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Thread: CPEC and Developments

  1. #256
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Long term such road/rail projects could also significantly ease the problems China has in moving heavy military equipment around on the India-Chinese frontier.
    So now the Indians have finally decided they too need to build roads to the border. Just to make policing easier. Right now its far easier for the Chinese to reach the border.

    Still, the mountains do present a significant barrier to the PLA. Just like the geography of Indonesia does to the PLAN

  2. #257
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    From last November. A caretaker govt scrapped the project because of lack of transparency. How is nepal to repay a $2.5bn project. The Paks had to scrap the idea as well with the Daimer Bhasha. The era of mega dams is over because it is unaffordable.

    Now after the elections Oli's govt wants to reconsider it but they are unlikely to come to a different conclusion

    How Nepal’s cancelled dam scheme highlights country’s big debate: ally with India or China? | ScMP | Nov 18 2017

    Decision to cancel infrastructure project throws focus onto internal divisions between pro-Beijing and pro-Delhi factions

    PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 November, 2017, 12:30pm

    The question of whether Nepal should go ahead with plans to build a dam with a Chinese firm has become entwined in the wider debate about whether the country should align itself with India or China.

    The Nepalese government indicated last week it would abandon the US$2.5 billion deal with Chinese state company China Gezhouba Group.

    The deal was signed in June during the administration of Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Maoist Centre party, but his government has since been replaced by an interim administration ahead of elections later this month.

    Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli – the chairman of the electoral bloc formed by Maoist Centre and the other main Communist group, the Unified Marxist-Leninists – warned against revoking the plan.

    “The issue here is about foreign investment and such decisions cannot be taken on a whim,” he said, as the polls for the November 26 provincial and federal elections showed his bloc to be taking the lead.

    The decision to scrap the project highlights Nepal’s divisions over how close the country should be to China, which has emerged as an alternative to its traditional ally India.

    Yet the country’s political instability, which has already seen four prime ministers come and go since it adopted a new constitution in September 2015, makes it even more difficult to strike the correct balance between the neighbouring Asian giants.

    Nepal’s political institutions emerged as part of the peace process to bring Maoist insurgents into the political mainstream following a long-running insurgency.

    The dam agreement, signed a few weeks after Nepal joined China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, was described by Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa as being made “in an irregular and thoughtless manner” when he first revealed the cabinet decision via Twitter on Monday.

    The formal decision to scrap the plan was announced by the Ministry of Energy on Friday.

    The plan has been criticised because a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese company was signed without an open bidding process as required by law.

    Rupak Sapkota, a researcher at Nepal Institute for Strategic Analyses, said the scrapping of the plan was the result of conflict between Nepalese political factions over their respective alignment with India and China.

    “Nepal is still trying to figure out a balanced position between India and China,” he said.

    He said the present Congress Party-led government – a transitional one formed ahead of the election – was known to be more pro-India and was trying to show loyalty to Delhi before, assuming the polls were correct, it was replaced by the more pro-China Maoist bloc.

    Yet, Madhav Das Nalapat, a geopolitics expert from India’s Manipal University, said the cancelling of the plan “is not reflective of domestic politics but of domestic economic imperatives”.

    He said China’s negotiation tactics when dealing with countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan mirrored the hard-headed approach of US or European Union companies rather than offering “friendly” terms and conditions.

    Water-rich Nepal has traditionally relied on India for technology and funding to meet its annual requirements of 1,400 megawatts.

    Should the project go ahead, the Budhi Gandaki dam – to be built about 50km west of Kathmandu – could generate 1,200MW.

    Sapkota said Nepal needed more hydroelectric power to help improve the lives of people as well as boost the economy. “We have been waiting for a long time,” he said.

    Domestic political divides over whether to engage with China’s belt and road plans to build an infrastructure network across Eurasia and into Africa are hardly exclusive to Nepal.

    This week Pakistan also decided to cancel the US$14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam with China because it could not accept the strict conditions.

    In 2015 the Sri Lankan government suspended work on a US$1.4 billion Colombo port deal made by a previous administration, as it faced criticism domestically for being too reliant on Chinese investment.

    However last year it decided to resume the project due to its falling foreign reserves.

    “Whenever India indicates discreetly that a ‘red line’ has been crossed in a South Asian country’s wooing of China, that country usually draws back rather than trigger a negative reaction from the largest South Asian power. The present government in Kathmandu is following such a line,” Nalapat said.

    Zhao Gancheng, head of South Asian studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said this had always been a challenge for China as it continued to increase its investments in developing countries.

    “China needs to protect itself more to guarantee that it is signing the deal with the whole country, not the person governing it at that moment,” Zhao said.

    “If Nepal shows that its priority is to cater to India whenever pressure is applied, China should be more aware of its own interests and take careful consideration before funding projects in the country in the future.”

    It's rumoured that India told Nepal if they go ahead with this dam that the electricity it generates should be sold to China as India wasn't interested in buying. India has tried to do hydro projects in Nepal but they've got no where. The record with Bhutan has been more successful
    Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Apr 18, at 17:30.

  3. #258
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    27 of the 28 (except Hungary) EU ambassadors to Beijing have signed a report that sharply criticizes Belt and Road: “runs counter to the EU agenda for liberalizing trade and pushes the balance of power in favor of subsidized Chinese companies.”

    https://global.handelsblatt.com/poli...lk-road-912258

    Euros see less opportunity to get contracts for local companies

  4. #259
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    What i missed from that article ? a map that shows Cal on the route and omits Gwadar by skirting around Balochistan. Wow!

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    Last edited by Double Edge; 26 Apr 18, at 20:14.

  5. #260
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Keep this in mind with any Chinese projects in Bangladesh. There will be no Hambantotas in Bangladesh

    Why Is Bangladesh Booming? | Project Syndicate | Apr 23 2018

    Another partial explanation for Bangladesh’s progress is the success of its garment manufacturing industry. That success is itself driven by a number of factors. One notable point is that the main garment firms in Bangladesh are large – especially compared to those in India, owing largely to different labor laws.

    All labor markets need regulation. But, in India, the 1947 Industrial Disputes Act imposes heavy restrictions on firms’ ability to contract workers and expand their labor force, ultimately doing more harm than good. The law was enacted a few months before the August 1947 independence of India and Pakistan from British imperial rule, meaning that both new countries inherited it. But Pakistan’s military regime, impatient with trade unions from the region that would become Bangladesh, repealed it in 1958.

    Thus, having been born without the law, Bangladesh offered a better environment for manufacturing firms to achieve economies of scale and create a large number of jobs. And though Bangladesh still needs much stronger regulation to protect workers from occupational hazards, the absence of a law that explicitly curtails labor-market flexibility has been a boon for job creation and manufacturing success.
    Modi has had no luck with reforming labour laws in India. His own BKS ally has been a major obstacle. Labour law reform & land reform has been just too big a fight
    Last edited by Double Edge; 27 Apr 18, at 13:06.

  6. #261
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Writeup on the recent incident with Chinese workers

    Emerging Strains in China-Pakistan Friendship.pdf | ISAS Insights | Apr 11 2018

    Currently, the returns for the Chinese from the CPEC are not so visible and are fairly uncertain. In spite of Pakistan’s increasing dependency on China, the type and nature of influence that China would ultimately wield in Pakistan (or in the South Asian region) and how it would use this influence are not evident at this point in time. Though muted in official Chinese media, there have been questions on the Chinese side on the validity of pouring money and manpower into Pakistan, and exposing its people to the dangers in an alien country. The Chinese media and scholars are also aware of the objections raised by Pakistani critiques against the CPEC.

    The recent clashes between Chinese and Pakistanis, the violence committed by Pakistanis against Chinese citizens and the Chinese citizens against the Pakistanis seem to point an increasingly tensed China-Pakistan relationship at the moment. It is important to note that, this is the first time in the history of China-Pakistan relationship that there is an increased and visible presence of Chinese in Pakistan. Given the large influx of Chinese citizens into Pakistan, one would expect possible incidents and clashes between the locals and the Chinese. The recent incidents between Pakistan and China present two possibilities to the two countries. These incidents could either act as lessons on better management of their relationship or they could lead to a destabilisation of ties between the countries. The latter will have serious implications for both sides and could negatively impact the progress of the CPEC. Based on recent incidents, there is great potential for a destabilisation of the China Pakistan relationship.

  7. #262
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    China: No Military Aim of Corridor Project With Pakistan | VOA | Apr 21 2018

    "I want to make it very clear, BRI initiative and with CPEC under it, it's purely a commercial development project. We don't have any kind of military or strategic design for that," said Yao Jing, Chinese ambassador to Islamabad. He made the remarks in an exclusive interview with VOA.

    While speaking to VOA, the Chinese diplomat urged the United States and India to "come to the CPEC project" and "witness the progress on the ground" for themselves, saying it will enable them overcome misunderstandings vis-a-vis CPEC.

    "There are some kind of doubts that may be there are some things hidden in it. I think that when you have an objective lens to look at this project and to come to the ground to find this progress on the ground then you may have a better understanding of what we are doing here," said Jing.

    The Chinese envoy was responding to concerns expressed in Washington and New Delhi that Beijing could try to turn Gwadar into a military port in the future to try to dominate the Indian Ocean.
    There is no way for China to dominate the Indian Ocean. China's fuel supply and outbound trade continue at the grace of the USN

    Jing explained that a state-to-state defense-related cooperation has for decades existed between the two allied nations and China through "normal channels" is determined to contribute to "military and strategic ability' of Pakistan.

    "We don't want to make the CPEC as such a kind of platform," the ambassador emphasized.

    However, he added, it is "natural and understandable" that the project's massive size and design has raised doubts and suspicions" about its aims.

  8. #263
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    New govt, new terms for Malaysia

    China’s south-east Asia push threatened by new Malaysia regime | FT | May 25 2018

    Status as Belt and Road posterchild at risk as Mahathir vows to review Chinese projects


    Ben Bland in Kuala Lumpur MAY 15, 2018


    Chinese president Xi Jinping and former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak thought they had devised the perfect “win-win” deal.

    Beijing pledged tens of billions of dollars in loans and investments to support Malaysia’s economy and Mr Najib promised to roll out Chinese rail and port developments, as other Belt and Road projects stalled across south-east Asia.

    However, the Malaysian people got in the way, last week voting out the ruling party headed by Mr Najib for the first time in 60 years, in part because of accusations that their graft-tainted leader was selling out the country.

    Riding the wave of anger at Mr Najib, new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has promised to review all Chinese projects and renegotiate any “unequal treaties”, threatening to destroy the image of Malaysia as the posterchild for Mr Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative and upset China’s position in the country, a strategic crossroads for Asia.

    “China had a long experience in dealing with unequal treaties and China resolved it by renegotiation,” Mr Mahathir said. “So, we feel we are entitled to study and, if necessary, renegotiate the terms.”

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    Despite Mr Xi’s ambitious strategy to build new infrastructure corridors through south-east Asia and central Asia, implementation overseas has proved harder than in China. High-profile rail projects in Indonesia, Laos and Thailand have been delayed because of disputes over cost, financing and land acquisition.

    Mr Najib, who tightened the screws on Malaysia’s already authoritarian system as he was weighed down by financial scandals, promised to fast-track more than $30bn of Chinese port, rail and other infrastructure projects, in a similar fashion to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former strongman president of Sri Lanka.

    “They spotted weakness in Najib, just like they did in Rajapaksa,” said one investment banker in Kuala Lumpur. “But the Malaysian people didn’t want to end up like Sri Lanka, handing over assets to China because they can’t pay off the debts.”*

    Mr Najib has now been banned from leaving the country by Mr Mahathir, who is determined to keep his campaign promise to investigate the former prime minister’s links to the country’s largest ever corruption scandal. Mr Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

    Euben Paracuelles, an economist at Nomura in Singapore, said investors would have to “revisit the view that Malaysia is one of the top beneficiaries of the Belt and Road Initiative”.

    “It is hard to say if projects will be cancelled but, at the minimum, they could face fairly significant delays, with no new projects approved for the time being.”*

    Members of Malaysia’s new governing coalition have argued that the $14bn East Coast Rail Link is one of the most questionable projects, in terms of value for money and benefits for the Malaysian people.*

    “This thing is not going to be economically viable, it is not going to pay for itself,” Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a veteran Malaysian economist, said in an interview before he was appointed to Mr Mahathir’s advisory council at the weekend.

    With construction launched last year, the ECRL will connect the country’s less-developed east coast to southern Thailand and the capital, Kuala Lumpur, with Mr Najib’s government saying it would create 80,000 jobs and spur industrial expansion. It is being built by China Communications Construction Company and is 85 per cent funded by loans from Export-Import Bank of China, both state-owned entities.*

    Lee Chean Chung, a state assemblyman in Pahang, which is home to part of the ECRL and a big Chinese port and industrial zone project, said locals wanted jobs and growth but feared that these initiatives were “too expensive and not sustainable”.

    “We need to renegotiate the terms to make sure these projects benefit locals, emit less pollution, and are more transparent,” he said.

    During the election, Mr Najib tried to emulate Beijing’s tactics overseas, by appealing to the local ethnic Chinese population — which comprises a fifth of Malaysia’s 31m people — to back the Belt and Road projects.

    But Malaysian Chinese such as Mr Lee and Wong Chen, a member of parliament in Mr Mahathir’s governing coalition, said that although they can speak Mandarin, they were Malaysians who were not seeking — and would not offer — special treatment.

    “Trade with us on a commercial basis,” said Mr Wong. “We do not want political deals.”

    Although he has met Mr Xi before, Mr Mahathir, a 92-year-old who veers between harsh rhetoric and hard-bitten pragmatism, will have a tough job winning concessions from the Chinese president, who has taken an increasingly assertive foreign policy stance.

    Beijing has said little publicly so far beyond congratulating Mr Mahathir on his victory and arguing that under his watch, bilateral ties would “move forward in a steady and sustained manner”.

    Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, believes Beijing will consider offering concessions to Mr Mahathir because Malaysia is strategically important.

    “Beijing has a bigger game plan to maintain the public image in the region that China’s rise is good for them,” he said.*

    Murray Hiebert, a south-east Asia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that despite the hype, the BRI had not “paved many streets with gold in south-east Asia”.

    “Malaysia was light years ahead of everyone else and, if China wants to stay, they are going to have to compromise,” he said.

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