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Kasia McGee

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Bilateral Economic Agreements Are Made at FOCAC 2018

Sept. 4, 2018  — With over 50 African countries represented at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit, there was an opportunity for these countries to sign bilateral economic agreements, make political statements in support of the Belt and Road Initiative, and have bilateral meetings among the leaders. The following are a few reported in the African media.

* A Chinese consortium comprising The Dongfang Electric manufacturing company and Shanghai Electric, and the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, signed a $4.4 billion agreement to build a clean-coal power station in Egypt, China Central Television reported. It will be located 500 miles from Cairo and made up of six units with a total capacity of 6.6 gigawatts. Construction is planned to be completed in six years.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi held meetings with heads of Chinese firms operating in Egypt.
* Nigerian President Muahammadu Buhari heads a large delegation of ministers, governors, and heads of parastatals who have been negotiating agreements on behalf of their states and ministries on the sidelines of the summit. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. has been assured by China National Petroleum Corp. that it is committed to securing up to 85% of $2.8 billion needed to build the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project, a statement from the corporation on Monday disclosed. The pipeline would enable connectivity between the East, West, and North that is currently non-existent. Funders would include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, and
Infrastructure Bank of China, with Sinosure, China’s Export Credit Agency, providing insurance cover. The remaining 15% will be provided by the contractors.

* The President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, acting chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), appealed to China’s investment community to support the SADC region in developing its manufacturing, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and tourism sectors. Geingob said that, due to their extensive knowledge in industrial development and technology, Chinese will help SADC in realizing its dream.

* The Namibian delegation is negotiating a deal for the  Chinese to finance a new national airport, while elevating their relations to that of a Strategic Partnership.

* Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, at the summit, that the BRI is important to support Zimbabwe’s plan to be a middle-income country by 2030.
“Zimbabwe was only lucky,” he said, to the extent that 800 to 1,000 years ago there was trade between the Munhumutapa Kingdom and China when we imported porcelain and silk from here and in turn you got our ivory. But today the Road and Belt Initiative has taken everybody onboard so that our economies can talk to each other, so that our economies can help each other modernize and mechanize. We are getting connected and benefiting from each other.”

Mnangagwa said, “We are happy that this is a country that has never colonized anybody, who today is giving us a helping hand to grow. As a matter of fact, China is helping us to become a middle-income country. As a result of that helping hand we leapfrog and go into a modern economy. Left alone it will take us more years to develop with our domestic investment, but given the technology, given the assistance, the financial know-how, we leapfrog and become an important cog in the global economy.”


China Will Integrate Belt and Road with African Development Plans

Sept. 4, 2018  — The second day of the FOCAC Summit in Beijing consisted of a round-table chaired jointly by  President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa, and a series of side forums dealing with individual issues. Speaking at the concluding press conference of the summit, President Xi Jinping underlined the motif: “We will synergize China’s Belt and Road Initiative with African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the national development strategies of African countries.”

Xi said, “Together we will better uphold the common interests of China and Africa, boost the strength of developing countries, and make the world a more balanced and better place for everyone to live in.”

Xi also had words of wisdom for other “international partners” of Africa. “We hope that Africa’s international cooperation partners could learn from each other, leverage their respective strength, build synergy, and jointly contribute to peace and development in Africa,” Xi said. He thanked President Ramaphosa for his close cooperation over the last few months in preparing for the summit, and welcomed President Macky Sall of Senegal as the new African co-chair of FOCAC. President Ramaphosa reiterated his strong support for the BRI: “…[t]he China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative provides the African continent with great opportunities. African countries all collectively accept and praise the initiative, hailing it a best way to address Africa’s challenges.” He pointed out that China and African countries agreed to work more closely together and share technologies and achievements, and listed a series of projects, including the China-Africa cooperation center for ocean science and blue economy, the China-Africa research center for the development of green agriculture, the China-Africa energy technological cooperation center, and the China-Africa geo-science cooperation center.

President Sall, in turn, expressed that he is “happy” over being able to co-chair FOCAC, and said he saw “great prospects” in coming years with more engagements with the private sector. “We will push our relationship to a higher level,” he said, calling the present period of China-Africa relations, a “golden age.”


Xi Jinping: Aesthetical Education Develops Beautiful Minds

Aug. 31, 2018 –Chinese President Xi Jinpig sent a letter in reply to professors at China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) on the occasion of CAFA’s celebrations of its centennial, in which he stressed the importance of “aesthetical education” for the development of the individual and society. Xinhua reported this in its lead news story this morning. Xi’s letter stressed the importance of “strengthening aesthetic education to ensure the healthy growth of the country’s youth, both physically and mentally…. Noting that aesthetic education plays an important role in shaping a more beautiful mind, Xi said that it is necessary to improve it,” Xinhua reported.

CAFA is China’s first modern school specializing in fine arts, founded by “renowned Chinese educator Cai Yuanpei” in 1918, the news agency reported. The eight senior professors had written the President on the subject of aesthetical education. In his answer, Xi called on CAFA to “implement the CPC’s education policy to foster students with love and create great works of art,” Xinhua said.

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche responded with great happiness today to this report that President Xi had endorsed the ideas of the German classical poet Friedrich Schiller, for whom the Schiller Institute is named. One of Schiller’s most profound works is entitled “Letters On the Aesthetical Education of Man.”


Greece and China Signs Collaboration Memo for Belt and Road

Aug. 28  — Speaking at a press conference following their meeting in Beijing, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and is Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi announced the signing of a memorandum of collaboration in the framework of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Kotzias told the press that “our main goal is to deepen our political cooperation,” and announced he has extended an invitation to Wang Yi to visit Athens. They will hold further talks on finalizing the next five-year action plan in economic cooperation in the meantime, reported various Chinese and Greece media.

For his part Wang Yi called Greece a “natural partner of China” and said the two ministers discussed linking infrastructure, promotion of trade, financial cooperation and collaboration between the peoples of the two countries in tourism, science and technology, education and culture, sports, youth and local government.

Earlier in the day Kotzias met with officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and today he will meet with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and CPC Politburo member and also State Councillor Yang Jiechi, and deliver a speech at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Greek-Chinese relations on the way forward. In the evening he will travel to Shanghai for further meetings.


Indian Scholar: The Belt and Road Came from Lyndon and Helga LaRouche

Aug. 28 -Mahmud Ali, an Indian scholar currently at the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, posted an article on LinkedIn titled “America’s Foundational Contributions to China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)” on Aug. 27. He ridicules the “disdain” from Western officials and media towards the Belt and Road Initiative, and stating that the slanders are “repeated {ad nauseam},” especially in the U.S. But, he continues, the concept “originated in America, with U.S. visionaries envisaging, promoting and advancing the cause of a united Euro-Asian economic space, as early as the late 1980s, before politicians and their assorted advisors had begun considering the possibility of the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the end of the Cold War. It was that American intellectual spark, nurtured by a few farsighted men and women, which illuminated the new world of possibilities. Without it, and direct intervention by governments and multilateral agencies based in America and its allies, there would probably be no BRI today.”

Then, under the subhead “American Prophets Imagine a New Silk Road,” he writes that despite the geopolitical thinking of most people in the West, based on the concepts of Halford Mackinder, “Western thinkers operating outside state-funded national security establishments envisioned a non-competitive, indeed collaborative, vision of the future. One of them, the U.S. politician and co-founder, with his wife Helga LaRouche, of the Washington-based Schiller Institute, Lyndon LaRouche, promoted such a vision, with some success in influencing segments of trans-Atlantic opinion. In October 1988, LaRouche briefed the media in West Berlin on ‘U.S. Policy Toward the Reunification of Germany,’ prophesying the collapse of COMECON economies, and urging food-support to Poland so that a majority of Germans on both sides desired reunification. In December, he assigned a group of Schiller Institute specialists to examine prospects for establishing a Paris-Berlin-Vienna productive triangle. In January 1990, Schiller Institute published LaRouche’s book on a proposed 320,000 sq.km. European economic area comprising a population of 92 million concentrated in 10 large industrial areas, from which he envisaged infrastructural corridors, linked with high-speed railways, radiating in all directions, providing a basis for upgrading living standards across Eurasia.”

Ali goes on to describe Schiller Institute conferences and {EIR} articles between 1991 and 1996 (noting that LaRouche was then in prison), when Helga Zepp-LaRouche presented her speech at the May 7-9, 1996 “Symposium on Economic Development along the New Euro-Asia Continental Bridge” in Beijing on May 8, 1996, titled “Building the Silk Road Land-Bridge: The Basis for Mutual Security Interests of Asia and Europe.”

Then, he writes: “In January 1997, Lyndon LaRouche addressed a Washington conference, urging the Clinton Administration to sponsor a New Bretton Woods system, reorganizing the world economy to prevent disruptive boom-bust cycles, and recognize the global merit of the Eurasian Land-Bridge program. Reinforcing and explaining her husband’s persistent thematic refrain, Helga LaRouche published a commentary titled, `Eurasian Land-Bridge: A New Era for Mankind,’ which was widely circulated across the Atlantic by the Schiller Foundation [sic].” He adds that Helga LaRouche addressed a second conference in Beijing in November 1997. “By then,” he continues, “railway connectivity between coastal China, Central Asia and Russia was a reality; Europe beckoned.”

He next reports on a conference in India organized by Schiller representative Ramtanu Maitra, with leading figures from Russia, China and India, where they “established a Triangular Association with the goal of promoting Indo-Russian-Chinese cooperation in forging a shared vision of Eurasia’s post-Cold War future of peace, progress and prosperity. The effort failed for a combination of distractions and difficulties: fallout from the Asian Economic Crisis, the September 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington and America’s subsequent Global War on Terrorism, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and then, the Great Recession. Nonetheless, seeds had been sown in the febrile post-Cold War intellectual hotbeds. Ideas analysed at Schiller’s many conferences and events began gelling into policy-frameworks in early 21st century.”

Ali then reviews other Western interventions into Central Asia, including a number of “bilateral investment treaties” the U.S. signed with coutries in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, aimed at capturing the energy resources and breaking them away from Russia and China, and the so-called “New Silk Road Initiative” sponsored by Hillary Clinton (based on keeping Central Asia out of Russia and China influence), and the Lower Mekong Initiative, also by the U.S. State Department.

However, Ali makes a point that the U.S. initiatives were both “much more modest” than the LaRouche plans, or of Xi Jinping’s plan announced in September 2013, and that the U.S. “more candidly advertised their geopolitical drivers.” On the other hand, he concludes, “Beijing emphasized its economic, indeed geoeconomic focus.”


President Xi Stresses the Belt and Road Initiative as a New Form of Global Governance

Aug. 27, 2018 -Speaking at a symposium on the Belt and Road Initiative as we approach next month, the fifth anniversary of its inception, President Xi Jinping underlined its importance as the basis of a new type of global governance.

“In the past five years, the ‘One Belt and One Road’ has greatly improved the level of China’s trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and promoted China’s open space from the coast, along the river to the inland, along the border, forming a new open pattern of land and sea linkage, east and west mutual aid,” Xi said. “The trade volume of goods with the countries related to the Belt and Road has accumulated more than $5 trillion, and the direct foreign investment has exceeded $60 billion, creating more than 200,000 jobs for the local economies. China’s foreign investment has become an important factor driving the growth of global foreign direct investment.”

Xi pointed out that the world today is undergoing a period of great development, great change, and adjustment.

“We must have a strategic vision and establish a global outlook. We must have both a sense of risk and a sense of history, and we must have a sense of historical opportunity to work hard in this century-old change. … Building a community of human destiny with the ‘One Belt and One Road’ as a platform for practice, is proposed from the perspective of China’s reform and opening up, and long-term development. It is also in line with the Chinese philosophy that the Chinese nation has always upheld, in line with the Chinese people’s concept of harmony under heaven and occupies the commanding heights of international morality. Building the Belt and Road is not only a means of economic cooperation, but also an important way to improve the global development model and global governance and promote the healthy development of economic globalization,” Xi said.

Xi explained how the BRI has won support throughout the world for the benefits it has brought, and that the key now was to proceed to expanding and deepening its influence. Xi said that
in the past few years, the “One Belt, One Road” project has produced the general layout of the project, and that a “‘large freehand brushwork’ has been sketched out.” Moving forward, he said, it is a matter of “filling in the ‘more delicate lines’ and achieving an exquisite ‘Chinese brushwork painting.'”

“We must work hard to open up the market, build more trade promotion platforms, guide powerful enterprises to carry out investment cooperation with the countries along the Belt and Road, develop new trades and new modes of cross-border e-commerce, and pay attention to trade balance. We must work hard on financial security, speed up the formation of financial support and build a `One Belt, One Road’ policy system, promote the internationalization of the RMB in an orderly manner, guide social funds to jointly invest in national infrastructure and resource development projects along the route, and provide foreign exchange funds for enterprises going global.

“It is necessary to promote the vigorous exchanges in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, sports, tourism, health, archaeology, etc., and carry out effective ‘people’s livelihood assistance’ around the ‘One Belt, One Road.’ It is necessary to standardize corporate investment and business operations, conduct legal and compliant operations, pay attention to protecting the environment, fulfilling social responsibilities, and become a model ambassador for the joint construction of the `Belt and Road’. It is necessary to attach great importance to the prevention of overseas risks, improve the security risk prevention system, and comprehensively improve overseas security and risk response capabilities.”


El Salvador Prepares To Get On Board the Belt and Road

Aug. 21 – El Salvador’s President Salvador Sanchez Ceren told a national TV audience last night that El Salvador had broken diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established relations with the people’s Republic of China, in order to fulfill the government’s promise to secure a dignified life for all citizens, and create a future for new generations. He reported that a delegation of three high-level officials, led by Foreign Minister Carlos Castaneda, were in Beijing, and had just signed a Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with China.

The President did not mention the Belt and Road Initiative in his speech, but Panama’s eager participation in the BRI, after its decision to break with Taiwan in June 2017, has sparked discussion throughout Central America on prospects for increased integration and actually crushing poverty, drugs and violence. In point of fact, El Salvador’s move in the direction of the BRI is the single most important action it could have taken to stop the scourge of drugs and Satanic gang violence which, along with Wall Street looting, has driven over 20% of 1st generation Salvadorans to emigrate desperately to the U.S.

El Salvador has been looking for some time for international assistance to relaunch its container port at La Union in the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific, and China has expressed interest in
the project. The initial concept for the La Union port was to turn the Gulf into a development hub with Nicaragua and Honduras, which also border the Gulf, and to connect it to the Caribbean through a railroad across Honduras. At the same time, the high-speed railroad in Panama which China has agreed to build has sparked active discussion in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras, minimally, of building a regional railroad, {EIR} has learned.

El Salvador’s decision increases the potential for other Central American countries–Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, in particular–to also leave the “Taiwan Gap” and enter the future. President Sanchez Ceren had met with the Presidents of Honduras and Guatemala earlier in the day, on the occasion of his nation joining the Customs Union which those two nations had created, bringing the 32 million people in those three countries — 73% of all of Central America’s population — closer together.

“I am speaking to you on this occasion to make public a decision which will have a profound impact on the present and future development of our country,” President Sanchez told the nation. When he was inaugurated, he explained, he promised to create the conditions needed to transform the nation towards securing a decent life for each one and their families, and after analyzing the domestic and foreign situation, we have made the decision to break relations with Taiwan and establish relations with the P.R.C., he explained.

This is a decision which will bring “great benefits to the country and offer extraordinary opportunities on the personal level to each of you. The People’s Republic of China is the second economy in the world, in continuous development, and whose development achievements in diverse fields has enabled it to position itself among the most successful countries,” he said, citing China’s promotion of “shared development … in countries such as ours through South-South cooperation.”

Sanchez reported that dialogue will immediately begin between the two countries to identify “potentials and concrete actions in the areas of trade, investment, infrastructure development, scientific, economic and technical cooperation, in health care, education, tourism, and support for micro and medium-sized companies,” as well as coordinating immediate humanitarian aid for Salvadoran farmers affected by drought.


FOCAC-Gipfel: Eine neue Phase der chinesisch-afrikanischen Beziehungen

  1. Erneuerung des Aufrufs für eine gemeinsame Zukunft von China und Afrika im Rahmen ihrer gemeinsamen Interessen.
  2. Einleitung einer neuen Phase der chinesisch-afrikanischen Entwicklung, verstärkte Beteiligung afrikanischer Länder in der Belt and Road Initiative und verbesserte Zusammenarbeit im Handel, der Infrastruktur und den zwischenmenschlichen Kontakten.
  3. Eröffnung von Wegen für eine höhere Ebene der Zusammenarbeit in den kommenden drei Jahren und Unterzeichnung mehrerer Kooperationsabkommen mit einigen Ländern mit Schwerpunkt auf für Afrika kritische Bereiche.
  4. Fortführung der historischen chinesisch-afrikanischen Zusammenarbeit mit neuen menschenbezogenen Maßnahmen.

Wang Yi betonte außerdem, daß man ein großes Schwergewicht auf junge Menschen lege, um die Beziehungen weiter voranschreiten zu lassen.

Am Vormittag des ersten Gipfeltages wird ein Eröffnungsdialog zwischen den Teilnehmern, konzentriert auf praktische Fragen der Zusammenarbeit, der Erhöhung der Synergie und Verbesserung der Handelsbeziehungen stattfinden. Präsident Xi und mehrere afrikanische Staatsführer sowie Wirtschaftsführer und andere Delegierte werden sich an der Debatte beteiligen. Am Nachmittag gibt es die Eröffnungszeremonie, auf der Präsident Xi eine Grundsatzrede halten wird, gefolgt von einer formellen Diskussion fokussiert auf industrielle Zusammenarbeit, Entwicklung des Handels, Fragen des Gesundheitswesens, Friedens- und Sicherheitsfragen. Die Diskussion soll auf die Bedürfnisse der afrikanischen Länder zugeschnitten sein. Präsident Xi und der südafrikanische Präsident Cyril Ramaphosa werden die Sitzung gemeinsam leiten.

Am 4. September findet eine Roundtable-Diskussion statt; die Morgensitzung wird von Präsident Ramaphosa und die Nachmittagssitzung von Präsident Xi geleitet. Zur Diskussion steht der Dreijahresplan bis zum Jahr 2021. Am Rande des Gipfels wird sich Präsident Xi mit afrikanischen Staatschefs treffen. Xis Ehefrau Peng Liyuan wird außerdem ein Forum über AIDS leiten.


Uruguay Formally Joins the Belt and Road

Aug. 20, 2018  — Meeting in Beijing yesterday with China’s Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by which his government formally joined the Belt and Road Initiative. China is Uruguay’s most important trading partner, purchasing 27% of that country’s exports. In addition to Wang Yi, Nin also met with the head of the National Reform and Development Commission, He Lifeng, among other dignitaries.

The meeting with Wang Yi also served to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations, as well as to officially launch “Uruguay Week in China.” During his Aug. 19-28 stay, Nin will lead a large delegation of businessmen to the cities of Chongqing and Guangzhou, and will return in November to head up the Uruguayan delegation to the Shanghai International Import Fair.

Uruguay and China have enjoyed a comprehensive strategic association for the past few years, but Uruguay wants to deepen that relationship, increasing cooperation in several other areas in addition to trade, while offering attractive conditions for Chinese investors, particularly in the area of infrastructure. He identified as key investment projects Uruguay’s Central Railroad, a new fishing port, and rural electrification in the country’s north.

“We believe that all the conditions Uruguay offers make China’s presence, permanence, and closer ties with our country very attractive,” Nin told EFE news service. “In Uruguay, there is an absolutely consensual policy on the role that China plays and the relationship we should have with it.”  According to Xinhua, he also stressed that Uruguay is the first member of the four-nation Common Market of the South (Mercosur) to join the Belt and Road Initiative, but expressed the hope that his country can serve as an “entry point” for China into the region, and help promote closer ties between China and Mercosur, and with other Ibero-American countries as well.


China Brings UHV Technology to Brazil’s Electrical Grid

Aug. 21 –The ultra-high voltage (UHV) cable lines China’s State Grid company and local Brazilian companies such as Tractebel are now putting up to transmit electricity from the huge Belo Monte dam on the Brazilian-Bolivian border in the Amazon region down to power-short southeastern city of Rio de Janeiro, is a great step forward for the Belt and Road Initative in Ibero-America, the Portuguese-language edition of {People’s Daily} reported yesterday.

The transmission lines, which will provide power to Rio de Janeiro and vicinity, are the second phase of the Belo Monte project which radical environmentalists did everything in their power to stop.China’s Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang told {People’s Daily} that China’s UHV technology is “a calling card of `Made in China’…. This is the first time that China applies UHV technology abroad. Its construction inaugurates a new historic stage, which marks the recognition by other countries of UHV technology and other technologies created in China. Through the Belo Monte  project, Brazil’s government, businesses and local population expressed the will and interest in deepening mutually beneficial cooperation which is advantageous to all.”

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu has called China’s development of UHV technology a “Sputnik moment” for the U.S., the {Financial Times} reported on June 6, 2018. “China has the best transmission lines in terms of the highest voltage and lowest loss. They can transmit electricity over 2,000km and lose only 7% of the energy. If we transmitted over 200km we would lose more than that,” Chu stated.


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