Top Left Link Buttons
  • en
  • de

New Silk Road / BRI updates

Category Archives

Schiller Institute’s Sébastien Périmony Goes to Ivory Coast & Angola

by Sébastien Périmony, @SebPerimony  

Saturday, June 15, 2019, a conference on the New Silk Road was held at the headquarters of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.

This conference, organized by the Association pour la Sauvegarde et la Promotion de la Pensée d’El Adj-Boubacar Gamby Sakho (ASPP-BGS) in partnership with the Foundation Félix Houphouët-Boigny for Peace Research, brought together about 400 young students, mainly from the Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët-Boigny de Yamoussoukro.

aud-nsr

The objectives were as follows:

  • Improve China’s knowledge and visibility in Ivory Coast
  • Present the example of Chinese development, with particular emphasis on the crucial role played by the Silk Road
  • Lay the foundations for the bilateral partnership between Ivory Coast and China, between Chinese and Ivoirian industrialists, researchers, etc.
  • Highlight the impact of culture on the harmonious development of Ivory Coast
  • Make Yamoussokro the scientific capital of West Africa in infrastructure, medicine, information technology and telecommunications (5G, Big data, artificial intelligence), robotics, space education.
  • Make Yamoussokro a “smart-city”
  • Develop from Yamoussokro special economic zones and industrial parks such as Ethiopia or Kenya.

The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Joseph Kobi, introduced the conference with two quotes from President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who urged the integration of culture into the dynamics of development.

t-ic-nsr

Two conferences were given on the following themes: “Presentation of the New Silk Road: Opportunities for Africa, the Case of Ivory Coast” and “Africa and the New Silk Road: Cultural and Strategic Approach.” Their moderator was Professor Bamba, a professor and researcher in history at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University in Cocody, Ivory Coast.

The first lecture was given by Mr. Sébastien Périmony of the Schiller Institute. The speaker first presented the purpose of the New Silk Road project, which is to put an end to centuries of conflict, war and colonialism and instead, move towards “a world of mutual development and dialogue of cultures.”

He described the history of the idea of connecting the world through major infrastructure projects, dating at least back to the 1890s, with the proposal to connect the American transcontinental railway to the railway network in Europe.

Périmony then described the 1975 proposal of American economist Lyndon LaRouche (late husband of Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche)  which was the creation of an International Development Bank that would be entirely dedicated to industrial and infrastructure development. In 1980, LaRouche proposed a comprehensive plan for the industrialization of the African continent.

Building on the economic concepts developed by Mr. LaRouche, the speaker outlined three economic principles: the potential for relative population density, leapfrog, and energy-flux density.

Turning to the issue of New Silk Road, Périmony said that this project began to take shape following the announcement in September 2013 by President Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan launching the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, project based on the idea of a “community of shared future of humanity.”

With regard to the particular case of Africa, the moderator clarified the African Union’s desire to link, by 2063, all African capitals with a view to cooperation with the rest of the world. As such, several projects have been detailed :

  • Transaqua, which consists in revitalizing Lake Chad
  • The trans-Sahelian, a railway project that will go from Mauritania to Chad via Mali and Niger
  • The Lumumba 2050 project aimed at modernizing the Democratic Republic of Congo with 9,500 km of high-speed rail and the development of the Congo River
  • The Great Inga Dam in the D.R.C. and the interconnection of the African Great Lakes in east
  • The Great Green Wall, a project to reforest 12 African countries to stop the spread of the Sahara
  • The development of the Lac Figuibine system in Mali: an irrigation project aimed at the establishment of a modern agriculture
  • Rail modernization in Nigeria: two lines of about 1400 km each are in progress. This could contribute to the reduction of terrorism.

With particular reference to Ivory Coast, emphasis was given to the construction of the railway loop in West Africa, known as Africarail. A project that would be an important first step in the industrialization of the country. This railway loop, which would start in Abidjan, would pass through Yamoussoukro, then on to Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Togo, would strengthen Yamoussoukro’s central position as the scientific capital of West Africa. It should be recalled that the Institut National Polytechnique, which is unique in the region, already welcomes some students from other neighboring countries.  This rail loop will be the central part of the broader trans-Sahelian project and would therefore place Côte d’Ivoire as an inevitable center in the development of the sub-region.

The second lecture was delivered by Mr. Pierre Fayard, Professor Emeritus at the University of Poitiers. The speaker developed the theme “Africa and the New Silk Road: A Cultural and Strategic Approach” around culture, the economy and the strategy of conquest.

aud-nsr-ii

A question and answer session provided an opportunity to gather participants’ concerns which included questions about the debt repayment generated by the New Silk Road; the concern of moving to a neo-colonialism; the participation of African States in the determination of infrastructure construction projects; the means for Africa to achieve Chinese cultural integration; the accession of all African countries to the Silk Road project; the issue of equity and equality in Sino-African cooperation.

The response to presentations revealed that this project will not be launched in Africa without the support of Africans. It will be a win-win cooperation.


Then, from June 18-20 2019, Périmony traveled to Angola for the ANGOTIC  — Angola ICT Forum 2019 — a global event dedicated to information and communication technologies (ICT) for knowledge sharing. The event is a networking hub for government entities, industry players and new mobile service providers that brought together more than 8,000 participants and 150 speakers over three days, from various sectors, public and private, actors from across the ICT ecosystem in the country and abroad.

This information and communication technology exhibition “Angotic 2019,” targets all technological tools that aim to provide solutions to problems related to health, education, agriculture, fishing, etc. National and international speakers addressed various topics related to the digital economy and what some call  “the fourth industrial revolution.”

seb-p-wa

Sébastien Périmony, representing the Schiller Institute, was able to speak on the theme “Education in the Digital Era.”

Before more than a 100 people, including the Secretary of State for Technical  Education, managers of an Angolan telecom company Unitel S.A., and IBM, as well as a professor of law at Agostinho Neto University, Périmony presented the Schiller Institute’s dossier on the New Silk Road and its impact in Africa, requiring a revolution in education on the continent to mobilize young people around the major infrastructure, science and technology projects on the horizon.  (see the full speech below)

“We believe that over the next three years, the projects will help to connect all parts of the country, especially as we evolve and provide more and more ICT services to the population” said José Carvalho da Rocha, Telecommunications and Information Technology, at a round table attended by Rwanda’s Minister of Information and Communication Technologies and Innovation Paula Ingabire, former Prime Minister of Cape Verde José Maria Pereira Neves,  and former Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

The Angolan minister stressed the commitment to the implementation of structural projects such as the deployment of a 22,000 km fiber optic network.

Paula Ingabire offered Angola a partnership in these areas, announcing the signing, during the event, of a memorandum of understanding that will allow the governments and companies of both countries to transfer their knowledge and technologies.

Angola does not cover 50% to 60% of what it could develop in the field of telecommunications, so the potential for investment in the sector is very high. Introducing the forum, Angolan Vice President Bornito de Soussa Baltazar Diogo stressed the government’s focus on the digital transformation sector, but argued that the executive must first examine all sectors of activity, from submarine cables to optical fiber and satellites. About 65% of African communities are located in rural areas and most often have no access to digital services.

Historic day for Angola

The very first satellite produced in Angola was launched in Cabo Ledo on Wednesday, June 19, 2019,  on the occasion of Angotic 2019. Called “CanSat,” the mini-satellite is the result of collaboration between the National Space Program Management Office (GGPEN), the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTTI), the Department of Space Science and Applied Research (DCEPA), and several Angolan students.

The conference participants were able to watch the launch live, remotely from the conference in Luanda, which was broadcast from a helicopter at an altitude of 500 meters, and waited with apprehension to see if the results were captured from the ground by the students who set up the project. The emotion reached its peak when the first results arrived on the students’ computers and the room exploded with joy and endless applause erupted to celebrate this historic day in Angola. Long journeys always start with a first step.

The excitement was palpable at the various stands dedicated to Angolan space policy, and the mini-satellite was present on the Angosat stand (the Angolan satellite program).

Agreement with France

According to the newspaper Jornal de Angola, a technical and scientific cooperation protocol, valued at $1.2 million, was signed in Luanda by the Agostinho Neto Universities (UAN) and the Belfort Montbéliard University of Technology (UTBM) in France. The agreement provides for a disbursement of $600,000 by each party, mainly to facilitate the two-way mobility of teachers and students from both countries, as part of an exchange of experiences inherent in the industrial systems engineering course. Pedro Magalhães, Dean of Agostinho Neto University, and Ghislain Montavon, Dean of the Belfort Montbéliard University of Technology, signed the agreements. The meeting coincided with the Angotic 2019 in Luanda, where key issues in the sector were discussed.

sp-wip

On June 20, Périmony was met with the president of the Agostinho Neto foundation, the widow of the first President of Angola Agostinho Neto, and his daughter Irene Alexandra Neto, who is deputy in Angola and presented the Schiller Institute report on the New Silk Road.


SPEECH DELIVERED AT ANGOTIC 2019 THE FORUM BY SÉBASTIEN PÉRIMONY to present the “African space” part of the Schiller Institute’s report on the New Silk Road

Mr. Secretary of state,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor to be invited to attend the conference held in such a beautiful country. I am responsible for African issues at the Schiller Institute and I am very honored to speak here on behalf of its president, Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche. I will start by quoting a statement she recently made in the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, just before her intervention at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations forum in Beijing last month [May 15, 2019].

“I think we are probably the generation on whom later generations will look back to, and say, ‘Oh! This was really a fascinating time, because it was a change from an epoch to another one.’  And I have an image of that, which is, this change that we are experiencing right now, is probably going to be bigger than the change in Europe between the Middle Ages and modern times.  Now, I think we are before, or the middle of such an epochal change, where the next era of mankind will be much, much more creative than the present one, and that’s something to look forward to, because we can actually shape it, and we can bring our own creative input into it.  And there are not many periods in history when that is the case:  So we are actually lucky.”

I’ve been invited to present the report that we have just published, “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge: A Shared Future for Humanity.” A 500-hundred pages report which has been produced by our organization and which was already translated into Chinese, Arabic, and recently in French too. This report presents the new paradigm initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013 with the launching of the “One Belt, One Road initiative” that integrates (includes plutôt) major development projects from around the world. An important part of this report is devoted to the future of Africa. Because the New Silk Road is also aimed at helping Africa do what the Chinese managed to achieve, which is already considered as an economic miracle, that is, pulling 700 million people out of poverty.

So as I said, an important part of this report is devoted to the development of Africa. With a top-down approach, which consists in laying the basis for the breakthroughs in science and the creation of new technologies that define the future of mankind.

Ironically, the deficit of basic infrastructure in Africa, as it was in China, is an advantage, in that it allows nations to skip the intermediate stages of development that occurred over centuries in the industrialized countries, to leapfrog directly into the technologies that are at the frontier. This is the approach that has been taken by China, deploying high-speed rail and magnetically levitated trains, and fourth-generation nuclear fission technology. Similarly, China’s space program is not simply repeating what other nations have done, but is carrying out challenging missions that have never been attempted before.

The great projects underway, and the drive to lift the remaining millions in China and Africa out of poverty, will depend upon the use of space technology. Satellite communications will connect rural populations to their neighbors, their governments, and to the rest of the world, and provide capabilities for distance learning and telemedicine. Data mapping of geographic and geologic features will inform the location (je comprends pas, s’il s’agit de permettre d’identifier le lieu idéal pour la mise en place de nouveaux projets, je dirais : will permit to choose ideal locations for new projects and transport routes) of new projects and transport routes, and to detect new water and mineral resources.

In the future Earth remote sensing will monitor agricultural crops for drought and disease, provide disaster warnings, and locate ocean resources. Technology has recently been developed, using GPS satellites, in order to monitor the most minute movement of large structures, such as bridges and dams.

But even more important than the practical benefits of space exploration is the drive for knowledge that is humanity’s sole responsibility. The greatest contribution space programs will make in Africa, will be to develop the talent and creativity of a new generation of scientists, who will make new discoveries far into the future. This is why education is the priority.

Unfortunately, and it is the subject of the day: today the level of education in Africa is still too low.  The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which tracks literacy publishes statistics to show that the literacy rate for Sub-Saharan Africa was 65% in 2017. In other words, one-third of the people ages 15 and above were unable to read and write.

And if Africa in general, or any country in particular, wants to succeed in its industrialization process, and in “Making the Future,” it will have to be implemented through a very efficient education program.

You know that before the French Revolution, 50% of men and 70% of women were not able to read or write!

But In 1801, Jean-Antoine Chaptal, the father of public education in France stated in 1801: “To not make public education free for all is to strike the people in their very body, to cause the nation to become demoralized. Therefore, it is a necessity to ensure education and to make it general and available to all. The government must create public schools everywhere.”

He was a collaborator of Lazare Carnot and Gaspard Monge who found the Ecole Polytechnique, which has since been one of the best schools in the world, and generated major breakthroughs in science and technology. At the same time l’Abbé Grégoire has found the CNAM, the national conservatory of arts and trades in 1794 in order to “perfect national industry.”  And I think those could can be models for Africa’s education strategy.

That said where should we start first? So the first thing to do is:  One village, One school in all the countries in Africa!

And at the same time, building universities for science and technology as it is currently done in China, as I said in my introduction: high-speed rail,  fourth-generation nuclear fission technology and fusion, modern agriculture, space industry and so on and so forth.

So a double dynamics, one village, one school and then universities providing the highest education possible in science and technology and art.

I’m optimistic, in 2017, science and education ministers representing the nations of the Africa Union adopted the first “African Space Policy: Towards Social, Political and Economic Integration.” It describes the benefits of space technology as “crucial to the economical development of the continent”

We need to prepare the youth to meet this challenge.

Dr. Lee-Anne McKinnell, currently the Managing Director responsible for the Space Science Program of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), explained that through her program, students from throughout Africa are being trained, with exchange visit among student from Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

On Feb. 11th this year, Angola’s Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology José Carvalho da Rocha said that Angosat-2, under construction in France, will be operational in 2021. And built by our French aerospatial company Airbus.  I noticed that recently ANGOSAT EDUCA was launched here as an educational-purpose application, an initiative of the Office of Management of the National Space Program (GGPEN), in the field of space education, which aims to disseminate basic concepts on space and gather information about the ANGOSAT project, which is framed in the National Space Program.

So to conclude: The announcement of the One Belt, One Road initiative has defined a new paradigm in the world.  It is not a hypothetical or academic speculation, it is a reality taking hold in the world now.

There is a profound reason for optimism for the African continent, because with the rise of China, and especially the New Paradigm which emerged with the Belt and Road Initiative, the world has been changing, especially in the last five years at an incredible speed. What China has done with the New Silk Road is to develop a new model of relations among nations, and it is an initiative which is open to all nations of the world.

This report presents in detail an integrated, continental transport plan, a trans-African transport network, but also inter-regional project for water, the Transaqua project, to fight desertification with the great green wall, the development of the Republic Democratic of Congo and its neighbors, and many others projects.

So now it is high time to see Africa with the eyes of the future.

Thank you very much

 


China Daily Reports on Los Angeles Schiller Institute Forum

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president of the Schiller Institute international think tank, “urged the U.S. to join the Belt and Road Initiative during a forum that shed light on the principles and scope of China-proposed global development initiative,” China Daily, the national English-language newspaper, reported Tuesday.

China Daily cited Zepp-LaRouche’s videotaped message to the forum held by the Schiller Institute and the P.R.C. Consulate in Glendale two days ago, on the subject of  “China’s Belt and Road Initiative — A Historic Opportunity for the U.S.A.”

“`We want to cooperate with the Belt and Road Initiative, but we emphatically insist that the U.S. must be a part of it,’ Zepp-LaRouche told the forum, which was attended by diplomats from China, Belgium and Kenya, as well as representatives of local government,” the paper reported.

“Zepp-LaRouche praised China’s reform and opening-up efforts, which she said has not only transformed China economically, but also allowed China to help other developing countries overcome underdevelopment and poverty. ‘Now, the West should not be upset about it, because they could have done the same thing. Why didn’t the U.S. and Europe develop Africa, Latin America, and most of the Asian countries?’ she asked.”

Notably, China Daily reported that in his presentation on the BRI to the forum, China’s Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles Shi Yuanqiang said that while the U.S. government did not send any representatives to the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year, U.S. Embassy representatives did attend, and “in fact, the U.S. had the largest group of delegates among all the countries at the second forum.”

Shi emphasized that countless opportunities are available for American corporations through BRI projects, China Daily reported.


CGTN’s Yang Rui Interviews Helga Zepp-LaRouche & Bill Jones on His ‘Dialogue’ Broadcast

CGTN anchor Yang Rui interviewed Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Bill Jones during their recent China trip, which was aired on June 13 for the “Yang Rui Dialogue” program, headlined “BRI Incentives and Risk Assessment.” A transcript is provided below.

Transcript

YANG RUI:  The Belt and Road Initiative has been thrust into the media limelight for several years.  With more and more countries onboard now, China will not be the party that dictates where the cooperation is heading.  For all parties’ common interests, China will inevitably undergo a range of policy adjustments along the way, to ensure the Initiative delivers win-win results that are long-lasting and sustainable.  But, what is behind some of the criticisms against the Initiative, and what can the BRI us?  Unilateralism undermines world economic patterns.  To discuss this issue and more, I’m happy to be joined in the studio by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and President of the Schiller Institute, and Bill Jones, Washington bureau chief of Executive Intelligence Review.

That’s our topic. This is “Dialogue.”  I’m Wang Rui.

Welcome to our show.  Do you think the rest of the world has developed a better understanding about the Belt and Road Initiative after so many years of debates, discussions and media fanfare since 2013?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, I would think that the people of Asia, for sure.  I just attended the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, and the reaction to Xi Jinping’s speech was really extraordinary, because people realized that they are participating in the evolution of a completely new system of international relations, which is overcoming geopolitics.  I think people are sick and tired of confrontation and war as a way of solving problems, and they appreciate very much that every conflict on the planet can be solved through dialogue.  So, I think this is very well understood in Asia, in Africa, even some of the Europeans are becoming very enthusiastic.  As matter of fact 22 of 28 EU nations are already cooperating.  So I think the rest will be a question of time.

YANG :  But it seems the top concern of the EU about the BRI has been the issue of transparency.  Bill, what do you make of their concerns?

WILLIAM JONES:  I think a lot of it is a tempest in a teapot.  The Belt and Road Initiative has been transparent to the people who are receiving the investment, who are benefitting from it.  There is also an issue that people can see what’s happening on the ground, with the improvement of the general conditions of life of the people who are recipients of the Belt and Road Initiative.  The reason that there’s this objective is, however, that people are concerned, on the one hand, that it has been a Chinese initiative, not an initiative taken by the European Union.  It is also breaking with the policies of the EU and of the West generally, of demanding conditionalities for any investment that’s made in places like Africa, India, and Asia. China has been intent on building infrastructure:  They don’t demand certain conditions which are not necessary, and they’re not concerned about the different political systems that exist in those countries:  The goal is to improve the lives of the people, and people can see that on the ground.  And the objections that are raised to the so-called “transparency” issues, I think are just an attempt to stop the momentum that has been created.

YANG :  Helga, it seems, some of the member states of the European Union are starting to break the silence, by standing up to the BRI memorandum, such as Italy, which indeed surprised their American friends.  Do you think what Italy has done, is likely to trigger a similar domino reactions that the British authorities had done before the rest of the European Union had followed suit, regarding the AIIB?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the Italian memorandum of understanding with China can be the model for the relations of all European countries with China, not only in the bilateral agreement, but to have a joint mission, for example, to develop the continent of Africa.  Africa will have 2.5 billion by the year 2050, and either the Europeans join hands with China and other nations to industrialize the African continent, or you will have the biggest refugee crisis ever in history.  And the Italian government, especially Prime Minister [Giuseppe] Conte has already advocated that Italy intends to take the lead to bring the Europeans into cooperation with the Belt and Road Initiative. And the good thing is that, contrary to what some people think, Conte also has a good relationship with President Trump.

So I think the strategic question, number one, is how do we get development among many nations in the world, but finally, the United States must be brought into the Belt and Road Initiative, because if you don’t do that, there is the danger of the Thucydides Trap.  But I think the Italian government is play a very constructive role in all of these questions.

YANG : Secretary Pompeo has been selling the idea, wherever he goes, that China will be a threat.  Why are we so bad?

Now, when we look at, say, our investment in the infrastructure building in Africa, it seems to amount to a project, a mega one, of industrialization, a massive project of industrialization.  What about the consequences arising from, for example, the trade war that is just started between the United States and China?  What do you think of the impact of this trade dispute between Washington and Beijing upon Africa, and our business presence there?

JONES: It’ll be absolutely disastrous, because it will hinder, it will place an obstacle in the free development of the Belt and Road Initiative; it’ll raise suspicions that really have no basis whatsoever.  And it’s disastrous for the United States, itself: President Trump is not going to be able to create a strong economy in the United States through trade embargoes or trade tariffs.  He has to invest in infrastructure, he has to invest in science and technology.  And there are certain attempts to do that now, over the last couple of weeks, in terms of the space program in the United States and the attempt to have a discussion with the Democrats over infrastructure.  But if he doesn’t bring down these tariffs, if he doesn’t create a good relationship with China, this is not going to work.

China, in fact, can help in building infrastructure:  They could invest in an infrastructure bank in the United States with much of the money that is now held in Treasury bills, in order to build high-speed rail in the United States.  The U.S. economy is going down, not because of trade, and not because of China, but because of a failure of governments over decades, in investing in industry and technology.

YANG: The idea of a China threat covers many things, such as ideology.  Well, many say that the Cold War is making a comeback. So, does it mean, Helga, that many African countries have to take sides?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  The Chinese model is very attractive to the Africa countries, because it shows a way of how to overcome poverty, the miracle which China has undergone in the last 40 years is admired by many Africans, and they are now demanding to be treated more equally by the Europeans.  They don’t want to hear Sunday sermons and words about human rights and good governance, and no investment.  They demand from the Europeans, direct investment and not development aid which disappears into the pockets of the NGOs.

So, I think we are in a period of transformation, where either the West finds its way back to better traditions, like the humanist periods of the Classical period of 200 years ago, where there was actually a much larger affinity between the moral values of the European classics and China.  For example, if you look at the similarity between Confucius and Friedrich Schiller, after whom the Schiller institute is named, they have the same idea of the moral improvement of the population.  Confucius talks about the aesthetical education of man; Xi Jinping has put a lot of emphasis recently on the aesthetic education of the students, because the goal of this is the beauty of the mind, and this is the ideal which used to be the case for Europe, and for the early American republic!  The problem with the West is that, as you can see in the United States, they have turned away to a very large degree, from the ideas of their early historical period.  But they’re going down: The West is in a moral collapse, the economy is far from being in such a great shape as they say, and the statistics would say.  So it’s really a question for the West to change.

And I think there are many countries, you mentioned some in Europe already, which absolutely are willing to find a new model. I think it’s not so much a question of choosing; I think we are witnessing the creation of new paradigm of international relations, where the best of all countries and traditions must come into it.

YANG: Increasingly, there’s no question that much of the strength that China can project into a continent like Africa would largely depend on the construction of “soft power.” What do you know about Confucius schools in Africa?  Why do you think the United States considered things we teach Confucius schools in the United States a threat, whilst it seems these schools are very popular in the African continent?

JONES:  Well, you see in the United States, there is a group of people, some of whom are in the Trump Administration of a neoconservative bent, who have never come to terms with the fact that China will become a major industrial power.  And they have initiated a major campaign similar to what was done during the McCarthy era, to blacken China’s name on all levels — in the area of economy, in the area of culture, in the area of social governance.  And so you have this situation where major scholars, who are most knowledgeable about the United States are now being restricted from coming to the United States!  And this is a very serious thing, because, it’s not only that we agree to disagree, but we must also find the common interests:  We’re all on the same globe, we have major problems that we have to resolve, not least of which is population alleviation not only in China, but population alleviation in the world.  And we need population alleviation in the United States:  We haven’t talked about that for 40 years.  That should be on the agenda.  And China’s initiative, to try to educate Americans about the ideas of Confucius and to learn the Chinese language, which is a basic element in learning another culture is learning their language, the Confucius Institutes have been very important in providing a means of learning the Chinese language.  Chinese right now, still, is one of the most important second languages in which schoolchildren are trying to learn, because they realize this is going to become the most important language.

YANG:  Language learning is fast becoming an instrument in building interconnectivity, a very critical idea for our understanding of the BRI.  During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union was accused of spreading its ideology of communism.  Today, one major factor that has prevented United States from undertaking an all-out Cold War against China, the rising power, is that China is not as aggressive as the Soviet ideology:  We want to build a community of shared future.

So, do you think what the United States is concerned with, holds any water?  Where do you stand about the issue of ideology, of course, in the context of how to build a soft power, and the establishment of Confucius Institutes?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, I think that what China is doing is a moral model of improving the livelihood for people, but also demanding that the people improve.  Xi Jinping has talked about the role of the artists, that they have to uphold the morality of the population.  I think that one of the reasons why certain geopolitical factions in the West are so negative, is because the liberal system has reached a point of degeneration, where everything is allowed, every perversion, every new pornography, every new violence, the entertainment “industry” in the West has really become terrible!  And I think that the people who are making their profit with these kinds of things, they don’t like the idea that somebody says, you should be morally a better person.

But I think we have reached a point in history, where, you know, we are at the end of an epoch.  I don’t think that the changes we are experiencing are just the Chinese model versus the liberal model.  But I think that we are experiencing a change as big, or bigger than the difference between the Middle Ages in Europe and modern times, which will mean completely different axioms.  And I think what Xi Jinping discusses in terms of the “shared community for the one future of humanity” it is really the idea of how you can put the interest of the one mankind ahead of any national interest.  So, I think the way to look at the present situation is, where do we want to be in a 100 years from now?  We will have fusion power.  We will have the ability to have limitless energy; we can create new raw materials out of waste by separation of the isotopes.  We will have space travel. We will have villages on the Moon.

So, I think that at that time, humanity has to be one, or else we will not exist!  Take the recent imaging of the black hole:  This was only possible — first of all, it proved the general relativity theory of Einstein, which is a wonderful thing all by itself, because it will mean new breakthroughs in science, at all levels.  But, this was only possible, because you had eight radio telescopes at different points in the world, in Spain, in Chile, in the United States, in the Antarctic, which together could make this image!  You could not have done such a proof of a physical principle of the universe by only one country alone.   And I think that that particular incident of imaging the black hole, gives you a taste of the kind of cooperation mankind will have in the future.  And the key question is, do we get enough people to understand that in time, to make this jump?

YANG:  Thank you so much.  You’re watching “Dialogue,” with Mme. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder and President of the Schiller Institute, and Bill Jones, Washington bureau chief of Executive Intelligence Review.

Welcome back:  The BRI would not only cover the Sub-Sahara region.  Most countries in the South — I’m talking about South-South cooperation — would benefit from infrastructure building.  Let’s do a case study:  Hambatota Port in Sri Lanka has caused many debates as to whether China has developed a conspiracy theory, whether the Western media concerns about the “debt trap” would hold any water?  I would like to have your thoughts very quickly.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think this is turning the truth upside down.  Because if you look, why is Africa underdeveloped?  Five hundred years of colonialism, and then about 70 years of IMF conditionalities.  If you look at the 17 poorest countries in Africa, which are in danger of defaulting, only in 3 of them is China involved, but all the rest are indebted to the Paris Club. So the debt trap was created by the IMF before, and China is actually giving many grants and —

YANG:  Do you agree, Bill?

JONES:  I do agree with that.  I think we’ve seen the debt situation spin out of control, long before the BRI.  We have needed international financial reform that we have been talking about, that Helga’s husband, Lyndon LaRouche has pointed out for decades, prior to his recent death, of trying to change the financial system, in order to create credits for infrastructure, instead of credit for repayment of old debt.  These countries in Africa have been saddled with debt by the IMF, not by China.  As a matter of fact, most of the countries that are in the biggest danger of their debt being a problem, are those which are not involved in the BRI — countries in Africa.  And therefore, what has to be done, is really a reform of the international financial system, in order to perhaps even write off some of this debt, and to insist, as we go forward, that any debt that’s given out will go to increase the physical production capabilities of these countries, because if it does that, then it’s debt that’s going to be repaid.  But if it goes to repay old debt, or if it’s the casino society that we’ve known over the last 20 years, it’s going to become a bubble, and we’ve got to change the way we do business in that respect.

YANG:  What about financing vehicles, Bill?  Is that a major issue for the beneficiary countries?

JONES:  What we actually need is the creation of something like an infrastructure bank in the United States, which would allow China to help invest in infrastructure there.  Foreign direct investment by China now becomes something of a problem, because of the atmosphere that has been created by the neo-cons; but otherwise, China could help with this.  China has a different orientation toward finance. Chinese finances to the Belt and Road go to transportation infrastructure.  It brings the countries together, it creates a greater production capacities, and it has become, I think, a template for how a functioning, how a healthy financial system has to operate.  We’ve got to get away from what used to be called the “bankers’ arithmetic,” in which money chased after more money.  The money has got to be used to finance physical economy, and then it becomes a means of growth for the population, and is no problem in terms of repayment, because the population becomes richer.

YANG:  I wonder if you have followed very closely the development between Malaysia and China, on the construction of the east coast railway link, that has a lot to do with how we do risk assessment, political and legal; and this helps us go back to one of the earlier questions on the issue of transparency.  So do you think this poses a serious challenge to the prospects of the BRI in developing countries, some of which are young democracies, according to Western standards?

JONES:  Well, I think a lot of this is a matter of a learning curve that the BRI has been through over the last five years.  The Malaysia situation was unfortunate, but it has largely been resolved, and it’s been resolved because China has been very flexible in dealing with the countries on the BRI, and I think they have a clear indication, a clear orientation for improving the situation in the countries in which they are involved.  And if problems arise, or if discrepancies occur, I think they have shown a willingness to diplomatically resolve the problem to the benefit of the countries that are involved.  And they have to do that.

Look, a lot of mistakes were made by the Western countries in terms of initial attempts to industrialize Africa, and as a result of that, they left.  They left Africa in the dust.  China is there, there may be some mistakes in individual cases, but China learns the lessons and does not leave, and this is the important thing:  Because the fortitude of continuing with the project, which is the most important project for mankind today is absolutely necessary, and I think the Chinese government has shown the fortitude necessary to move forward on this.

So, yes, problems may occur.  They have occurred in the past.  They have been resolved, and I think they will be resolved in the future, if they would occur again.

YANG: The last two remaining questions will be about, first of all, the alleged westward expansion of the BRI through the Eurasian continent.  The other, of course, is the Maritime Silk Road: Do you think this idea of a Maritime Silk Road, Helga, will help ease tensions further between China and other countries that have competing claims on the maritime stakes in southeast Asia?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think the combined concept of the BRI and the Maritime Silk Road is really a program for the reconstruction of the world economy.  And in the beginning, people said, “this this railway from east or west or north or south, more beneficial for China or for Russia?”  And I kept saying, “don’t worry about it, take it a couple of years from now and all of these networks will grow into one.”  This is why we published this report “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge.” Because, if you look at it from the standpoint of the evolution of mankind, it is very natural that eventually the infrastructure will reach all continents, will open up all interiors, will connect the maritime connections.  And for example, Portugal and Spain and Greece and Italy, these are countries that want to be not only the hub for the Eurasian Land-Bridge on the land line, but they also want to be hubs for the maritime connection, connecting to all the Portuguese-speaking, Spanish-speaking countries.  So, I think this will also grow into a World Land-Bridge connection.

YANG:  Bill, what do you think of the connection, between China’s BRI and President Putin’s vision for the Eurasian Economic Union?

JONES:  I think they will tend to converge, not on all points, but in the basic orientation, because what President Putin wants to do, is to take those countries which have been traditionally associated with Russia and create some kind of common economic entity.  But, the Belt and Road is providing the investment for all of these countries, including Russia, which benefits tremendously from it.  And therefore, there is a means of really bringing together the two most important countries in Eurasia around a common goal of developing infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, and improving the conditions of life in all these countries.  So I think there is this convergence going on that will become greater with time.

YANG:  I’ll see you next time.  Good-bye.

 


Webcast—Helga Zepp-LaRouche in China: East/West Cooperation Is The Only Way Forward

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche discusses her recent trip to China where she participated in the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, May 15-16 in Beijing, keynoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Zepp-LaRouche and host Bill Jones discuss what’s actually at stake in the so-called US-China trade war, and how it’s possible to be resolved in a win-win manner for both nations. She warns that there is no benefit for the West to try to contain a nation like China, who has made so many contributions to human civilization. The only path forward that will be mutually beneficial for both countries, and their populations, is one of cooperation and overcoming the “Clash of Civilization” strategy of the western neo-cons.

 


China To Build New Megaport in Peru as “Continental Hub”

Peru’s signing an MOU joining the Belt and Road Initiative during the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation April 25-27 has set into motion huge economic development projects which China has been offering.

Peru’s Volcan mining company and China’s port and shipping giant COSCO signed an agreement on May 13 to construct a megaport in Chancay, 50 km north of Lima. Chancay is a natural deepwater harbor (maximum water-depth of 16 meters), capable of handling today’s largest ships, but currently with no commercial port capacity. Now it is to be developed into the biggest port on South America’s Pacific Coast, and serve as a “continental hub” for cargo between South America and China, with two specialized terminals able to handle container, bulk, roll-on/roll-off and general cargo. Projected completion is in 28 months, with an estimated 9,000 jobs (1,500 direct and 7,500 indirect) created in the process.

The signing ceremony was attended by Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra and Transportation Minister Maria Jara, and COSCO’s Chairman Captain Xu Lirong and Managing Director Zhang Wei, and received great national media coverage.

“COSCO Shipping will jointly cooperate with Peru to develop the Port of Chancay into an important hub port in Latin America near the Pacific Coast, which will promote regional economic development. It will become the new link and bridge for trade and economic exchanges between China and Peru,” Captain Xu said at the signing.

President Vizcarra called the signing

“a milestone. Based on mutual connectivity of the Belt and Road Initiative, the companies from China and Peru jointly invested and developed the Chancay Project, which lays a solid foundation for Peruvian economic development,” he said.

“The construction of the Port of Chancay will contribute to regional development, and we expect to develop the Port of Chancay into one of the most important ‘hub’ ports in South America, and a logistics center near the Pacific Coast, which will promote regional trade and trade between China and the Latin America.”

This new “regional hub” begs the question of the continental rail network which has yet to be built. Not surprisingly, President Vizcarra raised the bioceanic part of that rail network, in a recent interview with Reuters. Vizcarra suggested that China — among others — could be a natural partner to help finance and build the bioceanic railroad, because it would be purchasing its products. He referred to the Central Route, connecting Brazil and Peru through Bolivia.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche Discusses Belt and Road Initiative with GBTimes

[Transcript included] Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave an excellent 42-minute video interview to GBTimes’ Senior Editor Asa Butcher on May 10.  GBTimes is a Chinese multimedia site based in Finland, and established to enhance a dialogue between China and Europe. 


Transcript

GBTimes: We’ll begin.  I’m going to focus on the Belt and Road Initiative today, following on from the Forum in Beijing last week.  If you could describe your feelings on the outcome of the Forum that concluded last week in Beijing.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, I think it was very a really important progress as compared to the first Belt and Road Forum. The first Belt and Road Forum was filled with optimism and the knowledge of all the participants that we were experiencing the birth of a new system of international relations — that was already extremely important.  But I think the Second Belt and Road Forum saw a consolidation of that, so you have actually a new system of international relations which is overcoming geopolitics, and I think this is one of the most important outcomes, apart from, naturally, the enormous economic development which was presented.  But I think the idea that you have a system which has a win-win possibility for everybody to cooperate, is the way to overcome geopolitics, and that is the remaining danger, which after all, caused two world wars in the last century.  So this is a real breakthrough for humanity.

GBTimes:  There’s been a growing criticism and backlash against the BRI.  Do you think this is misunderstanding, suspicion toward this new system?  What are your thoughts on that?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  It’s actually a temporary phenomenon, because the funny thing was, here you had the largest infrastructure program in history, ever, with enormous changes for Africa, for Latin America, for Asia, even for European countries, and the Western media and think-tanks pretended it did not exist for almost four years!  And then, all of a sudden, they realized, “Oh, this is really growing so rapidly; it is including more than 100 countries.” So they started what I think was a coordinated attack, slandering the Belt and Road Initiative, with arguments which I think can all individually can be proven to be a lie.  It comes from the old geopolitical effort to control the world by manipulating countries against each other, and with the Belt and Road Initiative, I think that possibility is vanishing, and that’s why they’re so angry and hysterical.

GBTimes: What could China do to reduce this demonization of the BRI?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think China is already doing a lot.  For example, even Handelsblatt, which was very negative towards the Belt and Road Initiative in the past, they had to bring an article which brought out the fact that the whole argument that China is putting the countries of the third world into a “debt trap” is not holding.  For example, the IMF just released figures that there are 17 African countries which may not be able to pay their debt, but China is only engaged in 3 of them, and all of the others have huge debts to the Paris Club and to other big Western banks — so, who’s putting whom into a debt trap?

All of these arguments will be very easy to counter-argue, and the more China makes known its beautiful culture, people will be won over.  Because the beauty of Chinese painting, of Classical music, it will win over the hearts.  And the most people understand what China is actually doing, the less these attacks will be possible to maintain.

GBTimes:  The attacks are more on China than on the Belt and Road Initiative, you say?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, yes.  They’re on China because China is the major motor behind it.  And some of the attacks were that China is supposedly an autocratical dictatorship, and surveillance state and all of these things.  But first of all, concerning surveillance, I think the NSA and the GCHQ have outdone anybody already.  And naturally China has a system which uplifts the morality of the people:  This is based on the Confucian tradition, and for some of the very liberal people in the West, that is already too much, because it disturbs their idea that everything goes, everything is allowed, and from that standpoint, any kind of emphasis on morality is too much for these people.

GBTimes:  Isn’t sometimes criticism of new ideas and initiatives healthy? It’s what we understand here in the West, we don’t openly unquestionably accept new things.  We do question, and we are a little bit cynical sometimes.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  It’s superfluous.  It’s a waste of energy and it distracts people from accomplishing what needs to be accomplished: Namely, to overcome poverty in Africa, in Latin America, even in Europe.  You know, Europe has 90 million poor people, and I have not seen a plan by the European Union to overcome poverty by 2010, which China intends to do with its own poor people.

So I think it’s a waste of energy, and it comes from what I call, when people put on geopolitical spectacles and have neocolonial headphones, then they see and hear the world quite differently from what it is, namely, they only project their own views.

GBTimes:  Having been writing about China for the last 5-7 years, it has made a dramatic entrance onto the world stage, when I started writing about it many years ago.  And the speed of its arrival, the size of the investments, it can scare a lot of countries — just family and friends who don’t know much about China, they want to know about my job where I’m introducing China to the West, as this bridge.  There’s a lot of a misunderstandings.  Do you think some of it comes from this ignorance? And how could that be changed?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I have the feeling that everybody who was in China, either as a tourist or as a business person, investing or trading, they all come back and they have a very, very positive view.  People are impressed about what they see, the really incredible fast train system.  Then, if you go in the region of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Guangdong, Macao, Hong Kong, this is the powerhouse of the world economy, not just the Belt and Road Initiative.

Compare that with the decrepit infrastructure in the United States or many parts of Western Europe, for example.  Less than two years ago, I was in Zhuhai at a conference, and we visited this bridge between Hong Kong and Zhuhai and Macao, linking this entire triangular:  And this bridge was built, I think, in six years or eight years, including planning!  Now, in Germany, we have a famous bridge between Mainz and Wiesbaden, which has been in repair for almost six to eight years, and it’s still not ready!

So, I think if people go to China, they come back and they are completely impressed, because they see that in China, people have now virtues, like industriousness, ingenuity, creativity — these are all values we used to have in the West, like when the Germany economic miracle was made in the postwar reconstruction, these values and virtues were German.  But now, no longer.  Now, we have all kinds of other crazy ideas, and therefore China is taking the lead.

So the people who go to China come back with a positive image, and those who have not been, naturally, they’re scared by the negative reports in the media.  So the more people can actually go and form their own image, the better.

GBTimes:  I have myself, I’ve seen a disconnect between China and Chinese society, and then the role of the Chinese government, the more negative side that gets covered about in the Western media.  Do you think, for instance, with the BRI is just a way to legitimize the Chinese leadership in the world, and to raise it up to the same level that is given to the other countries?  Do you think that’s acceptable?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, it is a challenge.  Some of the Western institutions talked about that there is now a competition of the systems, meaning the Chinese state model and the Western free market model. And in one sense, it is true; the only problem is that if you have the neo-liberal system, especially after the crisis of 2008, only favoring monetarist interests — the banks, the speculators — and the gap between the rich and the poor becomes ever wider, naturally, then, if you have a country where that is not the case, namely, China having a policy which is oriented toward the common good, an increasing well-to-do middle class of 300 million people, which in 5-10 years will be 600 million people, and obviously the vector of development is upward, naturally that is regarded as a threat by the neo-liberal establishment, which only takes care of its own privileges.

So in a certain sense, the challenge does exist, but I think there is the possibility of a learning process, so one can be hopeful that even some elements of the Western elites will recognize that China is doing something right.

GBTimes:  What do you think China could learn from the Western mode?  And vice versa, what do you think the two could learn from one another?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think China can learn a lot from the West, but I’m afraid to say, not from the present, contemporaries, or, there is very little to learn.  Naturally, ESA cooperating with the Chinese space agency, there is a lot of exchange possible. But in terms of general, cultural outlook, I think China has to go back about 200 years to find positive things in Europe, or the United States, for that matter.  You know, European Classical culture can be an enormous enrichment for China, but these are composers who are Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, or great poets.  But these are all things which, unfortunately are not dominating the cultural outlook of most Europeans and Americans today.  So there has to be a dialogue across the centuries, and then both sides can profit from each other.

GBTimes: In a sense, you’re very pessimistic about the Western stands at the moment.  Do you think China is the only option available to the West at the moment?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  No, I’m not pessimistic, I’m just saying that you see that some of the elites, or so-called elites, are hardened in their view.  You have others who are absolutely recognizing that the whole mankind needs to cooperate together in new ways, for example, Switzerland.  You know the President of Switzerland, who participated in the Belt and Road Forum just signed a memorandum of understanding, not only for Switzerland, but for a whole group of Central and Eastern European countries, which Switzerland is representing in the international organizations.

So there is a big motion.  You have Italy signing a memorandum of understanding with China, on the development of Africa.  Greece wants to be the gateway between trade from Asia, through the Suez Canal all the way into Europe.  Portugal and Spain want to be the hub for the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking people around the world.

So there is a lot of dynamics and motions, I’m just referring to some of the monetarist views and those people who talk about the “rules-based order” all the time, but what they really mean is austerity.

So, I’m not talking about the West in general.  I think the West  — I’m an optimist about the potential of all human beings — I’m only talking about certain parts of the establishment in the West.

GBTimes:  You mentioned Italy and Switzerland.  How significant is it that they signed up to the BRI now?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think this is extremely important.  First of all, Italy, as you know, is the third largest economy in Europe.  The north of Italy is highly industrialized and has a lot of industrial capability; many hidden champions actually are in northern Italy.  So, if such a country is now, as the first G7 country, officially joining with a memorandum of understanding, this can become the model for all of Europe.  And Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte who just participated in the Belt and Road Forum came back and said exactly that: That Italy plans to be the leader in bringing about a better relation between China and Europe.  So I think this is extremely important.

And Switzerland, even if it may be a small country, they are independent; they are sovereign, they are not part of the European Union.  And President Maurer just declared, or his spokesman, that they do not need advice from the European Union because they can make their own policy.  So, I think this is all a new, healthy spirit of self-consciousness and self-assertion, which is very good, and can be indeed a sign of hope for everybody else.

GBTimes:  How do you see it impacting Europe, their participation in the BRI, in the short term, and perhaps in the longer term?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, there are different learning curves: Some are quicker, others are slower.  For example, the so-called four big countries  — that does not include Italy — that did not send heads of state or government, but only ministers, Spain, France, Germany, and I think Great Britain,  by not sending their heads of state sort of expressed their reservation.  But then even the German Economic Minister Altmaier, who on the first day of the Belt and Road Forum basically said, “we have to have transparency and rules,” with the usual kind of arguments, but the next day, he said something much more positive.  He said: Oh, this was much better than I expected, the Chinese are actually trying to solve problems, and I will come back in June with a large delegation of businessmen.  So, I actually find this quite good.  It shows that eventually, I think, I hope, reason will prevail.

GBTimes:  I think some of the obstacles for Western countries, is like Turkey refusing to participate because of the Uighur problem; that there are other issues that aren’t related to the Belt and Road, that China has to overcome first.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  All of these problems will eventually be solved, because I think the key to solving of any regional, ethnic, historical cultural problem is development.  If people actually see the advantage of turning non-developed countries or areas into prosperous ones, into having more youth exchange, young people understanding each other, people-to-people exchange, dialogue of cultures, bringing forth the best tradition of each culture; plus, naturally, real improvement of living standards, longevity, I think that even if not all develop with the same speed, we are at a tremendous change of an epoch of human civilization.  The idea of these local and regional conflicts will eventually not be there any more.

If I just can point to the fact that now the eight radio-telescopes working together, being able to make, for the first time, images of the black hole in a galaxy which is 55 million light-years away, proving that Einstein’s theory of general relativity was actually correct — now, that, for me is the sign of the future:  Because this image could not have been made by one country alone.  It needed telescopes sited in Chile, in Spain, in the United States, in the Antarctic,  and you needed the whole world actually working together to make such a technological breakthrough possible.

I think that that will be the kind of relationship people will have to each other in the future, and I think this is what Xi Jinping really is the kind of thing he means when he says, “a shared community for the one future of humanity.”  Because the common interest will eventually come first, and then everything else will fall into place.

GBTimes: Another one of the criticisms was currently “all roads lead back to Beijing” rather than a multilateral approach to BRI, where it’s between other country, it always leads back to China at the moment.  Do you think that is a problem?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I don’t know.  First of all, I think Russia has a big influence, I think the African countries are becoming much more knowledgeable and confident about their own role. There are many Africans who speak that, in the future, Africa will be the new China with African characteristics.  So, I think it’s all changing very quickly, and those people who complain that there is too much Chinese influence, well, then they should bring in their active, creative contribution, and define what the new platform of humanity should be.

And I think China has said many times, and I have absolutely every confidence that that is the case, that they’re not trying to export their  social model, but that they’re just offering the experience of the incredible success of the last 40 years of the form in opening-up, and basically tell developing countries, “Here, if you want to have our help in accomplishing the same thing, we are willing to provide it.”  And naturally, the countries of the developing sector, which had been neglected, or even treated negatively by colonialism, by the IMF conditionalities, when they now have the absolute, concrete offer to overcome poverty and underdevelopment, why should they not take it?

So, I think all these criticisms are really badly covered efforts to hide their own motives.  I really think China is doing the best thing which has happened to humanity for a very long time, and I think the Belt and Road Initiative is the only long-term plan for how to transform the world into a peaceful place.  And I think that should be applauded and people should have a cooperative approach.

GBTimes:  My next question was going to be, how confident are you that the BRI will pay off for China, but I get the sense that you’re very confident.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, I think it already paying off!  First of all, it makes it more easy for China to develop its own western and internal regions, because they are now sort of integrated into the Belt and Road transport routes to Europe, to Central Asia, integrating the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union, and hopefully eventually also the European Union. So I think it is already bringing benefits to China.

And from an economic standpoint, the more a country exports high technology goods and technologies, the more than becomes a motor to develop one’s own industry even to high levels.  So it’s like a self-inspiration, so to speak, and that is already paying off.  That’s what any country should do.

GBTimes:  You mentioned technology:  It’s also the digital Silk Road, Digital Belt and Road. Of course, China has a lot of control over its internet, on the Great Firewall:  How much of a barrier do you think that will be for countries to build relationships via the Belt and Road Initiative?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  You mean the G5 question and Huawei?

GBTimes:  Well, partly that, too, but also the control of the internet inside of China, which is difficult for Western companies to do business, to establish themselves, as there are a lot of controls there.  Do you think that could be a barrier, as part of the digital Belt and Road, that’s also being discussed.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, I think there can be ways of making arrangements which are satisfying to everybody.  This whole question of “digital control” and so forth, is highly exaggerated, because, if you look at who is controlling the internet, you have the big firms, Apple, Google, Facebook, and they are very linked with the Western government’s.  You know, in a certain sense, after the scandal of the NSA listening into everybody’s discussions, which erupted a couple of years ago and which was never changed or remedied or anything, we are living in a world where that already happening.  And I think China is not doing anything more than the NSA or the already mentioned GCHQ doing that in the West.

So I think the fact that China has a competitive system, to this Western system is what causes all of this debate. Because the people who had the control of the internet first, they should like to keep it that way, and they regard China as a competitor, which they don’t like, but that’s a fact of reality now.

GBTimes:  One question I have is why do you think the Belt and Road Initiative is needed, when there’s the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, now?  Do you think the two are mutually exclusive, or do they work together?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: No, I think the Belt and Road Initiative has many financing mechanisms.  You have the AIIB, you have the New Silk Road Fund, you have a lot of the Chinese banks themselves which are doing the investment.  I have been advocating for a very long time, that the West should modify its own credit institutions to work on a similar principle.  Now, that would be actually very possible, because the American System of economy as it was developed by Alexander Hamilton, who created the first National Bank as an institution for issuing credit, that is actually very close to what China is doing.  As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say, that the Chinese economic model is much closer to the American System, as it was developed by Alexander Hamilton, and then revived by Lincoln, by Henry C. Carey, by Franklin D. Roosevelt; so if the United States would say, we create our own national bank; and Germany, for example, would say, we go back to the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Credit Institution for Reconstruction, which was used for the reconstruction of Germany in the postwar period, which was also a state bank, — or it still is a state bank — then you could have a new credit system, whereby each country would have their own national bank; you would have clearing houses in between them to compensate for duration of investment, or the differences between small and large countries with lots of raw materials, or not so much — you need these clearinghouses.  But you could create a new credit system, a New Bretton Woods system with fixed exchange rates, having a stability in the system which the Western system presently does not have.

So, I think that the more countries go to these kinds of credit financing of projects the more stable this new system will become.

GBTimes:  Do you think the United States will ever become part of the Belt and Road Initiative, under the Presidency of Donald Trump, or perhaps whoever is voted in next

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  That’s actually the big question, you know: Will the rise of China be answered by the United States, either with a war, the Thucydides trap which some people have mentioned as a danger? There were in history twelve cases where a rising power overtook the dominant power up to that point, and it led to war; and there were four cases where it happened in a peaceful way.  Now, China, first of all, has offered that neither of these two options should occur, but they have offered a special great power special relationship model, based on the acceptance of the other social model’s sovereignty, non-interference.  And I think Trump with his America, First policy is more inclined to respond to such a model than the previous administrations of Obama and Bush, who had these interventionist wars in the Middle East and everywhere else for exporting their system of so-called “democracy” and human rights.

So I think President Trump has said very clearly that he wants to have a good relationship with China.  He calls President Xi Jinping his friend all the time.  And I think the present trade negotiations actually, in my view, demonstrate that the United States would suffer tremendously, if they would try to decouple from the Chinese economy.  They probably would suffer more than China, because China is much more capable, in my view, to compensate for the loss of the relationship with the United States.

But I think that the hopefully reasonable way would be to say, “OK, let’s use the foreign exchange reserves of China which they have in terms of U.S. Treasuries; let’s invest them through an infrastructure bank in the United States, to help to modernize American infrastructure.”  And that would be an urgent need, because if you look at the U.S. infrastructure, it’s really in a terrible condition, and President Trump, who is talking today, I think, with the leading Democrats Pelosi and Schumer on a new infrastructure legislation; the sums which are discussed here, from what I have heard so far, are so small!  First of all, the Republicans don’t want to have Federal spending; the Democrats are talking only about “repair,” and small issues.

So, what is lacking in these discussions is a grand design, where you would take the approach China has taken for the modernization of its infrastructure:  To have fast train systems among all the major cities, to have slow-speed maglev trains for intra-urban transport.  Now, you could take that same approach and modernize the entire infrastructure of the United States. And if China would, in turn, off that U.S. companies would integrate more into the projects of the Belt and Road around the world, it would be beneficial for both. Some American companies are already doing that, like Caterpillar, General Electric, Honeywell, but that could be a real incentive for the United States to go in tis direction.

Hopefully it will happen that way, because if not, I think a clash between the two largest economies would be a catastrophe for the whole world: So, let’s hope that the forces of good will all work together to get to this positive end.

GBTimes:  Let’s talk about the Schiller Institute itself as a think tank.  What is your day-to-day role in the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative? How do you work to support it?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Oh, you know, this all goes back to the life’s work of my husband, who died recently:  Mr. Lyndon LaRouche; who spent, actually, the last 50 years, to work on very concrete development projects. The first such project we presented in ’76 in Paris.  This was a comprehensive plan for the infrastructure development of all of Africa.  Then we worked together with the President of Mexico José López Portillo on a Latin American development plan — this was ’82.  We worked with Indira Gandhi on a 40-year development plan, and also in the beginning of the ’80s, we developed a 50-year development plan for the Pacific Basin. And then, when the Berlin Wall came down, and the Soviet Union disintegrated, we proposed to connect the European and Asian population and industrial centers through development corridors, and we called that the Eurasian Land-Bridge.

So we have been engaged in these kinds of big projects for the transformation of the world economy for the last decades, and naturally, we proposed it to China in the beginning of the ’90s. I attended a big conference in ’96 in Beijing, which had the title, “The Development of the Regions along the Eurasian Land-Bridge.”  And China, at that time, declared the building of the Eurasian Land-Bridge the long-term strategic aim of China by 2010.  Then, naturally, came the Asia crisis in ’97, so the whole thing go interrupted.

We were very happy when Xi Jinping announced the New Silk Road in 2013, because, in the meantime, we had kept working for this.  We had many conferences, actually hundreds of conferences and seminars all over the world.  So this is has been one major point of what the Schiller Institute has been doing for the last decades.  So naturally, we are very happy that now, what was only planning on our side is now being realized by the second largest economy in the world, and therefore, it becomes reality: And that makes quite happy.

GBTimes:  Is there anything else you’d like to add?  I’ve asked my questions and a lot more.  Is there anything we haven’t touched upon, you’d like to talk about?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  We could talk a little bit more about the culture of the New Silk Road.

GBTimes:  Please — in what way?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  Well, I think that the New Silk Road, or the Belt and Road Initiative, it’s not just about economics and infrastructure.  But I think equally important, if not more important, in my view, is the cultural side of it:  That it could lead and will hopefully lead to an exchange of the best traditions of all cultures of this world.  And by reviving the best traditions, like Confucianism in China, Beethoven in Germany, and Schiller; Verdi in Italy, and so forth and so on, it will ennoble the souls of the people, and I think that that is the most important question right now, because I agree with Friedrich Schiller, according to whom this institute is named: That any improvement in the political realm can only come from the moral improvement of the people.  And therefore, I think it’s also very interesting to me that President Xi Jinping has emphasized the aesthetical education as extremely important, because the goal of this is the beautiful mind of the pupil, of the student.

Now, that is exactly what Friedrich Schiller said, who in the response to the Jacobin Terror in the French Revolution, wrote his Aesthetical Letters in which he develops his aesthetical theory, which I find is in great cohesion with what Xi Jinping is saying; and that has also to do with the fact that the first education minister of the Chinese Republic studied in Germany, and he studied Schiller and Humboldt; his name was Cai Yuanpei  — I’m probably pronouncing it wrong again  —  but he was the first president of the Beijing University, and I think there is a great affinity, a much greater affinity between the thinking of the aesthetical education as it is discussed by Xi Jinping and as it does exist in the Schiller-Humboldt tradition in Germany, in particular.  I would just hope that that kind of a dialogue could be intensified, because then I think a lot of the prejudices and insecurities about the other culture would disappear, and you would bring back and bring forth the best of all sides.

GBTimes:  How could this be accomplished, do you think? What sort of forms?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: You can organize conferences, you can more consciously make the poetry known — I think poetry is very, very important, which is naturally not so easy, because as Schiller said, you have to be a poet in two languages to do justice to the poetry of one language.  You could have more conscious theater performances, not just as an entertainment but involving students, children, adults, and make more exhibitions, make more deep-level understanding of the other culture.

I think China is doing an enormous amount of that, but I would have still some suggestions to make it more than entertainment, because many people go to these things, and they don’t quite “get it” what it’s all about; and then, it was nice, but the deeper philosophical, poetical, musical meaning could be made more pedagogically intelligible, and I think that would be a way of opening the hearts of more people, because they would recognize what treasures are there to be discovered.

GBTimes:  Do you have any closing words on the Belt and Road you’d like to share with our readers?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE:  I think we are probably the generation on whom later generations will look back to, and say, “Oh! This was really a fascinating time, because it was a change from an epoch to another one.”  And I have an image of that, which is, this change that we are experiencing right now, is probably going to be bigger than the change in Europe between the Middle Ages and modern times.  In the Middle Ages you had people believing in a whole bunch of axioms, the scholastics, Aristotelianism, witchcraft — all kinds of strange beliefs — and then, because of the influx of such thinkers as Nicholas of Cusa, or the Italian Renaissance, the modern image of man, of science and technology, of the sovereign nation-state, all these changes happened, and they created a completely different view of the image of man and of nature, and the universe, and everything we call “modern society” was the result of this change.

Now, I think we are in front, or the middle of such an epochal change, where the next era of mankind will be much, much more creative than the present one, and that’s something to look forward to, because we can actually shape it, and we can bring our own creative input into it.  And there are not many periods in history when that is the case:  So we are actually lucky.


Belt and Road Is Unstoppable: ‘Critics’ Turn into Strong Supporters

The extraordinary attendance of governments, heads of state and government, and thousands of businesses at the Second Belt and Road Forum, comparing with the largest international meetings in history, was already proof that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has expanded greatly since the first BRF in 2017 and is now an unstoppable new paradigm of economy. After the Second BRF, certain myths of “backfire” and “criticism” in Asia also fell away.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed gave interviews in which he expressed full confidence in the BRI and surprise at its scope. Speaking to Bernama News Agency April 28, he said:

“We feel that the [One Belt, One Road] OBOR initiative is not a domination plan by China, which would end up being controlled by China. Instead, it is a policy developed by all the countries, and not only focused on China. Previously … including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, developed countries made the proposals and asked us to accept them. This is not like that; the forum attendees are from small countries and they are sitting with China…. They sit together at the same level, and talk about how to develop infrastructure projects.”

In an interview with China’s TV network CGTN, Dr. Mahathir said he had thought the Belt and Road was an infrastructure project for Asia, forecasting large-scale Chinese investment and exports into Malaysia. 

“Now it is quite clear that it is, practically, a worldwide project … to improve connectivity and infrastructure development all over the world…. I’m very glad I’m  here, because now I understand better the character of the project. China has a lot of new technologies, and we need these technologies.”

Indonesia’s investment minister, Harvard graduate Tom Lembong, who had been critical of China’s rail investments, told South China Morning Post that Indonesia has

“found China’s openness to its feedback on improving the Belt and Road Initiative highly encouraging…. I believe in the next 5 to 10 years, BRI will stimulate additional investment in probably tens of billions of dollars [in Indonesia].” 

In Europe, Italy and Austria are joining Portugal in planning issuance of “Panda Bonds” — infrastructure bonds issued by other countries in yuan, to be issued into China’s bond market. Even Germany Economics Minister Peter Altmaier found the Beijing forum “better than expected,” and is headed back with a Mittelstand delegation.

On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte met Russia’s President Putin, Ethiopian PM Abiy, IMF Director Christine Lagarde, and Egyptian President Al Sisi.

“The series of bilateral meetings was concluded by the wonderful dinner offered by President Xi to myself and to the Italian delegation that accompanied me,” Conte wrote on his Facebook page.

“I am very satisfied by the strengthening of economic and trade relations between Italy and the Chinese Republic and, personally, by the friendship which is being consolidated with President Xi Jinping. And I am proud that in the final release of the Belt and Road Forum, many of the Italian suggestions have been adopted, among which [are] the references to financial and social sustainability, protection of human rights and of intellectual property.”

“The Silk Road, I repeat, is a great opportunity for Italy, a challenge which we happily accepted through the signing of the MoU, in a framework of European principles and level playing field and with the maximum of guarantees for security of our strategic infrastructures. We opened the way for other European partners which are now getting ready to join this major infrastructural connectivity.” 


Beijing Review Publishes a Major Article By Helga Zepp LaRouche

The prestigious Beijing Review on Thursday, April 17, published a major article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, titled, “Roads to the West—Geopolitical Spectacles Make it Impossible to See the Solutions.

Zepp-LaRouche starts,

“For the last several years or so, Western media and mainstream politicians have chosen to largely ignore the Belt and Road Initiative, which Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed in 2013. The initiative, consisting of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, efficiently addresses the infrastructure needs of developing countries, which the West simply pretended not to exist.

“But, at a certain point it dawned on the Western establishment that China was not only building an enormous amount of railway lines, ports, bridges, power plants and industrial parks in Asia, Africa and even in parts of Europe, but that the prospect of poverty alleviation offered by China instilled an unprecedented spirit of optimism.”

See the full article here.


French Dailies’ Supplement on Belt and Road Covers Schiller Institute Dossier

The major French dailies Le Figaro and Le Monde published a full-page paid supplement on the Belt and Road Initiative last week which includes three articles: a larger one entitled “BRI: Soon Six Years of Implementation”; a second one entitled “One China-Europe Link Is Already on a Good Track,” and one last article, about one fifth of the page, on the Schiller Institute’s book-length dossier “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge,” headlined “Everything You Want To Know about the ‘World Land-Bridge.'” The three articles are written by People’s Daily journalists.

The first two articles are full of updates on the ongoing great Silk Road projects; the third, on the Schiller Institute and its dossier, was written by Ge Wenbo, who has already several times covered our work in Africa.

The articles are a paid supplement, published in both papers. The articles are shorter in Le Monde, in particular on our dossier, which became a small box with the same title.  The translation follows:

“All You Need To Know about the ‘World Land-Bridge'”

“Last year, on Nov. 6, the Schiller Institute, an international think tank, published the French version of its dossier ‘The New Silk Road, a World Land-Bridge To Bring Geopolitics to an End.’ The presentation, which took place in the Paris 5th arrondissement municipality, recommends countries to take part in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Contrary to the analysts on the other side of the Atlantic, often prisoners of the ‘geopolitical’ software in which the winner always wins to the detriment of the loser, we try to show here that a new win-win paradigm is not only possible but indispensable.  Whereas the New Silk Roads must be known because of the major opportunity they represent for international trade, above all they must be known, explains this dossier, as a multilateral alternative to financial globalization, a true leverage to restart growth and a chance for peace. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, president and founder of the Institute, affirms that since its launching in 2013, the BRI has shaped the world. The Chinese initiative will have a growing influence over more and more countries and improve the future.”

A photo of a container ship at berth accompanies the article with a following caption: “Container ship CSCL Star, with thousands of containers onboard, sailed from Shanghai and reached France’s port of Le Havre a month later. That port plays an important role in the implementation of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.” 


China Ambassador: “Why U.S. Shouldn’t Sit Out the Belt and Road”

Under the headline above, China’s Ambassador in Washington Cui Tiankai wrote a column in Fortune magazine on the eve of the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. “Don’t miss all the winning” involved in the Belt and Road, Cui admonishes, perhaps referring to one of President Donald Trump’s favorite phrases.

The ambassador starts with a very direct challenge:

“Imagine the potential of China and the United States, the world’s two largest, most vibrant economies, collaborating on the most ambitious development project in history. The scenario is no fantasy: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which kicked off almost six years ago, will eventually connect a vast swath of the world, creating huge yields in economic activity, and wiring the world together as never before. However, the United States remains on the sidelines, and this has implications not only in terms of missed opportunities for growth in the U.S., but for the cause of global development which needs the ingenuity and the industry of the U.S.”

Cui gives many arguments for the BRI which reflect those of Xi Jinping. He cites total benefits to the 126 countries now in relationship to it: $6 trillion in total trade, $80 billion in direct investment by China; 300,000 new “local jobs” in those countries; Kazakhstan’s first-ever access to the Pacific Ocean; 6,000 new jobs in Europe’s largest inland port, Duisburg; Kenya’s beginning of economic development and industrialization; and so on, with citations from national leaders.

“So where is the U.S. amid all of this winning?” he concludes.

“There are countless opportunities to U.S. corporations available through BRI projects. Honeywell International is already working with partners to further oil and gas development along the Belt and Road. General Electric has signed a number of deals with partners of the BRI which will help to provide reliable power and energy to critical regions across the world. Caterpillar is working with China’s initiative to help solve Pakistan’s severe power shortages. Meanwhile, Citibank is actively providing financing for projects through the markets along the Belt and Road. We certainly welcome more taking part…. My suggestion is that the U.S. embrace this opportunity.”


Page 2 of 11123...Last