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China Prepared To Jump Right into Reconstruction of Syria

July 29 –China will play a major role in the reconstruction of Syria, which nation lies on the New Silk Road, at the crossroads of Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, Europe and Africa.

China hasd already pledged $2 billion to invest in Syrian industry last year, and in July announced a further $23 billion in loans and aid for the Arab region, including Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and others.

But there is already a deeper process underway for China to play a significant role in the reconstruction of Syria, which the World Bank estimates could cost $250 billion.

According to {Guangming News} of May 7, 2017, in an article entitled, “China’s First Post-War Reconstruction Conference in Syria,” there were two conferences in Spring 2017, one in Syria, one in China, to work on targetted areas for real growth.

From April 14-21, 2017, at the invitation of the Syrian government, Qin Yong, deputy chairman of the China Arab Exchange Association visited Damascus and Homs in Syria. Qin reported, “We are the first Chinese delegation to visit Syria to discuss post-war reconstruction and have received a high-standard reception from the Syrian authorities.” He cited positively the security and safety in Damascus, Homs, Latakia, and those regions under government contol, “the confidence and enthusiasm of the Syrian government and people for reconstruction,” and “the Syrian government’s and people’s desire to invite Chinese companies to participate in reconstruction is stronger than expected.”

On May 4, 2017, a conference, “Syria’s Security Situation and Reconstruction Opportunities–China Arab Exchange Association’s Visit to Syria,” took place in Beijing, where Qin reported back on his Syria trip, and presented his findings and the reconstruction possibilities. Syrian Ambassador to China Imad Mustafa also spoke, praising China as “the first protagonist for the future reconstruction of Syria.”

The China Arab Exchange Association (which is backed by the China State Council) also issued a series of reconstruction projects in Syria’s infrastructure, electricity, building materials, agriculture, etc. Reportedly as many as 1,000 Chinese companies are involved, including some of the leading Chinese companies in harbor engineering, steel, hydropower, metallurgy, aircraft, and agriculture.

{Guangming Daily} mentioned that concerning Syria, several business representatives have “expressed their willingness to shoulder the glorious mission of the Belt and Road Initative.”

The Russians have ideas for power development in Syria, which could include nuclear power.


Putin: “Russia Will Light Up Africa”

July 27, 2018 -Russian President Vladimir Putin, in addressing the BRICS Africa Outreach Session at the BRICS Summit today, said that the African continent “is in huge need of energy investments, and Russia could become one of its key partners…. I would especially like to note that Russia is planning to step up its assistance in development of national energy in African states.”

According to Putin, as reported in RT, Russia is planning oil and gas projects with Angola, Mozambique and Gabon. He said: “In the field of nuclear energy, where Russia is the technological leader, we offer African partners to build an industry from scratch. These projects are crucial for Africa since about 600 million people on the continent live without electricity.”

Putin added that Russian business was also interested in “working with African partners in a wide range of areas, including agriculture, healthcare, the development of mass communications, geology and subsoil use.”


BRICS Could be an Alternative Model of Development to Western Dominance

July 25 -In a July 25 article published on the website of the Valdai Discussion Club, entitled “Brics and the World Order,” Georgy Toloraya suggests that the current BRICS grouping, plus other nations that form part of the “BRICS-Plus” structure (not official members) could offer the world “an alternative model of socio-economic development, differing from that of the West” which is based on “mechanisms of a liberal market or profit gaining…that assumes the dominance of the West.”

Toloraya is the Executive Director of the Russian National Committee for BRICS Research.

He debunks arguments that the BRICS is just a “China-centered structure,” intended only to promote China’s interests or its Belt and Road Initiative. These accusations, he notes, “are very sly statements. The Chinese factor is only one of the BRICS development facets.”

In today’s “turbulent global situation,” Toloraya adds, it is especially important that the BRICS “common denominator” grows. Why? In contrast to the G7, BRICS expresses a “touching unanimity, which is not faked. This is not a mutiny on the ship we see with the G7, when the captain led to one direction while the crew wants to go to another one.” By the time Russia takes over the chairmanship of the group in 2020, he notes, BRICS “could become a united center of the multipolar world…Now BRICS creates its own structure of global governance, and it must
develop in that direction. I do not know, whether that could be accomplished in the context of growing counteraction from the West, but we have to keep working.”

Because the BRICS is a global organization, Toloraya concludes, “these five leading ascendant powers could create a world order that will be more just and balanced than what we see now.” It may not expand yet, but “what we see in the BRICS+ format, which is involving the largest countries that are not the group’s members, but show interest in it, is a significant step towards increasing the BRICS value and making this union a representative of the greater part of humanity.” On the eve of the Johannesburg summit, he concludes, BRICS is not {against}, but {for}: for just economic development conditions, for sustainable development concept to be centered on human beings.”


Xi Jinping to BRICS Business Forum: “New Type of International Relations” Needed

July 25 –Speaking today in Johannesburg to the BRICS Business Forum, Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out the choices before his audience, stressing that “the international community has reached a new crossroads,” while especially emphasizing the role the BRICS must play in ensuring the development of Africa. Will the world choose cooperation or confrontation? he asked, sounding many of the themes that Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche has recently emphasized about whether humanity will rise to the occasion to ensure Africa’s development and fight for “a new type of international relations and a shared future for mankind.”

Xi focused on several points, chief among them the the need to develop and protect a multilateral world, in which all countries have the right to develop, pursuit of science and technology to “seize” development opportunities, and pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative, “to create new opportunities of social and economic development for participating countries… It is our sincere hope that other BRICS countries, African countries and other emerging markets and developing countries, will forge strong partnerships with this Initiative so that its benefits will reach more countries and its peoples.” He also outlined China’s own contributions to world peace and development.

The Chinese leader placed great emphasis on the pursuit of science and technology as a driver for economic development. “Science and technology, as the primary production forces, have provided inexhaustible power, driving progress of human civilization. Humanity had made giant leaps forward as it progressed from an agricultural civilization to an industrial civilization.” And, “the world today has once again reached a critical historic juncture. In the unfolding new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, new things will inevitably emerge and take the place of old ones… if countries succeed in seizing opportunities that have presented themselves, they will be able to achieve new dynamic growth and deliver better lives to their people.”

And Africa? Xi pointed to the fact that Africa is home “to more developing countries than any other continent, Africa has more development potential than any other region in the world. We should strengthen cooperation with Africa, support its development and make BRICS-Africa cooperation a model for South-South cooperation. We should actively carry out cooperation with African countries in such areas as poverty reduction, food security, innovation, infrastructure development and industrialization in a way compatible with their national conditions. We should help African countries develop their economic structure, contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and thus enable Africa, an ancient continent, to gain strong vitality.”

China and African countries, Xi said, “are destined to be good friends, good brothers and good partners, and China-Africa cooperation stands as a fine example of South-South cooperation.” He pointed out that the September summit in Beijing of the Forum on China-African Cooperation, titled “China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation,” intends to “enhance complementarity between China-Africa joint efforts to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative, the 2030 Agenda and the 2063 Agenda on the one hand and the development strategies of African countries on the other. This will enable China and Africa to pursue high quality and high standard cooperation for mutual benefit and common development.”

In concluding, Xi recalled that 2018 marks the centennial of the birth of the revered South African leader Nelson Mandela. Reciting one of Mandela’s famous sayings, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb,” he remarked that this should serve as inspiration for the BRICS. “Indeed, the history of BRICS cooperation is a journey of our five countries climbing great hills only to reach new heights. I am convinced that when our five countries forge ahead together, we will scale new peaks, reach new heights, and make even greater contribution to peace and development of mankind.”


Now Available: The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, Vol. II

We are happy to announce the publication of this second volume, “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge: A Shared Future for Humanity,” in which we bring you an updated picture of the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including detailed region-by-region analysis and newly updated maps.


Belt and Road Initiative To Be Focus of Arab-China Meeting

July 8 -A call for stronger Arab participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative is expected to be the central result of the July 10 meeting in Beijing of the eighth ministerial conference of the Chinese-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), according to a feature by China’s Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi posted in Gulf News. Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People; the CASCF will be attended by host Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and by the foreign ministers and other ministers representing the 21 Arab countries, as well as the secretary-general of the Arab League, and Kuwait Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, he wrote.

“The inception of the CASCF in 2004 has further upgraded China-Arab relations, by adding a new driver in addition to the bilateral channels, and has thus accelerated the growth of China-Arab cooperation across the board,” Wang wrote.

According to China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong, Xi’s speech will highlight his country’s desire to develop stronger relations with Arab states, and it will inject new impetus into these relations, improve prospects of cooperation between the two sides, and bring new hopes to the regional peace.


Excellent Coverage of Schiller Conference by Private Pro-China Media GBTimes

The Finnish-based private pro-China media outlet GBTimes ran excellent coverage of both days of the Schiller Institute conference in Bad Soden, Germany June 30 & July 1, 2018. Under the title “China’s Belt and Road Initiative Has Found a New Friend in the Schiller Institute,” Rosalie Falla reported on several aspects of the opening speech by Helga and the speech by Dr. Xu Jian of the China Institute of International Studies. The following day Falla published, “China’s deal with Italian firms will rescue Lake Chad,” summarizing the details of the great Transaqua project, a continental water project championed by the Schiller Institute and featured at the conference, and now under negotiation by African leaders, and Chinese and Italian firms.


Austrian Proposal for ‘European Silk Road’

July 4 —The Vienna Institute of International Comparative Economics (WIIW) has released a proposal for a “European Silk Road” with investments ranging up to €1 trillion over a 10-year period, focussed on two main corridors. The WIIW proposal is addressed in particular to the Austrian government, for an initiative among the EU partner countries, to be launched during Austria’s half-year rotating EU presidency, which began on July 1.

The WIIW proposals delineate the two corridors. One is Between Lyon and Moscow, extended to Barcelona and Lisbon in the west, and to Nishny Novgorod, Samara and Uralsk in the east. The second corridor runs from Milan to Zurich, Vienna, and Budapest, Bucharest, and Constanta, extended eastward to Novorossyisk and Volgograd, with another branch running to Poti, Tbilisi, and Baku. This can, the survey says, create up to 7 million new jobs, in projects of building bridges, railroads, highways, ports, and other infrastructure.

Explaining the survey, WIIW board member Dionys Lehner said that if Europe had plenty of money to stabilize the volatile banking sector after 2008, money should not be held back where infrastructure projects of this importance are concerned. Particularly the Russian aspect of it is of immediate interest for Austria: More than €300 million of new exports for the Austrian economy annually could be expected to result from such a program.


Japan: Cooperation with China in Third Countries

June 19– Japan’s daily {Yomiuri Shimbun} reported that the revised version of the Japanese government policy on “infrastructure exports” promotes cooperation with China for the first time, writing: “The government will pursue cooperation with China over infrastructure development in other countries amid plans to increase support for projects related to the Belt and Road, a massive economic initiative promoted by Beijing.

“Tokyo hopes to further facilitate the ongoing improvement in Japan-China relations as it seeks to increase business opportunities for Japanese companies. It is in the process of
identifying joint projects with China based on such factors as the transparency.

“A revised version of the government’s basic policy on infrastructure exports, which was released earlier this month, referenced promoting cooperation with China for the first time. The inclusion follows an agreement between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in May in which they pledged to set up a joint committee comprised of both public and private sector officials to coordinate economic cooperation in third countries.

“Abe plans to visit China as early as this year and convene a new forum attended by both public and private sector representatives. Through the forum, the government hopes to
discuss the details of joint projects with China. Tokyo hopes to realize reciprocal visits between the leaders of Japan and China after achieving progress through talks.”
The article also quotes some government and ruling Liberal

Democratic Party (LDP) officials nagging against cooperation, pushing the usual arguments against China, e.g. its alleged hegemonism, which the government “sought to fend off.”


Bolivia and China Sign “Strategic Association” Agreement

June 19–During his June 18-19 state visit to China, Bolivian President Evo Morales and his counterpart Xi Jinping elevated bilateral relations to the status of “strategic association,” by which they will deepen cooperation in a variety of sectors as well as coordinate on important international issues and at the United Nations. A special focus of their discussion was on advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Morales praised China for its efforts to create “a new type of international relations” in this context.

On June 13-14, Morales had a state visit in Russia, during which he and President Vladimir Putin also elevated their bilateral relations to the status of a strategic association. While in Russia, among other things, Morales indicated his interest in allying with the Eurasia Economic Union as well.

In a two-hour meeting June 18 with Xi Jinping, the two leaders signed an 11-point joint declaration detailing the specific areas in which they will expand cooperation — infrastructure, industrialization, finance, trade, manufacturing, science and technology (including aerospace), education and culture among them — and also signed a document committing themselves to jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. Morales expressed the hope that by working together to build the BRI, this will also contribute to expanding cooperation between China and Ibero-America, Xinhua reported.

Xi commented that the BRI “offers a new platform” by which China’s relations with Ibero-America can be strengthened. He also pointed out that both China and Bolivia have ancient civilizations and should learn from each other to explore the use of “ancestral wisdom” to better deal with today’s problems. In terms of financing for development, the joint declaration emphasizes Bolivia’s intention to complete its application for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China’s Eximbank will make a credit line available to assist Bolivia in building a command-and-control center for a subregional security system, and the China Development Bank will be helping to finance construction of the Bombeo-Tuneo highway, according to Xinhua.


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