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Finland-China Rail Freight Route Opened

Nov. 13 – With more than 40 containers, a cargo train bound for Xi’an, China departed Kouvola in southeastern Finland, on Nov. 10. It will take 17 days to run 9,000 km distance across the Eurasian continent, passing through Russia and Kazakhstan among other countries, before reaching its final destination in northwest China.

        Goods packed in the containers are all made in Finland, ranging from machinery, timber, workwear, and ship components, according to Jari Gronlund, chief operation officer of Unytrade company. Founded just this past summer, Unytrade especially serves the newly-opened route, said Gronlund, who believes the only railway route linking the Nordic countries and China will open a new channel to bring more Nordic products to nations along the route.

        Olli-Pekka Hilmola, logistics professor at Lappeenranta University of Technology, told Finnish national broadcaster Yle that a regular train connection from Kouvola to China would be important to the Finnish economy. Li Zhao, Assistant of the General Manager of Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group, explained that goods will be further transported to various markets in China from the terminus in Xi’an.

        As planned, a total of five trains will run between Kouvola and Xi’an by the end of this year. At the same time, a train would depart from Xi’an to Kouvola every week. Li said the trips may start to increase if trade goes smoothly; hopefully a train of goods would be sent every day in the near future.


Rail Freight Connection between China and Slovakia

Nov. 14 -The first trial train with containers from China arrived on Monday, Nov. 13, at the cargo port in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The train’s 11,000-km journey from the Chinese city of Dalian, via Russia and Ukraine lasted 17 days.
The train was welcomed by Transport Minister Arpád Érsek, State Secretary for Finance and Government Envoy for the Silk Road initiative Dana Meager, and Chinese Ambassador to Slovakia Lin Lin. The number of such trains should gradually increase and next year their number might be as high as 500.

        “The fact that goods travelling across Asia will be transported via the territory of Slovakia in order to get farther into Europe is a huge success and an excellent commercial opportunity,” said Minister Érsek, endorsing the idea of
Bratislava becoming a key rail freight hub for Europe. “The transport capacities of Slovakia are today far from being fully utilized. I firmly believe that we are only at the beginning of successful cooperation,” he said.


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.”


President Trump’s Asia Trip and The New Paradigm

SCHILLER INSTITUTE ANNOUNCEMENT: HELGA ZEPP LAROUCHE WEEKLY WEBCAST
Thursday, November 16
6 PM CETNoon EST

To say that President Trump’s Asia trip was an historic success may be an understatement!  Though the highlight was his visit to Beijing and meetings with China’s President Xi Jinping, his meetings with other leaders, including his exchanges with President Putin, were productive.  In every event, he made explicit that the days when the U.S. acted as the enforcer of a unipolar empire are over.

Don’t be depressed or confused by the honking of the geese of the old establishment, with their lies and slanders against Trump and those who met with him.  These are only the hysterical squawks of those whose  collapsing world order is in its death throes.  They cannot succeed in stopping the momentum of the new dynamic unleashed in the world.  Let them squawk — we have to do our job, to ensure that they are defeated, and that the New Paradigm fully emerges.

What now?  Where do we go from here? Join Helga Zepp LaRouche on this week’s webcast, as she will provide an update on the strategic significance of Trump’s trip, and outline where we go from here.


If you missed last weeks webcast be sure to watch it.


Zepp-LaRouche Addressed Diplomatic Seminar in Yemen

Nov. 8, 2017

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, President of the Schiller Institute, addressed (through video message) a seminar in the war-defying capital of Yemen on November 7. The seminar, titled “From Sana’a to Beijing: The First Diplomatic Seminar,” was addressed and sponsored by Foreign Minister of Yemen Hisham Sharaf and hosted by The Institute of Diplomacy in Sana’a. The theme of the seminar was China’s Policy Paper on the Arab World, and how Yemen would join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Fouad Al-Ghaffari, Chairman of the Yemeni Advisory Office for Coordination with the BRICS, spoke at the seminar, too, introducing Mrs. LaRouche as the “New Silk Road Lady.” The banner of the event featured a major map of the World Land-Bridge as designed by EIR. Foreign Minister Sharaf reviewed the friendly and productive historical relations with China, including many infrastructure projects that China contributed to modern Yemen in the past decades before the outbreak of the Saudi war on Yemen in 2015. He expressed Yemen’s full readiness to join the Belt and Road Initiative and to protect the Maritime Silk Road at the Bab El-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea. He urged China to play a constructive role in the political solution for the war in Yemen. He also urged China not to take steps that could lead to the further splitting of the country between south and north. Sharaf was referring to the allegations of a recent contract signed between Chinese telecom giant Huawei and the government-in-exile, to build a mobile telephone system in areas in southern Yemen controlled by U.A.E.- and Saudi-backed armed groups.

The Chinese government does not recognize the government in Sana’a, of which Foreign Minister Sharaf is a member, and instead recognizes the government of deposed President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is in exile in Saudi Arabia, who has little or no control of matters in Yemen. China claims that it is following UN Security Council Resolutions. However, the legitimacy of Hadi is questioned inside Yemen, as his term had already expired in September 2014, when the combination of Houthi rebels and forces of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh took power in the capital and put Hadi under house arrest. Hadi is also not popular among the people, because he sanctioned the Saudi campaign of bombardment against his own people, as negotiations where underway to find a political solution between the new and former governments of Yemen. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the China Arab World Policy Paper in January 2016, a few days ahead of the visit by President Xi Jinping to three key nations of the Southwest Asia: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. President Xi expressed during his visit the same points raised by the policy paper, which is the importance of settling the conflicts of the region through a spirit of cooperation and dialogue, and that China is ready to extend the policy of the New Silk Road to the region and help rebuild the economies devastated by wars and conflicts in recent years, and offering cooperation in infrastructure, nuclear power, and agriculture to all the nations of the region.

Yemeni official news agency Saba and other newspapers covered the event. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche’s video statement can be viewed here:


Egypt Positioned for Working with New Silk Road

Nov. 7, 2017 -“Egypt supports the Belt and Road Initiative that
connects China with the world’s continents through massive
networks of land and sea routes,” Ibrahim Mahlab, the Egyptian
President’s assistant for strategic and national projects, told a
forum in Cairo. Describing the China-Egypt ties as “strong,
unique and sustainable,” Mahlab, a former prime minister,
expected the initiative to “restructure the traditional models of
world trade.”

Egyptian and Chinese officials, businessmen, representatives
of financial and economic institutions, as well as a delegation
from the Communist Party of China, attended the Nov. 6 forum,
on “Belt and Road–Together for a Better Future.” The
participants at the forum, co-organized by Sharaf Foundation for
Sustainable Development and the Chinese Embassy in Cairo,
discussed ways to boost China-Egypt economic, trade and cultural
relations, and the available investment opportunities.

“Being a central point between Africa and Asia, Egypt is
also a focal axis of Arab and African trade,” Mahlab said,
highlighting the significance of Egypt’s strategic location for
the Belt and Road Initiative. He noted that Egypt has carried out
massive infrastructure projects over the past three years that
have greatly upgraded the country’s energy supplies and road
networks which could help future investors in the country.

 


China and Russia: “Silk Road on Ice”

Nov. 8, 2017 -Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev was in Beijing for regularly-scheduled meetings with his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang, and he also met with President Xi Jinping. Xi told Medvedev that China and Russia should create a “Silk Road on the Ice,” and fully “integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union.” According to a Xinhua wire, “Xi called on both sides to increase the content of

technological innovation in their cooperation and integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union. China and Russia should cooperate in the development and utilization of the Arctic navigation channels to create a `Silk Road on the Ice,’ Xi said.”

Xinhua’s report adds: “Xi said China is ready to work with Russia to expand cooperation in various fields, maintain close coordination in international affairs and promote the building of a community of shared future… Xi pointed out China and Russia should give full play to the prime ministers’ regular meetings and enhance cooperation on energy, equipment manufacturing, agriculture and aerospace.”

Medvedev, for his part, transmitted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s greetings to Xi, and his congratulations on the recently concluded CPC Congress and Xi’s re-election as the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The Congress, Medvedev said, “carries great significance to both China and the world.”

Medvedev also met with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who noted that “Medvedev is the first foreign leader to visit China after the 19th National Congress of the CPC,” Xinhua reported. “This has shown the closeness and high level of China-Russia ties,” Li stated. He also stated that, as affirmed in the 19th CPC Congress, China will “share development opportunities with countries around the world,” Xinhua reported.


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.


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