pipelines and trains. Chinese engineers were also attacked.

Source: LTN, November 14, 2017

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