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Xinhua Commentary Claims Solving the Korean Peninsula Problem Requires “China‘s” Wisdom

After the PyeongChang Winter Olympics opened its “window,” the North-South Summit of the Peninsula and the DPRK-U.S. dialogue were announced. A commentary by China’s state media Xinhua stated that “the issue of the peninsula ushered in new opportunities, which are inseparable from China’s persistence and promotion.”

The commentary stated, “All parties, including the United States and South Korea, are fully aware that the current positive trend in the situation on the peninsula has benefited from China’s persistence. When the Korean peninsula was caught in a vicious cycle of ‘verbal attacks’ and ‘exhibiting muscles’ last year, when North Korea and the United States clamored and shouted at each other, China insisted on the ‘double suspension’ and ‘dual-track process’ approach, pointing out a reasonable direction to break the deadlock. The North-South and North Korea-American interactions after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics showed that as long as the ‘double suspension’ and ‘dual-track process’ were implemented, the situation on the peninsula would usher in a turning point.”

“On the peninsula issue, China has done a lot of work, provided a Chinese plan, and brought together all parties involved. Looking ahead, even though the dawn appeared at the end the tunnel, the settlement of the peninsula issue will not be an easy path. However, regardless of the way ahead, solving the peninsula problem cannot be separate from the wisdom of China and it is inseparable from China’s determination. China will, as always, play a unique role in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, urging all parties to talk and making the talks continue, hoping the talks will bring about a peaceful, stable, non-nuclear Korean Peninsula.”

Source: Xinhua, March 15, 2018

LTN: China’s One Belt One Road Plan Brought Economic Trouble to Eight Countries

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported on China’s grand One Belt One Road plan, which involves a potential investment total of US$8 trillion and involves 68 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. The report showed however, that it actually has brought an economic crisis to eight countries: Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Not long ago, the Center for Global Development (CGD) published its analysis on the impact of One Belt One Road. The analysis indicated that many countries developed significant dependency on China and their debt level increased significantly. For example, the African country Djibouti’s Chinese debts are now as large as 91 percent of its GDP. Another example is Pakistan’s development plan of its Port of Gwadar. Now China has pocketed around 91 percent of the Port’s income with only 9 percent left for Pakistan. The income was obtained significantly based on the deep tax cut that Pakistan offered. Sri Lanka had to rent its port city Hambantota to China for nearly one century due to the fact that the government could not pay back its debt (US$1 billion) to China.

Source: Liberty Times Network, March 6, 2018

Xinhua: Trade War Casts Shadow over EU-US Relationship

Xinhua recently published an analysis article discussing the intensified tough relationship between the European Union and the United States. As soon as U.S. President Trump announced the U.S. hike in the tariffs on steel and aluminum, the EU immediately described its counter measure to increase its tariffs on U.S. products such as Jeans and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. However, Trump responded with threats against EU automobiles. The EU then promised to hold a “firm position” on defending EU interests. The French President even confirmed the position to take the fight to the WTO. Germany, the nation having the largest surplus with the U.S. in the EU, stated that “protectionism is the wrong path.” However, the U.S. is the EU’s largest trade partner. Just for the automobile and parts industry, the EU has a near US$40 billion trade surplus. The EU may not want to engage in an actual trade war against the U.S. or at least hopes to contain the conflict to a manageable level. Chinese analysts expressed their belief that Germany may not agree with the EU Council on increasing tariffs. The EU should also worry that its counter measures may end up pushing the U.S. to leave the WTO – if Trump actually delivers on his campaign promises. This may cause a global chain reaction leading to greater chaos. At the moment, with the EU-US strategic alliance relationship still in place, trade conflicts could be the new norm between the two in the years to come.

Source: Xinhua, March 8, 2018

China Review News: Russia Cannot Achieve Its Return to Being a Great Power without Cooperation from China

China’s state-sponsored media, China Review News, published an article stating that Russia recently gave its people the impression that it is filled with calm and confidence as a big country; however, Russia can only become a global power  if, in the future, it cooperates with China.

The article stated, “Look at the timeline over a longer period. Russia has not yet stepped out of the slow recession that occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Russian economy, which relied on abundant resources, has not had breakthroughs for a long time. Russia has a vast territory and fertile land. It is one of the few countries in the world with large resources. Russia, however, lags far behind developed countries in Europe and America in terms of industrial modernization.

“Putin positioned Russia as a Eurasian country and sought to find a way out from its role as a bridge connecting Asia and Europe. The situation of the Eurasian continent has undergone great changes in the past 20 years. At what speed and in what form China will exert its influence on the Eurasian continent is a major issue that is related to Russia’s national fate.

“President Putin is a realist. The border line between Russia and China is as long as 4,300 kilometers. Judging from the gap in economic strength between the two sides, Russia has been unable to compete with China. What is more, China is the most important buyer of Russian oil and natural gas. In the diplomatic field, in order to compete with the United States, China is an indispensable partner.

“In the future, Russia can only become a global power by cooperating with China. Therefore, cooperation with China is the way for Russia to survive as a Eurasian country.”

Source: China Review News, March 7, 2018

Li Shufu Became the Largest Shareholder of Daimler

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, based on official government documents dated February 23, Li Shufu, founder and chairman of China’s Geely Automobile, acquired 9.69 percent (around US$9 billion) of German automaker Daimler AG, thus becoming its largest shareholder. Daimler is one of the world’s top ten automakers, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, and the world’s second largest truck manufacturer. It is also famous for its Mercedes-Benz product line. Geely Automobile is China’s largest privately-owned automaker. Li Shufu, currently also the owner of Volvo, described his strategic vision as forming an alliance with Daimler to become the “final two or three” automakers that will dominate the global market in the future. Daimler did not disclose whether Li will be on the Board of the company or not. However, Brigitte Zypries, Minister for Economics and Energy in the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, commented on February 26, that the German government will look carefully into this deal and will seek an explanation from Daimler. She expressed the concern that it is troublesome to see Daimler have a competitor sit in its Board of Supervisors.

(1) Sina, February 24, 2016
(2) Reuters Chinese, February 26, 2016

Russian Energy Expert: Power of Siberia Natural Gas Pipeline Project Was a Costly Mistake

According to an article that Radio Free Asia published, Mikhail Krutikhin, a Russian expert with 25 years of experience in the energy field, recently stated that the Power of Siberia, the natural gas pipeline under construction in Eastern Siberia, represents the complete failure of Putin’s Asia policy. Krutikhin’s comments indicated that, as Beijing is abandoning Russia as a supplier of natural gas and has turned to the U.S. for natural gas imports, the official project launch date in May of 2019, would be postponed. Even if it weren’t postponed, the total volume would be less than the original projection. Power of Siberia, which is worth US$4 billion is a natural gas project for which an agreement was signed in May 2014. Due to Beijing’s lack of trust, Putin didn’t build a pipeline that directly connected to the pipeline from China but rather built a pipeline for China that was part of the pipeline that expands around the Russia-China border connecting to Vladivostok. Unlike what was officially communicated, the current project has two pipelines. One of them has a source of natural gas which is almost depleted and the other one does not even have a customer. The timing, however, is ironic in that, just when the Siberia natural gas pipeline project was about to be completed, the U.S. succeeded in its shale oil technology and China turned to the U.S. for its natural gas, which increased its domestic natural gas supply. The article stated that, meanwhile, oil prices have continued to be weak, which means that Russia may not be able to recover its investment on this project.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 28, 2018

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