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UN Security Council Unanimously Pushes for Afghan Political Solution

UN Security Council Unanimously Pushes for Afghan Political Solution

Aug. 4 (EIRNS)—In New York, the UN Security Council unanimously issued a press statement condemning deliberate attacks on civilians in Afghanistan and all instances of terrorism “in the strongest terms” on Aug. 3, while declaring its opposition to restoration of rule by the Taliban, reported The Associated Press. The council called on the Afghan government and the Taliban “to engage meaningfully in an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in order to make urgent progress towards a political settlement and a ceasefire.” The council statement also expressed “deep concern” at the high levels of violence and reported serious human rights abuses in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s offensive. It urged an immediate reduction in violence.

It is noteworthy that the U.S., China and Russia (as well as the U.K. and France) all agreed with this perspective on Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani by phone yesterday to press for a political settlement and lecture Ghani on democracy and human rights.

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar told TOLOnews in an Aug. 2 interview that the Taliban enjoys the support of foreign terrorists in Afghanistan. “The Taliban relies on the support of foreign terrorists and mainly aims to attack cities,” he said. “Afghanistan’s international allies hold the same opinion.”

“Two important encounters will take place in Doha (Qatar) in the coming days: One with our regional allies and the other with international allies in the format of the Extended Troika,” comprised of Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan, Atmar continued. “We are turning to the international community with a request to exert pressure on the Taliban so that this movement observes human rights. Up to now, the Taliban has been brutally assaulting civilians.”

On the ground, heavy fighting reportedly continues in both Herat in western Afghanistan and in the southern province of Helmand. Several airstrikes were reportedly launched by Afghan and U.S. air forces since Tuesday night (Aug. 3), according to security sources. The commander of the Army’s 215 Maiwand Corps, Gen. Sami Sadat, called on residents in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand, to evacuate their homes as the army was preparing for a large-scale operation to clear the city of the Taliban. However, as of the latest reports, the army had not made much progress beyond controlling government buildings.


China Media Cover Schiller Institute Petition Rebuking Demonization of China

Schiller Institute’s China Petition in Chinese Media

Mar.25 (EIRNS) — The Schiller Institute petition denouncing the attacks on China signed by 30 leading experts, was reported in the Chinese media. The China Global Television Network, published an article on the petition but did not name the signatories. Then China Central Television republished the CGTN article. This was followed by a report in CCTV on the French Schiller Institute’s French translation of the petition with a summary in Chinese. Below is the CGTN article in full. Also see links at the end.

China experts urge cooperation, not confrontation with China

The West should do better to respond to an offer of cooperation from China rather than seek confrontation, and find a common way to solve the crises challenging all of humanity, according to a declaration published on Tuesday by the Schiller Institute, a political and economic think tank based in Germany.

The declaration, which was signed by over 30 experts, including the institute’s founder and president Helga Zepp LaRouche, denounced what it said was an intensifying international campaign against China.

“For some time, an international anti-China campaign has escalated, where think tanks, mainstream media and strategic reports of all sorts paint a picture of China and its alleged intentions which is simply not true and is extremely dangerous. An enemy image is being projected that in the worst case leads to war,” it said.

All signatories to the declaration have had “direct experience with China, be it that we have lived or worked there, or from repeated travel over longer periods of time.”

Based on their experience and witnesses, they said the Chinese people are “fundamentally more optimistic about the future than the West” after the nation’s successful poverty eradication campaign. And “trust in government is substantially greater,” which is illustrated and strengthened by the effective way China brought COVID-19 under control.

The statement also said that China has been making progress in science and technology as well as innovation, urging the West to “do better to respond to the offer of cooperation, than seeking confrontation.”

Links to CGTN story.

Link to CCTV story.

Link to CCTV report on French Translation.


China Institutes More Stringent Measures To Combat New COVID Outbreaks

Aug. 4 (EIRNS)—China is experiencing a resurgence of COVID, particularly of the new delta variant, and is implementing more stringent measures to deal with it. Most seem to have developed through imported cases, at the airport in Nanjing and in the south Yunnan province at the Myanmar border. But the provinces of Zhejiang and Henan, where there has been major flooding recently, have also been hit with new cases. The city of Wuhan is also again in the process of conducting nucleic acid testing on its 11 million people in order to avoid a replay of the terrible 2020 outbreak.

The State Council announced on Aug. 3 that COVID-19 prevention and control would now be “the top priority” for local governments. “Airports, harbors and land borders should be closely guarded to prevent imported COVID-19 cases. International travelers and cargo should be strictly separated from spaces where local people can enter,” Sun Chunlan, a member of the Political Bureau said in her comments at the press conference announcing the new measures.

“People that are most prone to infection should be placed in quarantine immediately. Regional investigations targeting close contacts should be completed within 24 hours,” she said. Sun required nationwide scrutiny of in-hospital infection control measures. “Hospitals that fail to meet the standards should carry out rectification or even suspend operations,” she said. There are now four high-risk areas for the COVID outbreak and 150 medium-risk areas. The country has already distributed 1.7 billion doses of the vaccine.


28 Nations Participate in China’s Belt and Road Partnership on COVID Vaccines Cooperation

August 3, 2021 (EIRNS)—On June 23 of this year, at the Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation, presided over by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, 28 nations joined in launching the China Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Covid-19 Vaccine Cooperation. The statement announcing this initiative stressed that international cooperation and solidarity are key to fighting the pandemic, that “people and their lives” must be put first, and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. It emphasized that vaccines must be equitably distributed and that there must be “open, fair and non-discriminatory international cooperation on vaccines.”

A number of other recommendations for the BRI vaccine cooperation initiative included facilitating joint vaccine research, development and technological exchanges; promoting partnerships between vaccine producers and developing countries for joint vaccine production, to scale up global production; encouraging regional and multilateral development banks to provide more concessional financing to developing countries for their vaccine procurement and production; and “strengthening Belt and Road cooperation on connectivity to ensure cross-border flows of vaccines.”

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday, in less than two months the BRI vaccine initiative has yielded impressive results, reaching cooperative agreements with several of the initiative’s 28 co-sponsors on a total of 775 million doses of vaccines, including in the form of concentrates, of which 350 million doses have been delivered. In addition, Chinese companies have started joint production with four co-sponsors of this initiative, whose names were not specified, and are discussing joint production “with other interested countries.” In today’s foreign ministry press conference, spokesman Wang Wenbin reported that China has provided vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccines to 40 countries, also reporting that China is collaborating with other developing nations to mass produce the vaccine. It was also announced today that the World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to China’s Sinovac vaccine. (The full initiative statement is detailed here.)

The 28 countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.


Lavrov and Wang Counter Geopolitical Games of the West

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, struck out against U.S. policy against their countries, including its sanctions and geopolitical games, in a joint press conference in Guilin, Guangxi, during Lavrov’s official two-day visit to China. 

“We reject zero-sum geopolitical games and reject unilateral illegitimate sanctions that our Western colleagues resort to more and more often,” Lavrov said in the joint press conference with Wang Yi today. “We noted the destructive nature of the United States’ intentions to undermine the UN-centered international legal architecture relying on military-political alliances of the Cold War era, and creating new closed alliances in the same vein.” Russia and China, however, will ensure that their bilateral relations are “safe and are not threatened by those states, which are unfriendly towards our countries.” 

He denounced the West‘s claims that Russia and China are carrying out vaccine diplomacy.
“Our partners in the West are trying to portray Russia and China as some kind of adventurers in the field of so-called vaccine diplomacy. This is absolutely not true,” he said. He informed the media that Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on all countries that their vaccine policies must be guided solely by considerations of humanity and the interests of saving lives. “It is absolutely necessary for everyone, including our partners in the West, to remember that.”

Lavrov also declared Russian relations with the European Union are nonexistent: “There are no relations with the European Union as an organization. The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made by Brussels.”

He pointed out that “There are only a few European partner countries that have a desire to act based on their national interests.” And therefore, “Objectively, this led to cooperation between Russia and China developing faster than what is left of relations with the European countries.”
For his part, Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi also minced no words for the EU for imposing sanctions on China over alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. “They [sanctions] will not receive the support of the international community, especially the so-called sanctions imposed on the basis of lies. I believe that all countries should oppose this,” Wang Yi said. “[Western powers] should know that the days when they can arbitrarily interfere in China’s internal affairs by making up stories and lies are long gone.”

Russia and China will work for the protection of the world order based on international law, Wang affirmed. “We should act as guarantors of justice in international affairs. China is ready to promote the international system established by the United Nations, protect the world order based on international law, and abide by universal values such as peace, development, justice, democracy, equality and freedom.”


Schiller Institute Afghanistan Webinar: Circulate a Common Interest Development Program Right Away

July 31 (EIRNS)–Today the Schiller Institute brought together in a five-hour intense discussion at an international virtual conference, diplomats and experts from many nations, including Afghanistan, Russia, China, Pakistan, the United States, Italy and others, on the theme: “Afghanistan: A Turning Point in History After the Failed Regime-Change Era.”

Helga Zepp-LaRouche (Germany,) Chairwoman and founder of the Schiller Institute, who has been leading a process of institutional and informal dialogue for the past 18 months, said at the conclusion of today’s event, that we now “have a perspective of where to go.” The priority is “to put development on the table, which will be difficult to refuse” by anyone, and to give all the support possible to make it happen. The last speaker of the day, Hussein Askary (Sweden/Iraq,) Southwest Asia Coordinator for the Schiller Institute, put it forcefully, that we must “make development the first item” in any talks, not the last. He warned, “Keep the warlords and the British out!” Askary’s presentation, which covered concrete aspects of development, was titled, “Put Afghanistan on the Belt and Road to Peace.”

The event was opened by Moderator Dennis Speed (U.S.A.), who said that the deliberations would change the usual conception of war or peace, to partake of the diplomacy of formulating policies for mutual understanding and development. He introduced a short 1985 video by statesman-economist Lyndon LaRouche making the point, with reference to President Abraham Lincoln’s record, that the power of infrastructure transforms an economy. Zepp-LaRouche’s opening remarks stressed that we are at a special moment in history, where geopolitical confrontation must be ended, and a new paradigm begun—not only for Eurasian integration and prosperity, but for universal history. She showed the beautiful “Golden Mask” artifact, to make the point of the 5,000-year history of the Central Asian region.

Playing a lead role in the discussion from beginning to end was Professor Pino Arlacchi (Italy), who participated from Italy. Currently Sociology Professor at the Sassari University, he was Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (1997-2002,) and former European Parliament Rapporteur on Afghanistan. He spoke on, “Eradicate Opium in Afghanistan, Develop Modern Agriculture, Build the Nation, Now.” He described his original plan which by 2001 had nearly eliminated opium poppy growing in Afghanistan, which then was reversed under the ensuing years from 2001 of U.S. and NATO military operations. Arlacchi again proposed a plan in 2010, which was thwarted by the EU, Britain and the U.S. Today, Afghanistan is the source of over 80% of the world’s opium drugs. Arlacchi laid out what can and must be done today. The needed approach uses alternative agriculture—supporting farmers to switch to other crops, and similar realistic methods. Arlacchi stressed how relatively inexpensive this is, given the huge leverage by the drug cartels. Farmers in Afghanistan might get $300 to 350 million for their opium crop, which then is worth $20 billion to organized crime in Europe. There are many alternative crops of great use and value, for example saffron.

The diplomats presented a sweeping picture of the present situation. Ambassador Hassan Shoroosh (Afghanistan), the Afghanistan ambassador to Canada, spoke from Ottawa, saying that there is a “new chapter of partnership” ahead, which must be worked out. His talk was, “The Way Forward for Afghanistan.” He said that his country is “positioned to serve as a land-bridge” in Eurasia, and reviewed in detail various transportation corridors, from the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, to the Five Nations Railway route.

Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva (Russia,) from the New York City, where she is Deputy Permanent Representative at the Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN. Her presentation was titled, “Russia’s Outlook for Afghanistan and Eurasia.” She stressed that the goal is stability, and there is no military solution. There are important frameworks among the neighbors in the region, including the CSTO and SCO and bilateral relations. There is a special role for the “extended troika,” which has been in place for many years. There are meetings coming up in the near future. She noted that transport and infrastructure are of great significance.

Dr. Wang Jin (China,) Fellow at The Charhar Institute, spoke on the topic, “Afghanistan and the Belt and Road Initiative.” He presented four key aspects of China’s concerns: 1) that there are no “spillover” impacts of instability; 2) that there is a future of advancement for Afghanistan; 3) that extremism and terrorism do not gain ground; and 4) that China and Afghanistan have positive ties.

From Pakistan, Mr. Hassan Daud spoke. He is the CEO of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province Board of Investment. He pointed out that Afghanistan is one of “the least integrated” economically in the Central and South Asian region, after these decades of strife. He spoke of the great “economic spillover” that will ensure, with Pakistan leveraging its position and resources to become a logistical hub, and extending benefits to Afghanistan through CPEC and the BRI. We must have “the spirit of the ancient Silk Road” again. He called for more seminars on this, involving scholars, chambers of commerce and others.

From the United States, Ray McGovern spoke. He is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, co-founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Addressing the topic, “The Real Interest of the United States in Asia,” he made many strong points, including that there must be “accountability” for the string of commanders who lied about what the U.S. was doing in Afghanistan, also in Iraq and elsewhere. He dramatically pointed out, that there weren’t even competent “situation estimates” that should have been done, about terrain, weather, LOC—lines of communication, and other standard assessments of what the U.S. is doing in places. In 2010, the U.S. Navy logistics was paying $400 a gallon to put gas in the tanks of military vehicles in Afghanistan! He hit hard at the racism involved in presuming you can do anything, anywhere; he quoted Kipling.

Many others were involved in the two question and answer periods, with important exchanges over key topics. For example, Earl Rasmussen, Vice President of the Eurasian Society, raised the point of the necessity to build trust. Dr. Stephen Fischer, an American physician, reported on a year he spent in public health in Afghanistan, working with a provincial reconstruction team. Zepp-LaRouche stressed many times, that in the context of the prolonged pandemic, it is imperative that we move in Afghanistan, and everywhere, for public health and modern medical care infrastructure.

Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva made a concluding point, that it is “important to rise above geopolitics.” She said that in Russia, “at all levels, including President Putin,” we are ready for cooperation.” Helga Zepp-LaRouche called on the panelists, and anyone in the viewing audience, to contribute to the development program perspective under discussion, and mobilize. Prof. Arlacchi, who has a new book out, Against Fear (in Italian,) gave parting words that, “peace is stronger than war. Let’s be more courageous. Not a victim of huge deceptions.” The full conference is archived for viewing. Now is the time to join the Schiller Institute.


Caribbean Nations to Join China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Caribbean Nations Want to Cooperate With China on the Belt and Road

March 17 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping held separate teleconferences yesterday with the President of Guyana and the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and their teams, encountering great interest from each in expanding their country’s collaboration with China on economic development, and with the Belt and Road Initiative, in particular, according to Xinhua’s report. Xi spoke with both of China’s willingness to work together with the entire Caribbean region on development.

Guyanese President Dr. Irfaan Ali had his Vice President and three cabinet ministers (Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Finance) join him in the discussion, his office reported. Xinhua reported that Dr. Ali thanked Xi in the name of the leaders of major political parties and ministers of Guyana, for China’s assistance in the fight against the pandemic, and spoke of how Guyana “regards China as the most important cooperative partner in its national development, and is committed to strengthening relations between the two parties and two countries.” He conveyed that “Guyana expects to actively promote the Belt and Road cooperation with China, and strengthen cooperation in infrastructure and other fields, and stands ready to actively promote the development of relations between the Caribbean Community and China,” Xinhua noted.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley was also joined in his teleconference call with Xi by three ministers (Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, National Security and Health), along with the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, his office reported. From Xinhua’s report, it can be said that the geopolitical tale of a “malign” China has not made headway here. Rowley spoke of “the great achievements of the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in such fields as economy, science and technology and poverty alleviation.” Citing China’s success in defeating the COVID-19 epidemic, and leadership in the global fight against the pandemic, Rowley told Xi: “the CPC should feel proud of itself.” As had the Guyanese President, he expressed his nation’s willingness to work with China to actively promote Belt and Road cooperation.


RIAC Analyst Believes Geo-Economics Is Overtaking Geopolitics in Central Asia

July 24 (EIRNS) — Moscow-based American foreign affairs expert Andrew Korybko writes on his blog on the website of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), that the ongoing settlement of the Afghanistan war is putting “geo-economics” ahead of the zero-sum game of geopolitics. He writes that “geo-economics” is at the center of the cooperation among the U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan in seeking an Afghan settlement and the creation of the so-called “Quad” of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States which was created on July 16 at the connectivity conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This latter, Korybko writes, “complements the prior such platform between the former two states, China and Tajikistan back in 2016 as well as the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway project that was agreed upon in February.”

Crucial to the development according to Korybko is Pakistan’s new “Geo-Economic Grand Strategy Is Multi-Alignment,” which was adopted during March’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, where it was announced that geo-economics will now constitute the basis for all policy formulation and not geopolitics. The first fruits of the policy was the creation of the so-called Quad platform among Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the U.S.

Korybko writes: “Pakistan is actively fulfilling its geostrategic destiny as the ‘Zipper of Eurasia’” by connecting a variety of stakeholders through their shared economic interests. “Islamabad is leveraging its influence in Afghanistan to advance the neighboring country’s peace process, which saw it facilitate Beijing and Moscow’s incipient ties with the Taliban. Upon these multipolar great powers establishing pragmatic political relations with the group, they were then able to seriously countenance the viability of trans-Afghan connectivity corridors. Russia is interested in reaching the Indian Ocean Region through PAKAFUZ (which can also unofficially be conceptualized as N-CPEC+), while China is pioneering the so-called “Persian Corridor” to Iran via Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The U.S., meanwhile, aims to use PAKAFUZ as a means for expanding its economic influence in the post-withdrawal Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics (CARs).”

As for India, it is finding itself left out of the process, he writes, because it is maintaining a geopolitical policy aimed at countering Pakistan. Nonetheless, he believes now India has begun to seriously reassess its policy away from geopolitical principles, which of course will require an improvement of relations with Pakistan. One option would be reversing the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 which dismantled the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir to bifurcate the region, which would admittedly be a very difficult political decision.

He concludes: “The very fact that the U.S., which is known for its geopolitically driven zero-sum policies, is joining together with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in order to expand its economic influence in Central Asia speaks to just how dramatically everything is changing.”


Space Science – China-Russia Move Ahead

China-Russia Lunar Station To Be at South Pole, Will Start Unmanned

March 15 (EIRNS)—Xinhua published a report March 14 on the lunar research station planned by the China-Russia MOU signed March 9, which it characterized as “the fourth phase of [China’s] lunar exploration program, while implying it would be a prelude to, rather than part of, manned exploration of the lunar surface. Wu [Weiren] did say, though, that manned lunar missions are on China’s agenda”—the highest-level scientist to give that definite an answer to date. Xinhua took its coverage from an interview by China Space News with Wu Weiren, the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, member of the Academy of Engineering.

Three missions were named: lunar sample return by Chang’e-6, resource survey of the South Pole by Chang’e-7, and technology testing by Chang’e-8 in preparation for the construction of the station. These robotic landings are planned to take place in the next few years. Wu said that in the five-year period 2021-25, China will keep developing heavy launch vehicles and “achieve breakthroughs in rocket body sizes and engine thrust to support deep space exploration, in which the Moon is included. The implication is that once the three missions above are implemented, China will be engaged in studying manned landing at the South Pole “for a long-term lunar stay” at the site of the research station. The South Pole, which could have more than 180 consecutive days of sunlight, “would be highly convenient for astronauts carrying out scientific research,” Xinhua reported.

Wu is quoted: “If the lunar research station project can be successfully implemented, China will not be far away from achieving manned landing on the Moon.” And his message to young people was, “In the vast universe, I hope that more young people will dream, explore, and fight.”


China National Nuclear Has Started Construction of `SMR’

China National Nuclear Has Started Construction of `SMR’ —

July 18 (EIRNS) — China National Nuclear Corporation now has a small modular reactor “in the construction phase” after approval of its design by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to articles in OilPrice.com and Global Times. The reactor is rated at 125 MW of power. The start of the construction phase is reported by OilPrice.com to have been delayed by four years after originally being scheduled in 2017. There is scant information in either piece as to the mode of construction or location of a factor to build units – the planned first reactor (“Linglong 1”) is perhaps the only unit to be located at the site, which is in Chiangjiang in Hainan Province in the south of China, a center of CNNC nuclear power production.
            But the Global Times article contains an ambitious and accurate description of what fourth-generation small modular reactors will do: “Unlike 3rd-generation large reactors such as the Hualong 1, which has an electric power output of 1 million kilowatts, far greater than the power range of a small reactor, the Linglong 1 can realize the multi purposes of nuclear energy, such as heat supply for cities, industrial steam, seawater desalination, oil exploitation and other different needs, in addition to electricity generating. The energy generated by Linglong 1 can be applied to various scenarios such as industrial parks, islands, mining areas and energy supplied by high-energy consuming enterprises, meeting the development needs of Hainan.


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