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Putin and Xi Jointly Launch Construction of Four Nuclear Plants in China, Emphasize “Innovation-Based Development”

May 20, 2021 (EIRNS) – The presidents of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, both participated in a videoconference hookup yesterday to launch the beginning of construction of four new nuclear plants in China, based on Russian technology. These are two units each at the Tianwan nuclear power plant in the city of Lianyungang, and at the Xudapu nuclear plant in Huludao district in northeastern China.

The two presidents chose to make this a major policy-shaping occasion for their two countries, as well as one globally focused on the role of innovation and scientific and technological cooperation in achieving development. “It is necessary to strive for innovation-based development and to strengthen scientific and technical cooperation in the nuclear sphere,” Xi Jinping stated, reiterating that the two countries had agreed “to make a sizable intellectual contribution to the innovation-driven development of the global nuclear sphere.” The Chinese president asserted that “our countries have been providing each other with solid support and have been engaged in close and effective cooperation” in many areas, and that “energy has always been the biggest and most successful branch in our practical cooperation while nuclear energy cooperation has been its strategic priority. We are jointly upgrading our cooperation in this area and have already put into operation a host of major projects.”

Through their joint work, Russia and China will “make a sizable contribution to the global development of nuclear energy,” Xi stated.

Putin responded by effusively greeting “President Xi Jinping, my dear friend,” emphasizing that “Russian and Chinese specialists are working on this flagship joint project which is truly a milestone. They are building powerful, modern Russian-designed nuclear reactors that meet all safety and environmental standards. It is planned that they will start operating as soon as in 2026–2028, which, as President Xi just said, will be a solid contribution to China’s energy security.”

Putin emphasized “Russia’s unique high technology capabilities in industrial production,” adding that “President Xi and I determined the main areas of our genuinely close partnership, the cooperation between Russia and China on nuclear technology, during my state visit to China in 2018… It can be said that Russia-China relations have reached their highest level in history.”

The Russian President then stated: “Returning to the topic of nuclear energy cooperation, I would like to note, with great satisfaction, that all the agreements reached at the highest level are being consistently and unfailingly fulfilled. In addition to the construction of new power units at the Tianwan and Xudapu nuclear power plants, there are many other large Russian-Chinese initiatives that have been and are being implemented. These initiatives include an experimental fast neutron reactor built in China with Russia’s participation… Russia also supplied China with radionuclide heating blocks for the spacecraft that was the first in history to land on the far side of the Moon in 2019. We were extremely happy about your success, dear Chinese friends.”

“I am convinced that Russia and China will have many more ambitious and successful projects together. We are ready to develop our cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants, and innovative partnership in the development and implementation of low-carbon and other technologies.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the project is the biggest China-Russia nuclear energy cooperation project to date.


Facing U.S. Sanctions Threat, El Salvador Turns to China and Russia for Support For Its Sovereign Development

May 20, 2021—All over the world, nations are beginning to recognize that an alternative to the dying Old Order of geopolitics, colonialism, and usury is coming into being, with sovereign nations joining together for mutual development. Central America is no exception to this process.

“We are very enthusiastic about strengthening the relationship with Russia, we are facing a world with new challenges and opportunities, and we want to take advantage of those opportunities,” Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele told Russian Ambassador Alexander Khokholikov yesterday, in receiving the new Ambassador’s credentials. Bukele noted that El Salvador recognizes “the importance of Russia in the world.” Khokholikov responded in the same spirit, assuring him that the Russian government also wishes to increase cooperation. “We are going to work bilaterally and multilaterally,” he said, “because that is how it should be to maximize mutual benefit, both of Russia and El Salvador.”

Today China’s Embassy in El Salvador issued an important communiqué, reiterating that the agreement signed with El Salvador for China to oversee the construction of four development projects requested by the Salvadoran government spells out that China is covering the costs of the projects. President Bukele immediately posted the communiqué to his Twitter, much followed by others in the region, as well as Salvadorans at home and abroad.  

The Biden administration, which has supplied neither vaccines nor economic development aid to the region, is publicly threatening to overthrow the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras if they break with the old order.

This is being done in the name of “fighting corruption” in Central America. The State Department included in its list of corrupt officials in those countries which it released on Tuesday, for example, two top Bukele administration officials: the President’s Chief of Cabinet, Carolina Recinos, and Minister of Security and Justice Rogelio Rivas. The charges are preposterous: Recinos is accused of engaging in “significant acts of corruption during her term in office” (no further details), while Rivas’s alleged “significant acts of corruption” were supposedly that he “awarded his own private construction company several noncompetitive and unadvertised contracts to build police stations and other buildings that fall under his official capacity and inflated the cost of materials.”

American Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres, head of the Central American Caucus in the House of Representatives and a close ally of Vice President Kamala Harris, proclaimed on Tuesday as she released the list: “I will be relentless in demanding accountability from our government – if we know someone is corrupt, I expect our government to use all levers at our disposal, including sanctions, visa restrictions, withholding support to deter future acts of corruption, and dismantling the systems that allow corruption to occur.”


Did Geopolitics Sink Portugal’s Sines Port Expansion Project for Now?

Did Geopolitics Sink Portugal’s Sines Port Expansion Project for Now?

May 5, 2021 (EIRNS)—At the close of the April 6 deadline for submitting bids to construct a new, huge container terminal at Portugal’s Sines Port, not a single bid had been entered. Port authorities blamed the fiasco on the drop in world shipping from the pandemic, and are talking of launching another offer with more “flexible” conditions when “market conditions” are better. The chairman of the port’s board of directors José Luís Cacho assured that the port expansion will happen, calling the possibility of a two-year delay “almost irrelevant.”

Most likely more than pandemic effects were involved. Portugal and China have been working for several years to use the planned “Vasco de Gama” terminal at Sines’s excellent deep-water port, just south of Lisbon on the Atlantic coast, as a key Belt and Road Initiative hub, connecting the westernmost point of the Eurasian rail network with the Maritime Silk Road in the Atlantic, thereby facilitating trading connections with the Americas and the Western coast of Africa. The Schiller Institute supported the plan as key for developing the Americas, and Portugal pinned its own industrial expansion on the project, envisioning proudly a return to its historic role as a leading center of maritime development. In late 2018, Portugal signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China on the Belt and Road, becoming one of the few countries in Europe willing to counter pressure from Washington and the EU.

The Anglo-American nexus moved in. The U.S. Embassy organized multiple visits of U.S. gas companies promising big investments to build up Sines’s LNG facilities. The Portuguese government welcomed investments from all serious bidders, but in September 2020, U.S. Amb. George Glass told the Portuguese daily Expresso that Portugal is inevitably “part of the European battlefield between the United States and China,” and Portugal now had to choose between its American “friends and allies” and its “economic partner” China. Among other threats, Glass stated that if Portugal awarded the Sines terminal contract to China, the U.S. would pull out of its LNG investments there.

Keeping the pressure on, former British diplomat John Dobson published an op ed in the Sunday Guardian of India on Dec. 5, 2020, picked up in Portugal, stating that the fight over Sines was an “economic flashpoint” between China and the U.S., similar to the military flashpoint building up in the South China Sea. “So will it be America’s huge LNG terminal, or China’s huge container port?,” he wrote. “Whoever is the winner, the geopolitical consequences will be massively significant.”


Linking Up Scandinavia and Europe to the Belt and Road via Pakistan

STOCKHOLM, April 29, 2021 (EIRNS)–The Zoom webinar meeting of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, together with the Embassy of Pakistan in Sweden, and the Embassy of China in Sweden, was an extraordinary success. More than 130 participants were present at the height of participation. The first part of the program was moderated by the Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland. The focus was on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the tremendous potential for European and Scandinavian business interests to invest in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that are connected to the current industrialization phase of CPEC.

There were welcoming remarks by the Ambassadors of Pakistan to Sweden and Denmark, and by the Ambassador of China to Sweden. The Chinese-language website of the Foreign Ministry the next day highlighted the BRIX event, printing the greetings of Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou at the event.

There were several leading governmental agencies from Pakistan, like the Board of Investment, as well as regional officials, who outlined the great potential for investments and business in all areas when the basic infrastructure, especially electric power, is built. There were also important presentations from Business Sweden, Innovation Norway, and the Trade Council of Denmark to welcome and provide support and help for Scandinavian businesses that are ready to invest in Pakistan. The significance of Pakistan’s cooperation with China on the BRI was highlighted, and many business interests from China also participated.

The second part of the webinar was focused on the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and how the work of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden continues to present truthful and accurate information on BRI, despite deliberate distortions by Western media and other institutions.

This section was moderated by Stephen Brawer, the Vice Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, and the responsible leader of BRIX for webinars and seminars. His preliminary remarks summarized three of the most important points on the BRI as a global development policy, open to all nations, and the necessity of eliminating extreme poverty worldwide as has been achieved in China in 2020. He also noted the importance of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, as a principle for cooperation, in which the interests of the other are primary, as opposed to only serving your own interests, i.e., geopolitics.

There were four speakers in the afternoon session. Professor Michele Geraci of Italy pointed to the primacy of commercial relations behind the much discussed and dramatic geopolitical controversies. Mr. Henry Tillman of the UK reported from his own investigations the meteoric rise of the Chinese pharma industry in just one year, showing how China and India are now the main suppliers of vaccine to the world, as the USA and Europe have limited their deliveries to their domestic markets. In the UK the entire vaccine production has been kept 100 percent for the British people.

Dr. Maria Sultan of Pakistan situated the CPEC in the global landscape of container trade and digital transmissions, showing the tremendous growth in the Asia-Europe and Asia Pacific corridors with the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Gwadar in the crossroads. Hussein Askary of the BRIX highlighted the Health Silk Road as the only possible approach to counter the current and future pandemics, providing the necessary infrastructure needed for a modern health system.


‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis: Democratic Republic of the Congo

‘Staggering’ Hunger Crisis Identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

April 7 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program issued a cry of alarm yesterday, that they had found in their recently-completed review of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a “staggering” scale of acute hunger. Some 27.3 million people—one in three citizens of that nation—are “acutely hungry,” with nearly 7 million of those people classified as in emergency status, one step below famine, able to survive only by such extreme strategies as selling off their last animal which provides their livelihood, or by begging.

“This makes the central African country home to the highest number of people in urgent need of food security assistance in the world,” the statement from the two agencies reports.

These figures include 3.3 million of that nation’s children who are malnourished, children who if not quickly provided with enough nutritious food may never recover from stunting of their mental and physical growth which malnutrition brings about.

WFP’s representative in the D.R. Congo, Peter Musoko, is quoted: “For the first time ever we were able to analyze the vast majority of the population, and this has helped us to come closer to the true picture of the staggering scale of food insecurity in the D.R.C. This country should be able to feed its population and export a surplus. We cannot have children going to bed hungry and families skipping meals for an entire day.”

The FAO Representative in the D.R. Congo Aristide Ongone Obame urged: “We need to urgently focus on growing food where it is needed most, and on keeping people’s sustenance-giving animals alive. The main agricultural season is around the corner and there is no time to waste.”

The two agencies drove home the human condition only reflected in these statistics: “Behind the numbers are the stories of parents deprived of access to their land, or forced to flee for their lives, watching their children fall sick for lack of food. WFP staff have met families who have returned to their village to find their home burnt to the ground and their crops entirely looted. Some have been surviving by eating only taro, a root that grows wild, or only cassava leaves boiled in water.”

Never forget that such intolerable conditions are not “natural,” nor unsolvable; they are the results of humanity’s failure to leave the oligarchical system behind. As American statesman Lyndon LaRouche proved scientifically, and China’s just-released White Paper “Poverty Alleviation: China’s Experience and Contribution” asserted, “poverty is not predestined, nor is it unconquerable…. With strong will and determination, as well as practical action, one can make steady progress towards overcoming poverty and realizing common prosperity.” China’s full report is here.


Nigerian President: Lake Chad Water Transfer Is Imperative

Nigerian President: Lake Chad Water Transfer Is Imperative

April 4 (EIRNS) – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari forcefully relaunched the Lake Chad Water Transfer Project, known as Transaqua, in a meeting with visiting Chad President Idris Deby on March 27.

Buhari reminded everyone that about 30 million people are adversely affected by a shrunken Lake Chad, which is now just about ten per cent of its original size, and “It is imperative that there be water transfer to the Lake Chad from the Congo Basin, so that the people can resume their normal lives.” This was reported in an official press release from the Presidency.

“He added that with inter-basin water transfer, farming, fishing, animal husbandry would resume, and curtail irregular migration of youths, who now brave the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to get into Europe, seeking greener pastures,.” says the statement by Buhari’s special media advisor Femi Adesina.

“I’ve been engaging with the relevant stakeholders in Africa and beyond, on why we need to recharge Lake Chad. Nigeria will benefit more, but it is also advantageous to everyone,’’ President Buhari added.

Chad President Idris Deby said that the recharge of Lake Chad is of importance not only for the whole of Africa but for the entire world. He counseled the Nigerian President to consider convening an international summit to move the idea forward.

At the end of February 2018, member states of the Lake Chad Basin Committee adopted Transaqua, the project drafted by a group of Italian engineers led by Dr. Marcello Vichi over 40 years ago, as the only feasible solution to the Lake Chad crisis. Eventually, the Italian Environment Ministry and the Lake Chad Basin Commission signed an MoU for a 1.5 million Euro grant to finance a feasibility study for the project. At the end of 2019, Italian senator Tony Iwoby provided for doubling that fund with an entitlement in the 2021 national budget. However, the study has never taken off, allegedly because the African side did not take action, despite the Italian Ministry of Environment having given green light to the proposed Terms of Reference. It is not excluded that some LCBC member states underwent pressures from European neocolonial circles who have long undertaken a stealth opposition against Transaqua.
Meanwhile, last November 2020, former EU Commission Chairman and former UN envoy for the Sahel Romano Prodi confirmed his full support for Transaqua and for a possible international coalition to build Transaqua, involving the UN, the EU, the OAU and China.

President Buhari’s new intervention is hopefully giving new impulse to the project


Catholic Cardinal in Syria Tells World ‘Time Is Running Out’ for Syria Reconstruction

Roman Catholic Cardinal Mario Zenari, the representative of the Vatican in Syria since the beginning of the Syria war, issued an appeal for international support to reconstruct the country, as time is running out. “Peace, I repeat, will not come to Syria without reconstruction and without economic recovery,” Zenari said March 23. “But how long will Syrians have to wait? Time is running out. Many of the people have lost hope. Urgent and radical solutions are needed.”

Zenari said that the “present political deadlock” between the parties in the Syrian conflict must be overcome through “mutual and reciprocal [steps], step by step from the Syrian government and the opposition and key international players.” He further stated, “While the peace process is in this moment in a complete deadlock, poverty, on the contrary, is moving forward fast.”

Zenari was speaking via Zoom from Damascus at a virtual event organized by the Catholic charity Caritas Internationalis.

Zenari said about 90% of the population of Syria is living below the poverty line, which according to UN figures is “the highest percentage in the world.” He cited the Lebanese financial crisis, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, internal corruption, and foreign sanctions have all contributed to the deepening poverty in Syria caused by 10 years of war.

“The Syrian pound has lost much of its value against the U.S. dollar. The price of food has significantly increased. At the bakeries, people queue to try to get limited subsidized bread that is available. The same scene for petrol all around the country. … The people call this difficult time an ‘economic war,’ worse than that of previous years,” he said.

The World Bank estimates that the country has suffered at least $197 billion worth of infrastructure damage during the war.

Pope Francis marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Syrian war by praying for an end to the war and a renewed commitment from the international community for rebuilding efforts, at the end of his Sunday Angelus on March 14. Zenari first arrived in Syria as apostolic nuncio in 2008, and in 2016 Pope Francis made him a cardinal as a sign of the Pope’s closeness to Syria, Cardinal Pietro Parolin told Catholic News Agency (CNA) at the time.

Here we review a proposal for the reconstruction of Syria called Project Phoenix, focusing on how Syria, which enjoys an ideal position at the crossroads of three continents, can benefit from connecting to the New Silk Road and the emerging World Land-Bridge. This video was produced for the June 25-26, 2016 Schiller Institute conference in Berlin, Germany, “Common Future for Mankind, and a Renaissance of the Classical Cultures”


Peace Through Development: Italy’s Messina Bridge Campaign Grows

Campaign for the Messina Bridge Intensifies

March 17 (EIRNS) – In a few days, the “Technical Commission” established by the Conte2 government to evaluate alternatives to the Sicily-Italy bridge connection will present its conclusive report. According to insider sources, the Commission will issue a pilatesque report, avoiding to endorse either solution.

In view of this, the pro-Messina bridge lobby has mobilized in an unprecedented way to put pressure on the Draghi government:

1. A bi-partisan parliamentary group has been formed, composed by members of Lega, Forza Italia and Italia Viva (Renzi), to endorse the Bridge project.

2. Webuild, the largest construction firm in Italy and contractor for the Bridge project, has published a beautiful video on the Bridge as an engine of development and a technical jewel.

3. “Lettera 150”, an organization gathering hundreds of academicians, has drafted a Memo of Understanding under the direction of Schiller Institute friend prof. Enzo Siviero, which will be signed by the presidents of the two regions, which will be connected by the bridge, Sicily and Calabria, March 26.   

A statement by the newly formed bipartisan group says: “A parliamentary intergroup, composed by several components of national politics: this will be ‘Bridge on the Strait – Italian recovery and development starting from the South.’ An alliance aimed at Italian infrastructural development starting from the Mezzogiorno which, turning the paradigm upside   down, is meant as an expression of social-economic potentiality.”

The six-minute Webuild video presents the Bridge as a large payroller: it will create 118,000        jobs and “will attract towards Italy world trade gravitating in the Mediterranean.” It will “turn Southern Italy into the logistic pole of the EU and will promote the know-how of Italian companies involved.” It will be the longest single-span bridge in the world with a total length of 3,660 m and a 3,300 m long span. It will also be the highest, with towers 399 m  high, and the largest with a 65 meter driveway. It will require 1.5 million tons of concrete and 376,000 tons of steel. It will carry 60,000 trains and 6 million vehicles per year. Webuild is the largest Italian construction and engineering firm. They have built, among other things, the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia and the second Panama Canal. Last year, they built the new Genoa highway bridge in less than 12 months.


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.


U.S.-China: A Shared Humanity

U.S.-China State Legislators Meet for 5th Forum; Amb. Cui Lauds Cooperation

March 4, 2021 (EIRNS)–The 5th China-U.S. Sub-national Legislatures Cooperation Forum met online on March 2. Attending were state legislators from the states of Alabama, Hawaii, California, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee. On the Chinese side were leaders of the standing committees of provincial or municipal people’s congresses of Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Hubei, Guangdong and Yunnan. The forum was the outcome of President Xi’s state visit to the United States in 2015. 

During the course of the Forum, the two sides had extensive discussions on the theme of “Win-win Cooperation for a New Chapter.” The U.S. legislators’ organization participating in the meeting is the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, whose president is Stephen Lakis.

China’s Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai addressed the group. He  underlined that this was the first such event since the change of administrations, and he emphasized the importance of U.S.-China cooperation, particularly in a year in which the world is still in a major fight against COVID-19. Cui referred to the call that the two presidents had made in February as the possible beginning of an improved relationship between the two countries.
            “A China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation, and stability is both in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and meets the shared aspiration of the international community,” he said. “The two countries need to work together under the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, focusing on cooperation and managing differences, to promote the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations, to bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples, and contribute to peace and development of humanity.”


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