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Portugal Working To Put the Atlantic Ocean on the Belt and Road Map

June 5 – A three-page spread on “Portugal in China’s New Silk Road” in the May 31 issue of Portugal’s {Expresso} daily writes that “the Atlantic is missing from the current map of the initiative,” but Portuguese Belt and Road researcher Paulo Duarte tells them “the Atlantic Ocean is a space in transformation…. The trend will be for China to engage in this ocean in coming years.” Portugal offers “a string of pearls” of deepwater seaports on the European continent and on its Atlantic island such as the Azores, for this initiative, Jorge Rocha de Matos, president of the Fundacão AIP, a non-profit promoting private sector companies, told {Expresso}.

{Expresso} interviewed Portugal’s Minister of the Sea Ana Paulo Vitorino, who reported that Portugal and China are advancing on a memorandum on a “blue partnership,” dealing with everything related to the oceans and sea economy. The MOU will outline a portfolio of joint research projects on state-of-the-art maritime biotechnologies, deep-sea technologies, etc.

Portugal’s primary capital is its geography, when it comes to the BRI, she said, citing Portugal’s “strategic centrality. …. Portugal is at the interface between Europe and the Atlantic.” the reported that China is interested not only in building up Sines port, where the China Communications Construction Co. will be a bidder in the tender for expanding Sines which will be launched later this year. Increased Chinese activity here will turn this port, once considered a “white elephant” into a crown jewel, she said. But “China is not only looking at Sines;” it is also studying investments to upgrade the entire national port system, she said.


Successful Berlin Seminar: “Felix Yemen” instead of Genocide!

On Oct. 13, the Schiller Institute and  INSAN for Human Rights and Peace organized a joint seminar in  Berlin on “A Future for Yemen: Instead of Geopolitical Destruction — A New Paradigm for Reconstruction and Development with the New Silk Road for Southwest Asia and Africa.” Sixty people attended the half-day event, both German contacts and members, and Yemeni INSAN activists, among them many youth. It was a truly moving event, as the horror and humanitarian disaster was contrasted with the beautiful vision of reconstruction as worked out in Operation Felix by Hussein Askary, who attended as a speaker. His remarks gave people a true spark of the sublime — that it is possible to save humanity in the current breakdown of the old, dying global system and to take the future into one’s own hands.

After a short greeting by Elke Fimmen, a Schiller Institute chorus of Berlin and Dresden members sang {Dona Nobis Pacem}, to great effect on the audience. Elke then read Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s special greeting to the conference; followed by Aiman Al Mansour, who introduced the aim of his organization INSAN — INSAN means human being — and appealed to everybody to open their heart and soul, and consider mankind as a whole, giving the victims of the present genocide in Yemen a voice.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche called the events in Yemen a crime against humanity, with the Western governments and media being accomplices in it. When people said, after the Nazi Holocaust, that they did not know about it, today nobody can claim he or she did not know what is going on, even with the scarce reports. With 18 million of Yemen’s 29 million people threatened by famine, among them millions of children, Western governments continue to deliver weapons to Saudi Arabia. Now, with the likely murder of Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. senators talk about the Magnitsky Act. “But for each child dying of hunger in Yemen the Magnitsky Act must be applied!” Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism, because China’s Belt and Road policy has changed the strategic situation already, and this means also a concrete perspective for the reconstruction of Yemen in the near future, as can be seen in Syria and the Horn of Africa. She ended by saying, “Let us be warrior-angels in Friedrich Schiller’s sense and fight for a better order for all of humanity, which is in cohesion with our true identity as one mankind. Nobody in this world is secure, unless the people of Yemen are not secure and cannot realize their potential for happiness.”

After this introduction, in the first xsession, presentations were given by representatives of INSAN:
On the consequences of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen (Abdullatif ElWashali); a very dramatic picture by psychiatrist Dr. Hussein Al-Warith on the psychology of war trauma among children in Yemen and the difficulties to deal with it. How can these children contribute to rebuild their country in the future? Finally, Mohammad Abo Taleb spoke on the consequences of the blockade. Engeline Kramer, a long-time peace activist with a personal connection to Yemeni students, blasted the German government’s non-position on this horrible war.

The first part of the seminar was ended with a discussion and a short video on the school bus massacre of 40 school children on Aug. 9, by a missile built by Lockheed Martin and launched by the Saudi “coalition.”

After the break, Elke Fimmen spoke on the strategic situation and the need to replace the bankrupt old order with a new paradigm, asking the question “Is mankind morally fit to survive?” She attacked today’s culture of death, from which we have to free ourselves and build a beautiful future.

After an overview video on the damage done in Yemen, Hussein Askary then presented Operation Felix, the reconstruction plan for Yemen in the context of the New Silk Road. He first described (as in his June 30-July 1 Schiller Institute conference speech in Bad Soden) the history of why Yemen was the poorest country in the region all along, and said that, before the war, nothing had been invested into the real economy and agriculture in decades, due to the IMF/World Bank policy, and the idea that earning money from oil exports would be enough.

So, when the war started, the country was basically lost.

Askary then presented Yemen’s position on the crossroads of the Belt and Road and showed the plans for the main development corridor projects for Yemen, especially the North-South railroad from Saa’da to Aden, which, concerning the very mountainous territory, is comparable to the one in Ethiopia, which China is building and plans to complete within four years. He stressed that it will be mostly up to the intellectuals and to the youth — who make up 50% of the present Yemeni population — half of them under 18 years old! –to build the country’s future and learn from the lessons of the past.

Askary’s appeal to have a clear vision for the future, so you can fight for it, clearly struck a response with those attending. One of the points made in the discussion was the need to make this project known to a broader population in Yemen, to give people a vision in this horrible situation, which can remoralize them; there was also discussion on how to sustain such a program in the longer run, so that one is not dependent on the outside. All of this led to an extremely fruitful and frank discussion. People expressed afterwards their gratitude for the seminar. Especially some of the young people were visibly excited about the perspective that Askary presented.

Here is the speech by Hussein Askary:

 


Spain Proposes Role in Chinese-Ibero-American Nuclear Projects

April 2, 2018 -Eduardo Aymerich, Director General of the Spanish Nuclear Group for Cooperation (SNGC), a consortium formed by four Spanish nuclear companies, told Xinhua during the March 28-31 International Fair of China’s Nuclear Industry in Beijing, that SNGC wants to partner with Chinese nuclear companies in Ibero-America. He cited the example of China’s contracts to build two nuclear plants in Argentina, explaining that “in addition to our specialized services, we know the region and share the culture, so that we could be a connecting bridge between the Argentine client and the Chinese supplier.”

SNGC, he added, is interested in working with China in other countries also, naming the UK, Turkey, Romania, and South Africa, in particular. Two SNGC officials attending the fair, noted that doing business in China is, itself, a challenge, because of the speed at which it is developing.

“The Chinese nuclear sector has developed a great deal in recent years. The challenge now is to offer them innovative technologies which interest them,” Aymerich told Xinhua. Jose Garcia, head of international development at ENUSA, the nuclear fuel processing company in SNGC, called the Chinese market very competitive for Spanish companies “because in five years the product which you sell them will be left behind.”

Spain’s nuclear industry needs business abroad to stay alive, because, while nuclear power supplies around 20% of the nation’s electricity (with seven plants still operating), the insane predominance of anti-nuclear greenies in the nation is blocking all needed expansion. Between them, the four companies making up the SNGC consortium manufacture and operate nuclear safety valves, steam generators, and other components, and fuel, and provide engineering, inspection, and training services.

China’s nuclear industry fair had more than 200 companies and institutions participating from more than 50 countries and regions.


Lake Chad Conference: Water Transfer Is Not an Option, It Is a Necessity

March 1  — The official outcome of the Feb. 26-28 International Conference on Lake Chad  in Abuja, Nigeria is an unequivocal statement of support for the Transaqua project, calling for the transfer of water from the Congo River basin to Lake Chad. It clearly states:

*There is no solution to the shrinking of Lake Chad that does not involve recharging the lake by transfer of water from outside the basin.

*That Inter-basin water transfer is not an option, but a necessity.

*The Transaqua Project, which would take water from the right tributary of River Congo, conveying the water 2,400 kilometers through a channel to Chari River, is the preferred feasible option.

Furthermore it was officially announced by Italian Ambassador to Nigeria Stefano Pontesilli, during the High-LevelSession of Presidents of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, that Italy will contribute EU1.5 million for the feasibility study of the Transaqua project, declaring that Italy was ready to partner with the proposed “Transaqua Project” to see the success of the water transfer. The feasibility study is planned to be carried out by the Italian engineering firm Bonifica and construction company PowerChina.


China’s Success Throws Free Market Ideologues Into Crisis

Feb. 13 — In the Jan. 29 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, an article titled “What if China Really Is Exempt from the Laws of Economics?” very aptly captures the consternation/ constipation imposed on the intellectually impoverished proponents of standard academic economics by the astounding development of China. Author Michael Schulman gets far more points for candor than he does for historic insight. He seems thoroughly oblivious to the simple fact that the U.S. industrial base was built entirely by economic dirigism, never mentioning Alexander Hamilton. He devotes zero attention to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

However, what he does say would be hilarious, if the consequences of his outlook were not so dire: “But recently, my faith in the corpus of collective wisdom has been shattered. By China.” He elaborates: “The more I apply my rules of economics to China, the more they seem to go awry. China should be mired in meager growth, even gripped by financial crisis, according to my maxims. But obviously, it’s not. In fact, much of what’s going on right now in that country runs counter to what we know–or think we know–about economics. Simply, if Beijing’s policymakers are right, then a lot of basic economic thinking is wrong—especially our certainty in the power of free markets, our ingrained bias against state intervention, and our ideas about fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Schulman bemoans the fact that the role of the CPC in the Chinese economy is more central than ever, but, even worse (for his ilk), that no disaster, but only sustained real growth has resulted from that top-down intervention. He inserts some politically correct caveats and qualifiers, to the effect that maybe some catastrophe is lurking off stage, but pretty much admits that he can’t discern it.

So, it’s therefore time to overhaul your failed axioms, right? Sorry, like Linus, Schulman isn’t ready to ditch the security blanket just yet: “I’m clinging to my maxims…but thanks to China, I’m prepared to edit them.”

A more open admission of intellectual bankruptcy would be hard to imagine.

The whole article:  www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-24/what-if-china-is-exempt-from-the-laws-of-economics

 


Egypt: Fresh Vegetables Grown in the Desert

Chinese company, Sinomach Heavy Industry Corp., is building what is described as the world’s largest greenhouse complex in the Egyptian desert. The site is within two hour’s drive from Cairo, CGTN reported yesterday. The complex, which when complete will consist of about 3,000 greenhouses, will grow vegetables and fruit, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and peppers. This was decided in consultation with Egyptian agricultural experts, Hou Huicong, the deputy project manager explained. The water for the crops will come from a sub-branch of the Nile River, and ditches will be built to divert water to the greenhouses.

Components for the greenhouses have been produced in 80 factories in China that have been working on the project since July. On this ambitious schedule, operation of the greenhouses is expected this year. This accelerated timetable can be met, said Sun Guiding, purchase manager for the project, because, “We mobilized almost all resources producing agricultural appliances in China. Many are working around the clock.”

The $400 million project is the product of an agreement signed with the Egyptian government last May.

 


China Stresses Importance of Scientific-Technological R&D

Dec. 30 -Leading officials in China’s science sector have announced in the past days that now, after the 19th Party Congress, the country will focus even more on research and development in pioneer areas of science and technology. This will make the vitality of innovations in China even stronger than what was done in the previous five-year plan.

“Following more than 30 years of accumulation, China’s science and technology sectors have been transformed from quantity to quality, Prof. Huo Guoqing of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is quoted by Xinhua. “Now is the time for breakthroughs.” Also Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang stressed that his country is developing “a new understanding of innovation as the prime driver of development.”

China is proud of having achieved leading status internationally in five landmark innovations since 2015: the dark matter project carried out by the “Wukong” satellite; the quantum research satellite; the space laboratory Tiangong-2; the radio telescope FAST; the deep ocean submarine Jiaolong.


Japan Seeks Cooperation with China in Africa

Jan. 2 -As reported in the {Yomiuri Shimbun}, the government of Japan will ask China to join in Japan’s development projects in Africa. This is a substantial shift in Japan’s traditional practice to only fund Japanese projects abroad. (It would fit Europe as well to also begin such kind of cooperation with China and Japan in African projects. So far, Europe has been more than reluctant to do so.)

The four projects Tokyo is considering for Chinese participation are: the “Growth Ring” plan to link West African nations via major roadways; development and improvement of roads and bridges in Kenya; development and improvement of the “International Corridor” road that connects cities in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville); and road improvement in Rwanda.

The “Growth Ring” project is a 3,200 km road running in a huge loop from north to south, linking Burkina Faso with Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo, and the 1,000 km road stretching east to west, connecting five countries from Nigeria to Ivory Coast. The project is expected to create a new economic bloc by connecting Nigeria, which has a relatively large economy, with other countries in the region.

Improving Kenya’s transportation system is part of the Japanese development assistance for Mombasa Port, which serves as an international trade hub in the eastern region of the continent. Japan has dominated the work for the port’s development project, but now hopes to divide responsibilities with China on the project to develop and improve a road and a bridge connecting the port with the adjacent area. For the “International Corridor” project and the road work in Rwanda, Japan will partially finance them and encourage Chinese entities to take part in the projects.

Africa is expected to see explosive population growth and is deemed to be the last mega-market.


Ethiopia-China Cooperation Deepening

Dec. 23 -As the Ethiopia-China Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Forum is currently underway in Hangzhou, China, the Ethiopian government envisaged the forum to provide a new impetus to the comprehensive partnership  between the two countries. The forum kicked off on Dec. 20. According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the forum is one major result of the longstanding relations that the two countries have enjoyed for many years. “Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have steadily strengthened a relationship based on their common interests. The two countries have also been and are working closely together in regional and international matters,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Dec. 21.

Foreign Minister Aklilu Hailemichael praised the government and people of China for playing a prominent role in his country’s economic boom. “The Ethiopia-China Economic, Trade and Cultural Cooperation Forum will further enhance the multifaceted ties between the two countries,” the statement quoted Hailemichael as saying.

Hailemichael has also briefed participants of the forum regarding Ethiopia’s untapped human and natural resources,  together with Addis Ababa’s commitment to promoting investment schemes in the East African country.

China, Ethiopia’s largest trading partner, is a major player in Ethiopia’s investment, trade and diplomatic landscape. In just the past two decades, Chinese companies have invested close to $4 billion in Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission, the bilateral trade volume also reached $6.37 billion in 2015.

The recently published McKinsey report also indicated that Ethiopia, together with South Africa, has developed a robust partnership” with China, along with a high degree of economic engagement in the form of investment, trade, loans, and aid.


Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao – Bridge

We recommend the film “This is China: Epidsodes 1 and 2 of the Hongkong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge” which is a CGTN production.

The builders say that they plan to build another seven or eight such bridges, and show a map (42 minutes 45 seconds into the 50 minute film) with projects all over the world, including in the United States and Scandinavia.

This is China: Episode 1 of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

This is China: Episode 2 of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge


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