Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

21 May 2018

India’s “hug, then repent” proclivity

Brahma Chellaney

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, Napoleon’s famous foreign minister, prescribed a basic rule for pragmatic foreign policy: “by no means show too much zeal”. In India’s case, oozing zealousness, gushy expectations and self-deluding hype have blighted foreign policy under successive leaders, except for a period under Indira Gandhi. Zeal has been to India’s male prime ministers what grand strategy is to great powers. India has rushed to believe what it wanted to believe. Consequently, India is the only known country to have repeatedly cried betrayal, not by friends, but by adversaries in whom it reposed trust. India’s foreign policy since independence can actually be summed up in three words: hug, then repent. Consider Narendra Modi’s abrupt U-turn in China policy. Stemming the deterioration in relations with Beijing makes eminent sense so as to create more strategic space for India. With escalating US sanctions forcing Moscow to pivot to China even as Washington still treats Beijing with kid gloves, India can rely on an unpredictable and transactional Donald Trump administration only at its own peril. During the Doklam standoff, for example, Washington stayed neutral.

Why Vietnam is so Darn Tough

Vietnam thinks it can fight just about anyone and win.

This attitude stems from the country’s many wars with China, as well as its having defeated the French and outlasted the U.S. As a result of all these conflicts, the Vietnamese are fiercely determined to maintain freedom of action in their foreign policy, as evidenced by the ramping up of their naval capabilities. While the country does possess a formidable sea force, it lacks the muscle to dislodge China from the disputed Paracel Islands or prevent Chinese harassment of Vietnamese drilling in disputed waters. However, it has enough military firepower to serve as an invaluable aid to America’s effort to contain Chinese expansion in the region. Unfortunately for the U.S., Vietnam wants amicable relations with Russia, so it’s reluctant to do America’s bidding.

20 May 2018

China Tries to Bring Pakistan, Afghanistan Closer

Ayaz Gul

China has proposed hosting a new round of three-way talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan this month to continue with its diplomatic push in helping the two neighboring countries improve their strained bilateral ties. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing told an unofficial conference of government representatives and experts from the three countries in Islamabad on Tuesday that Beijing had initiated the trilateral vice foreign ministers-level dialogue in 2015. He said that since then, several rounds of talks have taken place, with the mission of easing Kabul's tensions with Islamabad and promoting security, counterterrorism and economic cooperation among the three nations.

The Role of Political Leaders

By George Friedman
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Regardless of the issue, many people seem obsessed with the question of what political leaders will do next. Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un and many others are expected to make the decisions that will determine the course our lives. It’s a comforting thought – we want someone to be in control, someone to praise or blame, someone to analyze and psychoanalyze. The world is too vast, impersonal and unknowable to face without the belief that someone – a leader or perhaps in some cases a hidden conspiracy – is causing the events that shape our lives. And politicians seeking power nurture the idea that they are uniquely qualified to guide millions or hundreds of millions to happiness. Monarchs want to rule, and we want monarchs to rule. This model of political power cushions reality but falsifies it as well.

19 May 2018

China in Afghanistan: A military base in the offing?

KABIR TANEJA
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As the political and security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, China’s role in the war torn nation has come into sharp relief. Though China and Afghanistan share a border barely stretching 76 km, Beijing’s worries about the deteriorating security landscape there have continued to grown. As a major global power with its perhaps only ‘all-weather’ ally on the planet, Pakistan, in the region, the preponderance of jihadist narratives are counter-productive to the country’s Xinjiang region, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has a suppressed Uyghur Muslim population in a region widely considered to be one of the most surveilled in the world.

On China’s New Silk Road, Democracy Pays A Toll

BY RICHARD FONTAINE, DANIEL KLIMAN
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Great power competition is back. And China is now combining its vast economic resources with a muscular presence on the global stage. One of Beijing’s key efforts is the Belt and Road Initiative, a trillion-dollar endeavor to link together Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe through a web of mostly Chinese-funded physical and digital infrastructure. Much of Washington has fretted over China’s mercantilist approach to economics in general and views the Belt and Road Initiative largely through this lens. Yet the concerns over Beijing’s current approach should go beyond dollars and yuan. By fueling debt dependency, advancing a “China First” development model, and undermining good governance and human rights, the initiative offers a deeply illiberal approach to regions that contain about 65 percent of the world’s population and one-third of its economic output.

China Has Decided Russia Is Too Risky an Investment

BY MAXIMILIAN HESS
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On May 4, the planned investment by the Chinese company CEFC China Energy into Russian state oil giant Rosneft fell apart, eight months after it was first announced. The tie-up’s failure reveals the strict limits on the potential for energy cooperation between China — which is in the process of taking ownership of CEFC — and Russia, and with it a broader political alliance between the two countries. Beijing has come to view Rosneft more as a tool of the Russian state than a traditional oil company, and to the extent the two countries don’t share political priorities, China has little interest in any significant economic relationship. Although China is actively searching for new political and economic partners around the world, it seems to have decided the Russian government is too risky a political investment.

18 May 2018

The Strategy Behind China's Diplomatic Offensive in Latin America

BY JORGE HEINE AND ANDERS BEAL
The story goes that the May 1 establishment of diplomatic relations between the Dominican Republic and China was long in the making, but delayed because the D.R. put up too many conditions. As a result, Panama ended up beating it to the finish line, becoming in June 2017 the first country in the region in several years to add an embassy to the already large Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) contingent of missions in Beijing. 

America’s Collision Course With China

KISHORE MAHBUBANI

In the future, historians will lament that America’s long-term policy toward China was not a result of calm calculation. Instead, they are likely to focus on how America’s political polarization and simplistic ideology – shared by many who should know better – drove it into a highly damaging and utterly pointless conflict. The world’s most important bilateral relationship – between the United States and China – is also one of its most inscrutable. Bedeviled by paradoxes, misperceptions, and mistrust, it is a relationship that has become a source of considerable uncertainty and, potentially, severe instability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the brewing bilateral trade war. 

ZTE Redux


Let’s put any potential ZTE deal in perspective. More than a year ago, ZTE was caught selling telecommunications equipment to Iran that included U.S. parts, thus violating sanctions. ZTE pled guilty in November 2017, paid a $900 million fine, punished the responsible executives, and—this was unwise—agreed that if it was later caught violating the terms of the settlement, it would be cut off from all U.S. technology. This last condition was certainly not in ZTE’s interest and probably not good for the United States either.

CHINA’S MARITIME QUEST IN THE INDIAN OCEAN: NEW DELHI’S OPTIONS

by Tuneer Mukherjee

Over thirteen years after defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton produced a report for U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warning of China’s plans to increase its maritime footprint in littoral South Asia, the building blocks for a Chinese support network of logistical stations therein is now being put into place. Over the years, China has managed to string together a patronage network of multiple South Asian coastal nations through massive investment spending, focused port development projects, and collaborative naval equipment transfers (refer Table 1 below). The formulation of this “string of pearls” strategy, furthering China’s larger military and commercial ambitions under the guise of economic development, has managed to bait nations out of India’s strategic orbit.

Debate | The China Model


China’s rise is both unambiguous and unstoppable, whether the West likes it or not. Refusing to acknowledge reality will only generate more tension – and more risk, because failing to accommodate China will destabilize the rules-based order on which the world has come to rely. BEIJING – The global balance of power is shifting. As the United States retreats from global leadership, China is expanding its international influence. Now, many in the West fear a China-led attempt to overhaul the rules and norms that underpin the existing world order. Are they right to be afraid? The reemergence of China as a major regional and even world power certainly poses profound challenges to the US-led international order that was created after World War II. But Chinese leaders’ goal is not explicitly to upend that order, which did, after all, prove flexible enough to enable the impoverished China of the 1970s to become what it is today. Instead, the goal is to ensure that the existing order can adequately accommodate the interests and objectives of both China and the US.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving – to China

KENT HARRINGTON

By abandoning the thoughtful policymaking of his predecessors in favor of a presidency modeled on reality TV, US President Donald Trump has failed to articulate anything resembling a credible national strategy. Trump’s threatened trade war with China, which is already benefiting that country at America's expense, is a case in point. All bad management, a business guru once remarked, is taught by example. Donald Trump is teaching a master class on how not to serve as America’s chief executive. By abandoning the thoughtful policymaking of his predecessors in favor of a presidency modeled on reality TV, Trump has failed to articulate anything resembling a credible national strategy.

17 May 2018

China and India are friends-to-be under Modi and Xi13

Author: Sourabh Gupta, ICAS

The informal summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in late April confirms a noticeable softening of the Modi government’s diplomatic approach towards China. India has exchanged its prior entitlement- and grievance-filled tone for a more constructive one. The meeting reinforced the notion in Beijing’s eyes that Modi is a purposeful interlocutor capable of braving difficult choices in his nation’s interest. Modi, like his predecessors Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has — when an opportunity in bilateral relations presented itself — been quick to pivot from hawk to dove and to unreservedly engage Beijing in good faith.

Modi and Xi reset China–India relations


The informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of April saw a reset in the tone of the two countries’ bilateral relations, with significant progress on the management of their border problems and some opening towards opportunities for increased economic cooperation. In the lead up to the summit, Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar, one of Modi’s chief economic advisors who was heavily involved in preparation for the summit, made it clear that India would benefit from a more positive approach to its economic relationship with China. Before the summit, Kumar met with He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (China’s main economic ministry). The meetings, held in Beijing, were part of the India–China Strategic Economic Dialogue that began in 2011 and was suspended last year following the Doklam border incident.

What Has Karl Marx Ever Done for China?

By Kerry Brown

One of the paradoxes of modern Chinese history is that, during the most xenophobic and anti-foreign period in the country’s modern history, in the depths of the Cultural Revolution half a century ago, the words of German émigré Karl Marx and the ideology that bore his name imported from that maligned, distrusted, and hated outside world were untouchable parts of the dogma. Nien Cheng in her celebrated memoir of the era, Life and Death in Shanghai, put her finger on this paradox. Responding to her interrogators when attacked for working for a foreign company in Shanghai, she asked, why was that such a problem? The Communists, after all, she said, were serving a set of ideas born abroad, created by a foreigner. She could have gone further. The Red Guards were idolizing a foreigner whose vast corpus of work, when it mentioned China (which was rarely), did so with lofty disparagement and disdain. The country, Marx thought, was decades, if not centuries away from the revolutions he predicted were about to topple governments in Europe and the West.

The Role of Investors in Promoting Sustainable Infrastructure Under the Belt and Road Initiative

Alison Hoare

China is seeking to increase its overseas investments in infrastructure projects, and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is its strategic vehicle to help achieve this. The initiative aims to improve connectivity between China and the world by encouraging investment in transport, energy and communications infrastructure. In light of the profound impacts of infrastructure on societies and the environment, the BRI will be crucial in determining whether countries are able to achieve more sustainable development patterns, and whether global emissions can be aligned with a 2°C pathway. One of the intended outcomes of the BRI is that it will help achieve sustainable development in partner countries, but this will depend on the nature of the investment projects. The use of sustainable procurement for infrastructure projects is a potentially valuable tool to reduce environmental risks for investors as well as to help drive best practice and innovation in sustainable design, construction and operation. 

Mekong River nations face the hidden costs of China's dams

YUKAKO ONO

STUNG TRENG, Cambodia -- Sam In, a 48-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia's northeastern province of Stung Treng, never knew that people paid for water until he was forced to move out of his home on the banks of a Mekong River tributary two years ago. Along with hundreds of other households, Sam In and his 10-member family were relocated to make way for a dam development that left his entire village, Sre Sronok, underwater. Now they live in a newly created village where government-funded houses with identical blue rooftops are neatly lined up on a spacious, dusty plot of land. Instead of a river, a national road runs alongside the village.

16 May 2018

Xi Jinping's Excerpt on the Overall National Security Concept


Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, April 15th: A book edited by Xi Jinping on the exposition of the overall national security concept published by the Central Party History and Literature Research Institute of the Communist Party of China was recently published by the Central Literature Publishing House and distributed throughout the country. Adhering to the overall national security concept is an important part of Xi Jinping’s socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in a new era. The report of the 19th CPC National Congress emphasizes that coordinating development and security, enhancing awareness of hardships, and making peace at peace times are a major principle for our party to govern the country. Comrade Xi Jinping’s series of important expositions on the overall national security concept are highly ambitious, rich in content, and profound in thought. 

CHINA WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD, ONE PORT AT A TIME

VANDANA MENON

New research suggests China’s port investments as part of the Belt and Road Initiative are aimed at generating political influence and military presence in the Indo-Pacific. New Delhi: Launched in 2013, China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been pegged as a trade masterstroke meant to recreate the ancient Silk Road, facilitating development along the way in a win-win situation. But new research suggests a clear political agenda behind the initiative, aided by the exercise of ‘corporate obfuscation’ by the Chinese companies involved. In a report by Washington-based nonprofit research group C4ADS, titled ‘Harboured Ambitions: How China’s port investments are strategically reshaping the Indo-Pacific’, China analysts Devin Thorne and Ben Spevack noted, “Questions surrounding China’s intentions plague the BRI”.