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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

Uruguay’s President: China “Occupies a Central Place” in the Future of Latin America and Caribbean

Dec. 1, 2017 -In his opening remarks to the first session of the China-Latin America-Caribbean Business Summit (China-LAC 2017) in Punta del Este, Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez set the tone for the day’s discussion when he identified China as “the champion of international trade and a motor of global economic growth.”

Speaking before approximately 3,000 attendees, Vasquez said that because of its growing trade, economic, political, scientific, and cultural ties to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), China now “occupies a central place in the affairs of Latin America and the Caribbean….[and] a central place in the future of the region.” That future, he underscored, “is not predetermined, but is rather built in the present, because the future can be shaped among us all, as no country, no matter its size, [defines] its fate by itself.”

The two-day event, which includes businessmen, government officials, policymakers, and other experts from all three regions, is unprecedented in its size and has generated enormous enthusiasm and debate about the prospect of Latin America joining the Belt and Road Initiative. In fact, today’s first plenary session discussed the vision for an alliance among the three regions, in the framework of the Belt and Road.

One indication of the policy discussion now underway was Vasquez’s report that “we have received and are evaluating an interesting Chinese proposal which includes audacious and transformative ideas” such as promoting a free trade zone between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), which will be taken up in January at the group’s next annual conference in Santiago, Chile.

Other speakers at the opening session included Ma Peihua, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference, who said that China’s main goal is to establish cooperative associations with countries, especially to promote unity and collaboration with LAC countries, and push the world economy toward a more open and inclusive path that will offer universal benefits. China-LAC relations have now entered a “new historical phase,” he said, with good results. He recalled that over a period of four years, President Xi Jinping toured the LAC countries three times–the last time in 2016– strenghtening this relationship.

China Plans 7,500-km Rail Connecting Sudan and Chad, and On to the Atlantic

Nov. 29, 2017-The approximately 7,500-km transcontinental rail corridor from Port Sudan to Dakar, Senegal, on the Atlantic Ocean, was first proposed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2005. From its eastern terminal in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, this northernmost transcontinental rail corridor is slated to cross Chad to its capital, NDjamena, then to Maiduguri and Kano in Nigeria, continuing to Niamey, Niger, to Bamako, Mali, to Senegal.

Agreements have already been made with China for the construction of two sections of this corridor, in Chad and in Sudan. On Nov. 7, 2017, the Sudanese Railways Authority signed an agreement for a feasibility study with two Chinese companies, China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) and China Friendship Development International Engineering Design & Consultation Company (FDDC), to be completed in 12 months, to study the 3,400- km-long trans-Saharan Railway that would stretch from Port Sudan to the Sudanese city of Nyala, close to the Chadian border, and on to NDjamena. The lines are to be built to standard gauge and will allow trains to run at 120 km/h.

In March 2012, Chad reached an agreement with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to build the Chad portion of the rail line from NDjamena to the Sudanese border. In 2014, Sudan reached a political agreement with Chad to link their capitals with Port Sudan. There were to be later extensions to Atlantic Ocean ports in Cameroon, Douala (the biggest Atlantic port in Central Africa) and Kribi (the deepest Atlantic port in Central Africa). Rebel activities in Chad have prevented these proposals from being implemented up to now. The construction of the Kribi deep sea port was financed by China.

China Myanmar Corridor Progresses

Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw, following his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw, today, said Myanmar appreciates the proposal of building a China-Myanmar economic corridor, and intends to actively integrate with the Chinese over the project, Xinhua reported.

In this context, China has advanced a well received proposal in Myanmar, for a three-phase plan of action, so that Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh can return home. The International Organization for Migrations says that more than 610,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. Speaking of the BRI China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, Wang pointed out that “China regards Myanmar as an important cooperative partner on the joint implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, and is willing to discuss the building of China-Myanmar economic corridor based on Myanmar’s development guidelines and practical needs, so as to promote common development of the two countries.” Wang further said, the Chinese side believes the Myanmar government has the wisdom and capability of pushing forward its domestic peace process, and China will continue to offer support at Myanmar’s request, reported Xinhua.

„The economic corridor will start in China’s Yunnan Province, extend to the central Myanmar city of Mandalay, and then east to Yangon and west to the Kyaukpyu special economic zone, forming a three-pillar giant cooperation pattern,” Wang said at the press conference on Nov. 19th., reported Global Times.

Completion of Second Russia-China Crude Oil Pipeline

Nov. 14 – On Nov. 12, the second China-Russia crude oil pipeline project, which took only 456 days to build, was finally completed, Asia Times reported, citing a report from the Chinese publication 21st Century Business Herald. Built by those countries’ two biggest oil producers, China National Petroleum Corp. and Rosneft, the 940 km pipeline from Mohe to Daqing, both in Heilongjiang, will have an annual capacity of 15 million tons. According to the planned volume of pipeline transportation between China and Russia, after the completion of construction, Russian oil transported to China’s northeast by land-based crude oil pipelines will double from 15 million tons to 30 million tons per year.

The first oil pipeline of the China-Russia crude oil pipeline project, from Skovorodino to Mohe, moved 100 million tons of oil from Russia to China between 2011 and May 19, 2017, according to TASS. The second oil pipeline will further improve the safety and reliability of China’s crude oil supplies and make up for old Chinese oil fields like Daqing, Liaohe, which will promote the old industrial bases in northeast area and the steady development of the national economy.

Global Times cited Zhang Hong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, that “importing oil from Russia also has great benefits for China because, first, diversifying oil import sources can reduce the risks of regional politics on domestic economic security. Second, in terms of geography, importing oil from Russia is more convenient than getting it from distant sources like Saudi Arabia.”

China: High-Tech Manufacturing Is Growing at 13.4% Per Year

Nov. 14 – Xinhua reported Nov. 13 on third quarter 2017 results for the Chinese economy, as presented by Zhang Liqun, researcher with the State Council’s Development Research Center.

The year-on-year overall growth rate in China for the first three quarters of 2017 was 6.9%, which was higher than expected. Most interesting is that “the high-tech and equipment manufacturing sectors posted stellar growth in the first three quarters, with output up 13.4% and 11.6% respectively,” Xinhua reported. Investment in high-tech manufacturing rose even more dramatically, by 18.4%, up from 11.7% for the same period in 2016. Job creation is correspondingly strong: China created almost 11 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2017—300,000 more than the same period last year. Official unemployment in Chinese cities stands at 3.95%, the lowest level since 2008.

The Xinhua article also quoted the chief economist at the Bank of China, Cao Yuanzheng, who said that it is of vital importance to contain financial risks, including “countering debt, shadow banking and asset bubbles.” Even Moody’s had to admit, in a recent research note, that “a stronger policy focus on financial sector regulation should continue to restrain the growth of shadow banking activities, help mitigate asset risks for the banks, and address some key imbalances in the financial system.” On poverty reduction, which is the central concern of President Xi Jinping and the entire national leadership, Vice Premier Wang Yang presided over a meeting of the State Council’s group on poverty reduction on Nov. 13. Wang emphasized that they had to be focused on “enhancing a sense of mission and crisis awareness, and targeting problems to fulfill the Party’s promise to the Chinese people and the international community,” Xinhua wrote. (The fact that Wang presented this policy as a commitment to the international community is especially notable.) Wang added that to meet these goals it was necessary to train local authorities, “stressing the importance of carrying out research and investigation, and averting formalism.”

New China-Europe `Silk Road’ Line Inaugurated in Azerbaijan

Oct. 30 — There was great enthusiasm in Baku, Azerbaijan today as the head of state of that country, Ilham Aliyev, was joined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in a ceremony to inaugurate the new 826 km. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway, which was set to take off on its maiden trip to Europe. According to {The Daily Sabah}, the BTK is a “key link in the modern Silk Road Railway” that will carry goods between Beijing and London. Initially, it is expected to carry almost one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight annually, but aims to transport up to 50 million tons a year when it reaches its full potential.

Also present at the ceremony was the U.S. ambassador Robert Cekuta, who noted that the BTK railroad is an important part of the New Silk Road, the Azeri news service APA reported.
President Erdogan, who is also in Baku for a two-day visit commemorating the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, said at the ceremony that “Baku-Tblisi-Kars is part of a big Silk Road and it’s important that we have implemented this project using our own funds,” most of the $1 billion of which came from Azerbaijan’s state oil fund. Erdogan emphasized that the project will bring “peace, security, stability and prosperity and will contribute to the development of our countries.”

The {Daily Sabah} points out that, as “one of the land routes in the scope of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative passes through Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the railway projects being launched in the context of the `Iron Silk Road’ have gained significance as they are connecting the regions.” The transportation from Georgia to Turkey is provided via a border tunnel, some 2,375 meters of which are within Turkey’s borders, while 2,070 meters are on the Georgian side. Thanks to the railway network linking the Middle East to Europe via the 13.6 km Marmaray rail connection, “transportation between Turkey and Asia, the Caucasus and European countries will be easier,” {Sabah} predicts.

The new line will reduce travel time from China to Europe to 15 days, twice as fast as the sea route, at half the cost of air freight. Trains can depart from Chinese cities, cross into Kazakhstan at the Khorgos Gateway, be transported across the Caspian Sea by ferry to the new port of Baku and then be loaded onto the BTK to head for Europe. President Aliyev said that several European countries are interested in the project and that his government is in talks with them. Kazakhstan is very interested in transporting goods via the BTK line.

Portugal Signs Action Plan with China on Maritime Silk Road

Nov. 1, 2017 -Portugal’s Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, accompanied by representatives of 39 Portuguese port and related companies and industries, is in China for a busy, eight-day visit (10/28-11/4) to concretize Portugal’s participation in the Maritime Silk Road. That includes hopes for some $2.5 billion in Chinese investments in expanding container and other facilities in the Portuguese ports of Sines (towards the south), Lisbon (in the center), and Leixoes (towards the north), as well as in areas of “blue biotechnology,” oceanic aquaculture, and marine industry. The first of two planned high-level seminars took place in Beijing on Monday, with representatives of 86 Chinese companies present. Vitorino’s Chinese counterpart, State Oceanic Administration Director Wang Hong, there spoke of maritime cooperation as an “essential part” of Chinese-Portuguese cooperation, and discussed China’s overall view of the “ocean as an important doorway for China to embrace the whole world.”

Vitorino, for her part, said that “Portugal wants to declare itself a global logistical hub in the Atlantic area,” and “double the value of the blue economy,” to the level of becoming one of the five most sea-related economies in the world. She described Portugal as “a necessary stop on north-south Atlantic routes … [and] a required crossing point in east-west routes.”

That statement echoes Portuguese State Internationalization Secretary Jorge Costa Oliveira’s declarations at the May Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, that Portugal desires that “a maritime route to [the port of] Sines be included, and in addition, that the land rail Silk Road, which already goes from Chongqing to Madrid, also comes to Portugal.”

So far, Vitorino has signed an Action Plan with her Chinese counterpart, outlining collaboration on research and commercial projects as China and Portugal establish an expanded “blue economy” partnership. She met today with the President of the Development Bank of China. Vitorino also reported that agreements had been reached between Portuguese and Chinese companies to form consortia which would compete for various of the planned investment projects. No specific details were given, but the Portuguese businesses represented are leading port operators, construction companies, logistics operators, naval boatyard repair works, engineering, energy, aquaculture, and fish transformation companies, Macauhub reported.

Belt and Road Offers Great Future for Italian Ports and Shipowners

Oct. 27, 2017 -Matteoli, chairman of the Italian shipowners association Confitarma, said that the New Silk Road initiative represents a major o ppMario ortunity for growth mainly for Italian ports, since they become the next preferred gateway for goods coming from Asia into Europe, while today, cargo flows are more often offloaded in Northern Europe before being distributed in Central and Southern Europe.

“The Belt and Road project is of course challenging and scary at the same time,” Matteoli said,”but I think that the Italian players should be aware of this great opportunity mainly because instead of being at the terminus of the belt, we could have an inversion of the tendency of what the flows are now. Many industries in the north of Italy import goods from the ports based in Germany and The Netherlands, but the new infrastructure projects could instead invert the trend, and eventually Italy could become the entry point for the goods to be distributed towards the north.”

Matteoli also addressed  a crucial role of shipowners for mankind, stating that “we, as shipowners, have to participate (in the New Silk Road) in order to grant a better world for the future generations.”

Turkey wants to join the New Silk Road

Oct. 29 – “China is an important country in all respects. It is a country with which we want to develop our relations, and revive the historical Silk Road together,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday, in a speech in the southeastern city of Sanliurfa, Xinhua reports. He noted that the Silk Road includes many issues, including those of economy and security.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a prominent participant in the May 2017 Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China; the country’s {Official Gazette} reported two days ago that Emin Onon, described as Erdogan’s “chief advisor” by Turkey Minute website, has been appointed Ambassador to China.

The pro-government newspaper {Daily Sabah} ran a story that same day reviewing the last decade of Turkish-Chinese economic ties, with an eye to how, “having gained momentum in the last decade, Turkish-Chinese cooperation is set to capitalize on further cooperation with additional joint investment projects to unlock the potential offered by the Belt and Road project.”

“Millennia-long ties between the Turks and the nation of dragons, China, have not always been marked with lucrative cooperation,” {Daily Sabah} wrote, but “history tells us that the two nations have enjoyed the benefits of trading on the ancient Silk Road…. China’s willingness to render the Belt and Road initiative as integrated into Turkey’s development strategy, will also help strengthen the exchange between China and Turkey.”

Among the economic cooperation underway or in the works mentioned by {Daily Sabah}, are ongoing negotiations on construction of the Edirne-Kars high-speed railway route, the agreement on China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.’s construction of a third nuclear power plant in Turkey, and promotion of the use of direct renmimbi-lira currency transactions to finance trade and investment by the Chairman Xu Keen of the Turkish branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC Turkey).

Xu told {Daily Sabah}, “we will strengthen the market surveys in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region, while acting as the major partner to infrastructure projects including energy power plants, railroads, highways and others, in addition to other projects in Turkey and surrounding regions.”

Likewise, PowerChina (Power Construction Corporation of China) decided at the end of last May to establish its Eurasian regional headquarters operations in Istanbul. PowerChina Deputy General Manager Wang Bin explained, in opening the regional headquarters, that “Turkey is one of the most important countries along the Silk Road and has important regional advantages,”

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