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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Sounds like DOR gave this interview : )



    Thought Salvatore was an Aussie, but he sounds American.

    Leave a comment:


  • Double Edge
    replied
    Think i've commented on this, nothing the Chinese have in the Indian Ocean can withstand a concentrated attack from the IN.

    External SLOCs are no match for internal SLOCs.

    We can't take on the PLA navy in the SCS just like they can't do much to us in the Indian Ocean.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    I was listening to a small talk by AIM, where he commented on 'string of pearls'. AIM welcomed it. His and my thinking mixed is - PLAN stretches itself from China to SriLanka, to Pakistan, to Djibouti, Burma to Bangladesh (assuming), and etcetera. Isn't that a weakness? Kind of small lighthouses on distant islands. Indian Navy OTOH just have to bomb Gwadar/Karachi harbour (we've done it before), and block the Malacca straits. We don't get stretched as much as the PLAN and have to divide our assets just into 2, and so we have advantage. Plus our shore defences come into active play. Any comments?

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    Myanmar govt forms tribunal to probe China-funded city project

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    Sri Lanka seeks USD 1.1 billion currency swap facility from India amidst depleting forex reserves

    What?????

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    ^ Remember, everytime PA generals assume India will attack Pakistan, they send selected abdul-in-charge to USA, not China. PA generals very well know what it is like to attract American wrath and dollars.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
    The over invoicing is how they made their millions. They've got their cut from previous projects.

    Now maybe there is some public resentment so they create the illusion of an enquiry. The resentment will be from those who did not make a cut because projects did not come to their areas so they accuse corruption.

    A temporary interruption, when enquiry concludes, they push the companies out for cheating.

    Once the air is cleared they resume with the same companies coming in under different names.

    Would that work ?
    No, PA doesn't care for its subjects. PA is hedging its bets between US and China.

    Leave a comment:


  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by Oracle View Post
    Pakistan is already in China's debt-trap. I am curious as to why this revelation now, that too by the IK (puppet) government. This has to come from the highest level of the PA, that is, the COAS' office.

    PA generals would have made 10s of millions, as is the norm in Pak, then why would the same generals red flag a project which had their stamp of approval earlier?
    The over invoicing is how they made their millions. They've got their cut from previous projects.

    Now maybe there is some public resentment so they create the illusion of an enquiry. The resentment will be from those who did not make a cut because projects did not come to their areas so they accuse corruption.

    A temporary interruption, when enquiry concludes, they push the companies out for cheating.

    Once the air is cleared they resume with the same companies coming in under different names.

    Would that work ?

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
    Heard abut CPEC recently ? No ? neither have I. Maybe this is the reason...

    CPEC shelved? | The News | Sept 19 2019

    No debt trap for Pakistan then
    Are you sure?

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    Pakistan’s internal report indicts China for corruption in CPEC power sector

    Pakistan is already in China's debt-trap. I am curious as to why this revelation now, that too by the IK (puppet) government. This has to come from the highest level of the PA, that is, the COAS' office.

    PA generals would have made 10s of millions, as is the norm in Pak, then why would the same generals red flag a project which had their stamp of approval earlier?

    And why is IK propagating the propaganda since last year without a break? -> India may conduct false flag operation, says Imran

    What is it that is not obvious here? I can smell something, but will wait for the time being.

    Leave a comment:


  • Double Edge
    replied
    Heard abut CPEC recently ? No ? neither have I. Maybe this is the reason...

    CPEC shelved? | The News | Sept 19 2019

    Various circles feel the Chinese leadership is upset with the corruption allegations of the incumbent government.

    One of the government officials on condition of anonymity told Deutsche Welle ( DW) the Chinese have practically stopped funding for the project, especially after Ministers Razak Dawood and Murad Saeed leveled charges of corruption. He said previously the Chinese used to release loans first and later would ask for procurements, but now they first demand procurement and there is no certainty if any funding would be released for it.

    And how could the government undertake procurement when they do not have funds. This shows that the CPEC projects are practically over and if at all there is any forward movement worth the name it will be extremely slow.
    No debt trap for Pakistan then
    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Sep 19,, 00:53.

    Leave a comment:


  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
    Sri Lanka is no longer considered high risk. They've learnt their lesson. Does not help to be on the FATF greylist

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    Examining the Debt Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative | CGD | Mar 4 2018

    How does China deal with countries in debt ?
    Given the Cambodia agreement, this map give an idea of where China could set up future bases based on countries debt

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  • Double Edge
    replied
    Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
    Ream Naval Base denies Chinese military base speculation | Khmer Times | Jul 02 2019



    Well, let's see how well they adhere to their constitution

    Given that China has ensured Cambodia pretty much vetoes any anti-China statements at the ASEAN meet, the call for the quad will only get stronger.
    Figures. Americans did smell something fishy going on

    Deal for Naval Outpost in Cambodia Furthers China’s Quest for Military Network | WSJ | Jul 22 2019

    Use of Ream naval base would help China’s military project power across a broad swath of Southeast Asia

    By Jeremy Page, Gordon Lubold and Rob Taylor
    Updated July 22, 2019 5:59 am ET

    SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia—China has signed a secret agreement allowing its armed forces to use a Cambodian navy base near here, as Beijing works to boost its ability to project military power around the globe, according to U.S. and allied officials familiar with the matter.

    The pact—signed this spring but not disclosed by either side—gives China exclusive rights to part of a Cambodian naval installation on the Gulf of Thailand, not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company.

    Some details of the final deal were unclear, the officials said, but an early draft, seen by U.S. officials, would allow China to use the base for 30 years, with automatic renewals every 10 years after that. China would be able to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships, according to the draft.

    Military operations from the naval base, airport, or both, would sharply increase Beijing’s capacity to enforce territorial claims and economic interests in the South China Sea, to threaten U.S. allies in Southeast Asia and to extend its influence over the strategically important Malacca Strait.

    Chinese and Cambodian officials have denied there are any plans for a Chinese military base in the country. “Nothing is happening like that,” Phay Siphan, a Cambodian government spokesman, said on Friday. He called it “fake news.”

    U.S. and allied officials, however, said a deal had been done that, while stopping short of a full-scale Chinese base, would give Beijing its first dedicated naval staging facility in Southeast Asia and a second outpost in what the Pentagon sees as a Chinese quest for a global network of military and dual-use sites.

    Washington is “concerned that any steps by the Cambodian government to invite a foreign military presence in Cambodia” would disturb regional peace and stability, said Emily Zeeberg, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.

    Surrounded by dense jungle and mangroves, and overlooked by a Buddhist temple, the naval installation in question, at Ream, covers about 190 acres and includes two facilities built with U.S. funding and used by the Cambodian navy, and a single pier where a dozen patrol craft dock.

    According to the early draft of the base accord, China would build two new piers—one for Chinese use, one for Cambodian, U.S. officials said. U.S. officials said further dredging would likely be needed for the base to host larger Chinese navy ships.

    The draft also allows China’s personnel to carry weapons and Cambodian passports and requires Cambodians to get Chinese permission to enter the 62-acre Chinese section of Ream, U.S. officials said.

    The U.S.-funded facilities at Ream are to be relocated to allow “further infrastructure development and security enhancement,” according to a July letter from Cambodia’s defense ministry to the U.S. seen by The Wall Street Journal.

    U.S. officials are debating whether Washington can persuade Phnom Penh to reverse its decision on Ream. Some U.S. officials and analysts believe the U.S. wielded too many sticks in its relationship with Cambodia, frequently criticizing the government’s human-rights record, and didn’t offer enough carrots.

    A senior Pentagon official said the U.S. wanted Cambodia to be a “preferred security partner,” but other officials said it appeared Phnom Penh had turned toward Beijing. There was no response to requests for comment from the White House.

    U.S. and allied counterparts are also lobbying Cambodia not to allow China’s military to use the large new airport being built at Dara Sakor, about 40 miles northwest of Ream, by a private Chinese company with a 99-year lease on a sparsely populated stretch of coastal Cambodia.

    Recent satellite images show that work has progressed rapidly in the past year. The site now features a 2-mile-long runway—big enough for Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s, and for China’s long-range bombers and military transports.

    The images, according to U.S. and allied officials, also show what appear to be preparations for the runway turns needed for quick takeoffs and landings by military aircraft, particularly fighters. The company building the airport has said it is purely commercial.

    Warplanes flying from Dara Sakor would be able to strike targets in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and elsewhere.

    China opened its first military outpost abroad, in the east African nation of Djibouti, in 2017, to facilitate operations around the Indian Ocean and Africa. Since 2014, China has also built seven heavily fortified artificial islands—three with airstrips—in the South China Sea.

    A Cambodian outpost would further cement China’s grip on a country whose authoritarian government is backed by Chinese loans, investment and diplomatic clout, as Beijing increasingly challenges Washington for economic and military influence across the developing world.

    Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, in power for decades, denied there was any plan for a Chinese military base in Cambodia in November, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence wrote to him expressing concern over the issue.

    Cambodian media quoted Mr. Hun Sen repeating that denial on Monday, saying his country’s constitution forbade the establishment of foreign military bases.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, at a regular news briefing on Monday, cited the fresh Cambodian denial, adding that China and Cambodia cooperated “in various areas” and that their cooperation was transparent.

    China’s defense minister denied in June that Beijing was establishing a military presence in Cambodia. China’s defense ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    Until shortly before China opened its Djibouti outpost, which it calls a naval “logistics support facility,” Beijing repeatedly denied having any plans for bases abroad.

    Combining Cambodian facilities with China’s military outposts in the South China Sea, “you basically have a triangular perimeter boxing in all of mainland Southeast Asia,” said Charles Edel, a former adviser to the U.S. secretary of state who is now an analyst at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney.

    A Chinese presence at either facility would also “greatly complicate” the ability of the U.S. to come to the aid of Taiwan if Beijing decides to attack the island, a U.S. official said, as some American forces would arrive via the Strait of Malacca or the outer reaches of the South China Sea.

    Ream has been embroiled in great power competition before, attracting both U.S. and Soviet attention in the Cold War.

    The U.S. bombed the base at the tail end of the Vietnam War in 1975 after China-backed Khmer Rouge forces took power in Cambodia and seized a U.S. container ship. After Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978, the Soviet navy visited Ream repeatedly and helped repair and upgrade facilities there, deepening its waters.

    Washington sought to rebuild ties with Cambodia in the past decade, resuming aid in 2007, carrying out joint military exercises and financing the Ream facilities. Tensions have mounted again as Hun Sen has tightened his grip on power.

    China has made rapid inroads meanwhile, bringing in millions of tourists and billions of dollars of investment and loans; much of it is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road global infrastructure plan and focused around the deep-water port of Sihanoukville, about 10 miles from Ream.

    U.S. officials said they first learned about negotiations between China and Cambodia over Ream about a year ago, prompting the letter from Mr. Pence.

    Their suspicions grew early this year when Cambodia’s defense ministry first requested, then refused, U.S. funding to renovate the facilities at Ream, according to letters between the two governments seen by the Journal.

    Recent satellite images show that an area inside the Ream base has recently been cleared in apparent preparation for construction work. A bridge at the entrance is also being repaired.

    Meanwhile, a state-run Chinese construction company is working on Dara Sakor airport, which is due to open next year and will be Cambodia’s largest despite being in a province with a population of 200,000 people.

    The Chinese company behind the new airport, Union Group, has said it is part of a $3.8 billion plan to develop the 36,000 hectares (89,000 acres) of land—including about 20% of Cambodia’s coastline—that it leased in 2008.

    The company’s showroom in Phnom Penh displays plans to build five-star tourist resorts, golf courses, marinas, two container ports, high-tech industrial zones and a “new city” of luxury residences.

    So far, however, the single casino and golf resort completed in 2014 has failed to attract many tourists. On a recent visit, seven of about 100 hotel rooms were occupied, staff said, and little progress has been made on other promised facilities.

    Union Group representatives say they underestimated transport difficulties and believe the airport will bring in 300,000 Chinese visitors annually. Western officials are skeptical.

    The Cambodian runway “seems far longer than needed for any normal commercial purpose or aircraft, and certainly longer than necessary for any tourist development envisaged there,” an Australian intelligence official said.

    “We have some concern that China is using the same playbook used in the South China Sea, creating facts on the ground until such time that it is too late for anyone to object.”
    Last edited by Double Edge; 25 Jul 19,, 12:06.

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  • Oracle
    replied
    Will CPEC survive the IMF bailout?

    The staff report released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week must have provided some measure of comfort to the champions of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as China that chose Pakistan to be the first key destination for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to sustain its economic triumph and realise future ambitions.

    If this is just a coincidence, it is intriguing. After a long lull, there is light blipping again on the CPEC drawing board. Last Friday, a 55-member Chinese delegation of business executives met Prime Minister Imran Khan and reportedly committed to ploughing $5 billion investment over the next five years. “Probably the interaction with the Chinese delegations was already planned, but the fact that it did materialise as soon as details of the IMF deal were made public kindled new hope for the future,” commented a top leader of the government’s economic team.

    In its staff report following the approval of a three-year $6bn bailout programme, the IMF mentions the repayment of $14.68bn due for $21.8bn bilateral and commercial loans that Pakistan owes to China. This is almost 24pc of the country’s total $85.8bn external debt and liabilities. The document states that the Chinese commercial debt will be fully retired by the end of the programme in 2022 while the bilateral debt ($15.5bn) will be almost half of what the country owes at this point to $7.9bn.

    Sometime back, the United States explicitly expressed its dismay over the possibility that Pakistan could use the Fund’s money to pay back Chinese loans. The US stance exasperated the anxieties surrounding the multibillion-dollar China’s investment plan. The CPEC did stimulate growth and motivated economic drivers by removing infrastructure bottlenecks before the start of the current tumultuous phase in May last year.

    There is no formal word on the issue from China. The enthusiasm of the dependable friendly nation did somewhat wane for want of clarity on the post-election economic direction. There were concerns about the intent of the new set of rulers on the pledges by the PML-N government regarding CPEC-related projects. The initial statements by members of Prime Minister Khan’s economic dream team where they questioned the sealed deals must have added to the confusion. How far the visit helped to allay China’s reservations is anyone’s guess. But the optics are lacking if China is still as upbeat on the CPEC as before.

    China prefers to speak with its silence most of the times. However, people in the know of things in Islamabad said that China did remind the current government, at some point, of the grave consequences of reneging on the earlier signed contractual obligations.


    Approaching the relevant Chinese officers supervising the CPEC was a vain exercise as earlier efforts proved useless. It became apparent quickly that China feels neither keen nor obligated to share the details of its multiple deals. It sees no value in entertaining the prying journalists. Sometime back, a senior Chinese diplomat told this writer that whatever they wish to be known is put up on the CPEC website. He said their system does not allow free flow of information. “We need clearance from Beijing before sharing our opinion. It takes time and does not serve the calls of fast-paced media based in democratic traditions.”

    The relevant people in the federal government dismissed the perception that the ruling party knocks the wind out of the CPEC sail as being a figment of someone’s imagination. All provinces, except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, endorsed the counter-narrative — the movement on the CPEC agenda has indeed slowed down under the watch of the current government.

    The focal person on the CPEC, Hasan Dawood Butt, sees the project progressing at the expected pace. He termed Pakistan “the buckle of the Chinese belt initiative”. “Prime Minister Khan is as much devoted and committed to the CPEC as anyone else. His successful meetings with the leadership in China hold testimony to his recognition of the project’s value to the country and its people. We are moving ahead in the next phase of economic cooperation that focuses on development of the social sector and economic cooperation,” he said over the phone from Islamabad.

    “We host Chinese experts and business delegations every other day. Recently, a delegation of the petroleum sector was in Islamabad to explore the avenues of joint ventures in special industrial zones,” he said. There are nine sites identified across Pakistan for special zones.

    Mr Butt attributed the relative lack of visibility of the Chinese in Pakistan to the completion of several early-harvest programmes in the first phase. “We are commencing the second phase of the CPEC where there are no big-ticket infrastructure projects that require Chinese technicians in big numbers. Instead, the focus now is on improving health, education and agriculture. There is discussion over agriculture co-branding etc. Once special zones become operational, perhaps the optics will improve,” he told Dawn.

    The sense in the provincial capitals was different. Generally, officers were reluctant to come on record, but said that if the progress on the CPEC is not halted altogether, it is too slow to be seen as moving at all.

    “Be it transport or industrial zones, I do not remember when it was last even mentioned in a high-level meeting. I don’t have a shred of doubt in my mind that the lack of interest right now is mutually shared between both partners. It could be the preoccupation of China with sour trade relations with the United States or the obsession of Prime Minister Khan’s team with the demands of the IMF. Whatever it is, it has pushed the CPEC down on the priority list on both sides,” a senior member of the hierarchy in Sindh said.

    “At long last, the Punjab government has identified and started the process of acquiring land for the planned industrial zones. If all goes as planned, it will take another two years to fix the infrastructure and arrange for basic utilities before gates are opened to investors,” a senior officer from Punjab told Dawn.

    Not everyone agrees. Dr Muhammad Amanullah, a senior officer from Punjab, defended the government. “In the second phase under the new government, the focus of the CPEC has moved towards industrial development, agriculture and socio-economic development. The perception of a slowdown, therefore, is wrong as currently provincial governments are working towards identifying and proposing projects for special economic zones. The exercise needs research and spadework with eyes on realising the full potential of this opportunity,” he said.

    KP Planning and Development Secretary Atif Rehman sounded optimistic. He said the work is in progress on the Rashakai Economic Zone. He was happy with the pace of progress.

    According to insiders, not all of the 22 projects in the first phase of the CPEC worth about $29bn have been completed yet. Some eight projects in the power sector that are completed are said to be in financial troubles for the non-payment of dues.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    The Problem With China's Investments -- From Malaysia To Sri Lanka, Pakistan, And Uganda

    China has been on an investment spree in recent years, at home and abroad. At home, investment has been one of the engines that, together with exports, have fueled its robust growth. Abroad, investments have served China’s ambitions to control the South China Sea and secure a waterway all the way to the Middle East oil and Africa’s riches.

    The trouble is that many of these projects aren’t economically viable; they are built at inflated costs; and leave the host countries heavily indebted to Beijing.

    They aren’t economically viable because they serve the needs of Beijing’s central planners rather than the needs of the local markets.


    “Chinese President Xi aims to realize the ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ by projecting power overseas through the “Belt and Road” initiative, which covers both Southeast Asia and Africa,” says Xiaomeng Lu of Access Partnership. “This political economy effort is paired with China’s growing military might in the South China Sea and the African continent, posing a growing challenge to the U.S. security umbrella worldwide.”

    They are inflated because they are mostly built by Chinese state construction companies in partnership with local contractors rather than by private contractors under transparent bidding.

    And they leave host countries heavily indebted to Beijing, because they are financed by China’s state-owned banks.

    China’s investment in Sri Lanka is a case in point. “While some of China’s infrastructure projects benefited the island, others proved to be costly white elephants that forced Sri Lanka into a debt trap,” say Neil DeVotta and Sumit Ganguly in “Sri Lanka’s Post—Civil War Problems,” in the April issue of CURRENT HISTORY. Like the deep-sea Hambantota port project, the Colombo Port City complex, and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.

    The result? “The overpriced projects left Sri Lanka owing $8 billion, or around 10 percent of the island’s debt,” explain Neil DeVotta and Sumit Ganguly. “That is close to what Sri Lanka owes Japan and India, but what rankles many is how Chinese loans have been used to fund questionable projects that generate little income. The situation has fueled accusations that China seeks to entice strategically located countries (others include Djibouti and the Maldives) into debt traps that it then leverages to seize control of key infrastructure.”

    China’s investment in Pakistan to build the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which stretches from Western China to the Indian Ocean is similar to those made in Sri Lanka.

    While CPEC helps Pakistan advance its plans to build a sound infrastructure, it adds to Pakistan’s corruption, which keeps pushing the costs of the project higher by the day.

    As of 2019, the cost of CPEC projects is $62 billion, up from the original value of $46 billion back in 2014.

    And that makes Pakistan more indebted to China, which has been financing the project. In fact, Pakistan’s external debt took off shortly after CPEC was launched; and sent Pakistan to IMF for a $6 billion loan to cope with the situation.

    Meanwhile, there’s South Africa, where China’s investments follow a similar pattern. “As a South African, I've seen China's activities on the continent up close. It's clear that China's primary goal with foreign investment is geopolitical, not economic,” says Ted Bauman, Senior Research Analyst at Banyan Hill Publishing. “The most consequential investments are undertaken by state owned companies, not by Chinese private capital. They tend to focus on infrastructure like highways, ports and dams, and on public networks like the electrical grid.”

    The reason? “These investments help to bind countries to China politically, and through debt obligations,” continues Bauman. “It creates a form of leverage that China can use to force these countries to support Chinese ambitions globally. In some cases, such as the Angolan oil sector or Congolese rare earth mining, Chinese investment helps to lock-in supply relationships with essential commodities.”

    In other cases, Chinese investments help make Chinese contractors rich at the expense of the host countries, as it has been the case in Uganda, where each kilometer of the four-lane expressway cost $9.3 million dollars.

    The bottom line: China’s investment projects may end up doing more harm than good to host economies.

    That’s why they should be carefully evaluated by host country governments, as Malaysia did recently.

    Leave a comment:


  • Oracle
    replied
    Originally posted by Double Edge View Post
    Should any Indian govt in the future agree to a BRI project in India, they are going to get taken to the cleaners by the opposition.
    BCIM is part of BRI. :D

    Leave a comment:

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