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GBTimes Interviews Helga Zepp-LaRouche on China’s New Silk Road and Europe

Feb. 16 – GBTimes is a multimedia news site, based in Finland where it was founded by Chinese entrepreneur Zhao Yinong, and which refers to itself as a “bridge between China and the rest of the world.” It published the following interview with Helga Zepp-LaRouche on Feb. 16:

China’s ambitious plan to link itself with Europe and Africa through new Silk Road trade routes has so far received a mixed welcome in Europe. The Belt and Road initiative, the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, proposes to boost trade and economic integration across Eurasia through over $1 trillion worth of investments in railways, ports, power plants and other infrastructure links. The initiative has been officially endorsed by Central and Eastern European countries, many of which are hoping that Chinese investment could create jobs and improve infrastructure.

But Western European countries have been more cautious, with British Prime Minister Theresa May declining to sign up to the initiative during her recent trip to Beijing and French President Emmanuel Macron warning during his trip to China that the New Silk Road cannot be “one-way.” There are also concerns in Brussels about a lack of reciprocity in trade with China and increasing Chinese investment in critical infrastructure in Europe.

The German-based Schiller Institute, however, has for the past several years been campaigning for the Belt and Road initiative in Europe by organizing hundreds of conferences on the topic. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the institute’s founder and president, talked to gbtimes.com about the initiative and why she believes Europe should embrace it.

Q: What is the Schiller Institute?

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: The Schiller Institute was founded in 1984 as a think tank, with the main idea behind it being that peace and order in the world would only function if each nation would relate to the best cultural tradition of the others and vice versa. One of the focuses was to fight for a just new world economic order, something like in the tradition of the Nonaligned Movement, especially inspired by the ideas of my husband, Mr. Lyndon LaRouche, and secondly to fight for a renaissance of classical culture. I gave it the name of [German philosopher] Friedrich Schiller because his image of man was the most noble and beautiful one and I thought such a conception was urgently needed in the political realm.

Q: How did you first get to know China?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I went to China for the first time in 1971 on a cargo ship, which was repaired in Shanghai. So, I had plenty of occasions to visit many factories, children’s palaces, and the countryside. I also went to Shenzhen, Qingdao and Beijing, and that left a very lasting impression on me because this was in the middle of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and China was very much different then. But it started a deep interest on my side in Chinese philosophy and culture. And then I was also inspired by the changes which took place in China after the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, and I visited China many times in the 1990s and the 2000s, and especially after Xi Jinping announced the new Silk Road. And I could see the dramatic changes and the economic miracle which China has undergone. I feel very privileged that I have sort of personally witnessed the unbelievable transformation of China over almost 50 years.

Q: You mentioned President Xi Jinping who proposed the Belt and Road initiative in 2013. The Schiller Institute has been very supportive of this initiative. Why is this?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: First, the Belt and Road initiative is presently the most important strategic initiative on the planet because it proposes what Xi Jinping calls a community for shared future of humanity. The idea of one humanity is a perfect conception for overcoming geopolitics, which was the reason for two world wars and, in the age of nuclear weapons, can lead to a terrible catastrophe just as big. If you look at the incredible progress this initiative has made in the five years since it was announced, you already see a tremendous transformation where the developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, for the first time, have legitimate hope to overcome poverty and under-development. It just happens that the Belt and Road initiative is very much in accordance with proposals my husband and myself have made during the last decades. After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991 we proposed something that we called the Eurasian land bridge, which was the idea to connect the Eurasian peoples and industries through development corridors. The Chinese government picked up on the proposal to organize an international conference in Beijing in 1996, in which I participated as speaker. Already at that point China considered the development of the Eurasian land bridge a strategic initiative, but this was put on hold due to the Asian financial crisis of 1997. We were then extremely happy when Xi Jinping announced this policy in 2013 — with China’s economic power all these plans can now be realized. Why do you think the Chinese are interested in this idea of bridging the Eurasian continent? China has developed its own economic model of lifting its population out of poverty and it also wants to contribute to eliminating poverty on the world scale. I think that is a very different approach to many other countries. There are now only 30 million poor people left in China. In comparison, there are 90 million poor people in the European Union and more than 50 million people who are officially poor in the United States, but no clear plans to eliminate poverty in totality. So, you are saying China is currently the only major country that has a global vision? Yes. I participated in the Belt and Road forum in Beijing last year and everyone who participated in this conference had a distinct impression that we were witnessing the beginning of a new era of mankind. At the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi promoted the goal of having a fully developed, modern, culturally advanced, happy country by 2050 — not only happiness for the Chinese people, but for all the people in the world. Normally politicians in the West think at best until the next election, and I have not heard from any Western leader a plan on how to uplift the entire human species in the next 30, 40, 50 years. The idea to create happiness for the people as a policy goal was last heard during the American revolution when it was set in the American Declaration of Independence that it is a fundamental right to have life, freedom and happiness. This is a notion coming from Latin [sic — she said Leibniz] and it means the ability of people to develop their full potential. I have seen in China on many occasions that people really think that way. They have the idea that there is no limit to their ability to self-perfect to improve society and relations between nations, and it’s a completely different spirit to what you find anywhere in the West.
Q: All Central and Eastern European countries have officially joined the Belt and Road Initiative, but many Western countries including the U.K., France and Germany have been more cautious about it. Why do you think this is the case? ZEPP-LAROUCHE: When certain politicians in these countries say they want to insist on standards and rules, and that they don’t want the spreading of Chinese investment in Europe, I think it’s a question of geopolitical control. The EU for example could have developed Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, but they didn’t. When China then comes and starts to build the kind of infrastructure that the EU did not build, these countries are happy and want to go with the new Silk Road. And that causes some people who believe in geopolitics to see it as a threat. The present Western system is based not on the common good as a primary orientation, but on monetarist profit-making. This system benefits those who speculate and those who run the banking system. But it leads to such things like the 2008 financial crisis, which was a systemic crisis, and nothing has been done since other than quantitative easing and pumping money.

Q: But do you think China itself has overcome geopolitics?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I know that that is not the view of many politicians in the West, but I think assumptions about China are just people’s projections of what they themselves think. I am not a naive person — I have studied this in depth and looked at it closely — and I do think that China does not plan to dominate the world with its system. The Chinese model is more attractive, and many countries want to repeat what it has been doing, but I don’t think China wants to impose its values. My explanation for this is China’s Confucian tradition. For example, Christians are supposed to win other people over to Christianity, but Confucianism does not do that. Confucianism is perfectly happy to live in coexistence. And if you look at the entire history of China, you never had religious war. You had Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Christianity all living in a perfect ecumenical harmony. So, I think in Chinese history, you don’t find anything which would give credibility to the claim that China is not doing what they say. I think they are doing exactly what they say they are doing and they mean it.

Q: What would it mean for Western European countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: It would mean that there would be a shift towards the real economy. Right now, you have this money-makes-money philosophy, but if you look at even an advanced country like Germany, there’s a tremendous backlog in infrastructure. There are warnings by some of the logistic organizations that Germany is about to lose its standard as a location for industrial development because of the collapse of the infrastructure. So, if European countries would join the new Silk Road it would mean that they could basically renew their infrastructure like China has done, and to build fast trains among all major cities. With the policy of the Troika [European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund], the industries and the economies of the Southern European countries were destroyed. Now you see that with the advantages that come from Chinese investment in the Piraeus port and other projects in Greece, it’s going upwards. And with the EU, it went downwards. The same is true for Italy, Spain and Portugal. Europe could also participate with China in the reconstruction of Southwest Asia, of Syria, of Iraq, because you must bring economic development to these countries if terrorism is supposed to be eliminated. You have to give young people a future which they don’t have right now. It would mean you could solve the refugee problem in a human way.

Q: But do you think that some Europeans might be cautious about the growing Chinese influence because they think they might have to someday accept the same kind of restrictions on freedoms that China has at home?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Yes, but if people are worried that they may lose some of their hedonistic impulses — well, that might not be altogether such a bad thing. Because what we are seeing right now is a decadent society with all the violence, pornography and drug addiction. You have an opium epidemic in the United States, which is contributing to the fact that life expectancy is going down for the first time. If there is any parameter for the functioning of an economy, it is the life expectancy. If an economy is doing well, it’s increasing and obviously it’s an indicator that there is something fundamentally wrong if it’s going down because of suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction. On the other hand, there was just a poll made in Germany among 42 firms which were taken over by Chinese investors. In all cases, the management and the employees said that it was a positive thing that the Chinese took over, instead of speculators or hedge funds. I think some of these changes that come with more Chinese investment and influence would be beneficial. I would even go so far to agree with Leibniz, who said already in the 17th century that because of the superior morality of the Chinese, one should import Chinese missionaries to teach morality to the Europeans.

Q: So, you are optimistic that the acceptance of the Belt and Road initiative is growing in Europe eventually?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: We have found that all people who do business in China or who have travelled to China or who are married with a Chinese person, are all positive, and they know that what China is doing is a historic transformation of humanity. The Belt and Road initiative is not just about economics; it’s not just about infrastructure from A to B, but it is really a new paradigm. And what I mean by new paradigm is a new way of understanding what is the role of humanity. We are the only creative species who can invent new technologies and sciences and change the mode of our existence. It’s not the nature of man to be greedy, to chase for stock market gains and try to exploit and dominate others. It’s the nature of man to develop our own potential to the fullest so that we can contribute to the development of the human species. And the new paradigm will be that more and more people, as time goes by, will be able to realize their true potential as human beings.

https://gbtimes.com/interview-with-helga-zepp-larouche-on-chinas-new-silk-road-and-europe


Possible Reestablishment of Vatican-China Relations

Vatican Bishops’ Praise of China Foreshadows Possible Reestablishment of Vatican-China Relations

Feb. 9, 2018 –The statements by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who, speaking to {Vatican Insider} after a visit to China, characterized the country as extraordinary, raised some hackles from anti-China circles in the Catholic Church. “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs,” Sanchez Sorondo had said after visiting China. “Instead there is a positive national consciousness.” “Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” he said.

While he praised China for upholding the Paris climate agreements, he also obviously, during the course of his visit to China, received more of an insight into what China is doing to advance the lives of their people. Sanchez Sorondo’s visit to China was part of an ongoing round of diplomacy between the Vatican and China, which is aimed at resolving the key issue of the appointment of Catholic bishops, a major point of dispute between the Vatican and China. Sanchez Sorondo’s statements has been heavily criticized by some conservative Catholic circles, including Hong Kong’s retired cardinal, Joseph Zen. But it is strongly supported by Pope Francis, who would like the Vatican to assume full legal responsibility for China’s estimated 13 million Catholics. Zen has also said that if the Pope comes to some arrangement with the Chinese government, he will also fall in step with the arrangement.

The diplomatic activity of Pope Francis has been receiving regular coverage in the Chinese press, including the more conservative {Global Times}, to whom Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo had also spoken. Just recently Pope Francis made the unusual decision to retire two bishops in China who had not previously received the approval of the Chinese government, which has also raised an outcry by church conservatives, covered extensively in Breitbart News. The Breitbart coverage was attacked today in a {Global Times} editorial by Ai Jun, who called Sanchez Sorondo’s statements “the perspective of an authoritative religious figure” which were helpful “in contradicting misunderstandings of China.” “The overwhelming majority of Catholics in China have full access to freedom of religion while abiding by Catholic doctrine and China’s rule of law,” Ai Jun writes. “Chinese Catholics are no different from Catholics in other countries simply because they live in a socialist nation, which reflects the fact that the Chinese government respects their religious freedom and provides them with enough room for religious activities.” Most of the Catholic bishops now in China have been accepted by the Chinese government and the Vatican, but there are still many exceptions in the “underground church”.

Negotiations are ongoing as to the procedure of the appointment of bishops. But a resolution of the issue could lead to the re-establishment of relations between Beijing and Rome which have been broken for the last 70 years.


China Is Preparing for Manned Missions to the Moon

Jan. 27 -In 1971, the Apollo 15 crew left a retro-reflector on the Moon. It is a passive instrument, and just reflects laser pulses from Earth back to Earth. The time–very precisely measured–of he return pulse, indicates the distance between Earth and its nearest neighbor. In all, three reflectors were left on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions, and one by the Soviet Lunokhod 2 over. They are still used by scientists for research in astrodynamics, Earth-Moon system dynamics (the Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth), and lunar physics. The technique is called Lunar aser Ranging (LLR), and now Chinese scientists are using the Apollo 15 reflector for LLR experiments, in preparation for their future missions to land astronauts on the Moon.

On Jan. 22, Xinhua reported yesterday, an applied astronomy group at the Yunnan Observatories in Kunming carried out China’s first Lunar Laser Ranging experiment, to obtain precise measurments of he distance between the Earth and the Moon.

While it was an interesting scientific experiment, the technique also has important practical applications. Landing an unmanned vehicle on the Moon requires using detailed orbital photographs to define a safe and interesting general landing region, where the engineers aim the lander. For a robotic spacecraft, the landing ellipse can be a relatively wide area to aim for. But or a manned mission, a more precise targetting is preferable. China can now use the laser ranging technique for its manned lunar program.

Until now, only the U.S., France, and Italy have successfully deployed laser ranging technology. It is reported that on a future mission, China will place its own retro-reflector on the Moon.

Chinese scientists are also studying the human factor itself, and technology to support crew on the Moon. Chinese student volunteers have just completed 200 days in Beihang University’s “Lunar Palace.” The two men and two women are biomedicine students and are the second group to work in the simulated space lab. A main capability needed to live off Earth is regenerative life-support ystems, where waste is recycled, and in the advanced phase, virtaully no materials have to be suppplied from the outside. The “mission” also entailed study of the social interactions and sychological condtion of the crew.

Chief designer Liu Hong said that her team would apply to have a mini-life support system on a lunar or Martian probe, with another system as a ground control. NASA and its partners have used the International Space Station to test closed-cycle life support systems, and the station itself recycles various waste products to reduce the amount of material that has to be delivered from the ground.


Major Breakthrough in China-Japan-South Korea Relations

Jan. 28 -The two-day visit to Beijing by Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono has brought several major developments to the urgent task of uniting the three Asian powers around the concept of peace through development.

At the end of the visit Sunday evening, China and Japan jointly announced that the annual summits among the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean leaders would be revived “as soon as possible,” after having been cancelled since 2015, supposedly over terrritorial issues in the East China Sea. Premier Li Keqiang will represent China at the summit.

In addition, Norio Maruyama, a spokesman for the Japanese delegation, said the summit could set the stage for reciprocal visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping — a trip neither leader has made since coming to power in 2012, as Bloomberg pointed out. “What we are envisaging is a visit to China by Prime Minister Abe and after that a visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping,” Maruyama said.

Kono met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Premier Li Keqiang, and State Councillor Yang Jiechi. Xinhua reports that the talks were frank, with Li stating that Japan needed to “properly handle sensitive issues related to history and differences between the two sides,” while Wang Yi said: “At present, China-Japan relations are at a crucial stage. There is positive progress, but many disturbances and obstacles remain.”

Kono’s visit came on the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

China’s strained relations with South Korea were lessened with China’s agreement to allow their opposition to the THAAD missile issue to be put aside in order to work together on other issues. The Japan-China relationship has been greatly improved by Prime Minister Abe’s announcement last year that Japan will co-finance projects with China in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Kono said the government was ready to cement political trust and concrete cooperation with China, enhance high-level exchanges and contacts among various levels to promote the full improvement of ties.” Most importantly, the press release by Kono and Wang Yi addressed the East China Sea dispute:  “China and Japan should work together to build the East China Sea into the sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.”

Equally important, in light of the militarist statements coming from the U.S. institutions calling Russia and China “adversaries” and “threats,” Wang Yi asked both sides to build political trust, and urged Japan to treat China as a “partner” instead of “rival,” and view China’s development as an “opportunity rather than a threat.”


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.

 


Pakistan PM Abbasi — BRI More Than Infrastructure

Pakistani Prime Minster Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) Wednesday, praised the quality and scope of the BRI.

“We strongly recognize the vision of China and President Xi Jinping…. We believe the Belt and Road Initiative is perfectly in sync with the WEF theme of creating `shared future in a fractured world.’ It is much more than just a partnership on infrastructure and it will cause significant improvement in lives of people from different countries.” He said half of humanity lives in the region of the Silk Road. He said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has started to show results in Pakistan with a major increase in manufacturing and exports. “The key principles are financial stability and lessening of environmental impact and Pakistan being a more responsible global citizen,”


The U.S. Must Join China’s Belt and Road In Developing The Caribbean and Central America

 

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche made the following comments on Jan. 16, 2018.

Concerning the controversies around what President Trump did or did not say, we absolutely have to remain on the high ground, which means emphasizing Lyndon LaRouche’s “Four Laws” and that the United States must join the New Silk Road. 

Now, what that actually means is that it should be obvious to anybody that you cannot solve the problem of immigrants in the United States, or the drug epidemic, without bringing development to the Central American and Caribbean countries in particular. There are many places which are not “shitholes,” but they are hellholes.  For example, according to the FAO the level of chronic undernourishment, ie hunger, in Sub-Saharan Africa is 22.7% of the total population, which is the worst in the world. The second worst region is the Caribbean, where it averages 17.7%. But in Haiti}, an absolutely unbelievable 47% of people have permanent hunger, and 80% are living in poverty. And the whole Caribbean is very far from being a luxury cruise paradise: for the people living there, it’s a complete hellhole, as is most of Central America. [See Figures 1 and 2, which compare select physical-economic parameters of Haiti and El Salvador with Spain.]

Figure 2

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

The only way you can address that is, obviously, what China is already actively doing with their Belt and Road Initiative, for example in Panama, where they are now building a high-speed railroad from Panama City to the border with Costa Rica.  And China is also the only country which is seriously helping Haiti, announcing a $5 billion plan to rebuild Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti.

So this requires the whole Belt and Road Initiative, not just one project or two. China has proposed on the highest level for Spain and Portugal to be bridges for the Belt and Road to Ibero-America and the Caribbean, and both Iberian governments have already agreed that they do not just want to be the western end of the New Silk Road, but they want to actively be the bridge to the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking nations in Ibero-America and also in Africa.

We are working right now on writing up this whole question of extending the New Silk Road into all the Americas, as part of our updated global study on “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge:” to build a high-speed railroad from the southern tip of Ibero-America, Chile and Argentina, all the way through the Darién Gap and the Bering Strait, connecting with the Eurasian infrastructure program (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3

Now, one of the big problems there, is a geopolitical leftover that a number of Central American and Caribbean countries still have diplomatic ties with Taiwan and not with the People’s Republic of China. Panama recently switched that and agreed to support the One China policy, and obviously this is a big concern for the Chinese, who are constantly confronted with efforts to not recognize the One China policy. As a matter of fact, they recently complained that Marriott Hotel and other firms are talking about Macau and Hong Kong and Tibet as “other countries,” as if they would not belong to China.  So this is a question of accepting the sovereignty of China, which obviously has a lot to do with how they respond.

The situation is economically so severe that you cannot just try to build up from below, but you have to leapfrog and get the productivity level of this whole region up by orders of magnitude. There are obvious angles. For example, you have in French Guiana, which is actually not a sovereign country but a colonialist department of France to the present day, the European Space Agency’s launch site in Kourou, which is very close to the Equator. But then you also have the Brazilian Space Agency’s launch site, in a place called Alcantara, which is even closer to the Equator. These situations are not without problems, but they already represent a very important scientific capacity, and that could be made into a regional project, a science-driver for the entire Caribbean Basin region (see Fig. 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4

Then you have the expanded Panama Canal, the planned Nicaragua Canal, and, as Lyndon LaRouche has often stressed, if you build all of these canals, including the Kra Canal in Thailand, you are really talking about a single world ocean, which would eliminate many of the geopolitical chokepoints of the British.

So we have to really push this, that the United States must join the New Silk Road. This would include building major projects in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, including in Ponce on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, which could become a major port and shipping point for the Maritime Silk Road. Building a deep-water port there would open the whole transport corridors into the Gulf and East coasts of the United States. Connected with that, the Maritime Silk Road would do something similar in Mariel, Cuba, where there is also the plan to build a deep-water port. And since this is very close to the United States, it should all really be integrated into one big project.


China Releases New Poverty Statistics: 30 Million Remain To Be Lifted Out of Poverty

The total number of Chinese still living in poverty was 30 million at the end of 2017, according to official statements made on Jan. 5 by the Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, Liu Yongfu. Xinhua reported that Liu explained that this means there was a two-thirds reduction of the number of poor over the last five years, since in 2012 there were 98.99 million poor. Since the official number repeatedly used by Chinese officials for 2016 was 43 million poor, this means that 13 million or so were lifted out of poverty in 2017 alone.

Liu added that “to lift the remaining 30 percent of poor people out of poverty will be the toughest”–a point that President Xi Jinping has repeatedly made. Liu stated that the work will now shift to targeted and precise measures: “We will work to foster local industries, create new jobs, relocate residents in poor areas and strengthen aid to the aged, the disabled and people seriously ill.”

Receiving special attention will be some 30,000 villages where more than 20% of the population is poor. “We will step up support, partly by sending more central and provincial cadres to those villages who will work there for normally two years,” said Xia Gengsheng, another official of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

Vice Premier Wang Yang said at another meeting last week that 2018 will be a key year for the battle against poverty.

The eyes of the entire world are on China in this historic battle against poverty, not just over the stunning specific results already achieved, but as a proof of principle of an underlying optimism: yes, it {can} be done. If in China, why not everywhere?


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.


Ethiopia-Djibouti Railroad Officially Opens

Jan. 2 – The Ethiopia-Djibouti railroad officially began commercial operations yesterday. Built by the China Rail Engineering Corporation (CREC) and China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. (CCECC) with a $4 billion investment, the 750 km electrified rail line connects landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti and is seen as a crucial contribution to the development of both nations, promoting their economic integration as well, Xinhua reported.During yesterday’s inaugural ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s Transport Minister Ahmed Shide hailed the project as a milestone of China-Africa cooperation. It will have major positive impact on the efforts to build a new Ethiopia, he proudly stated.

China’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian emphasized that the project would contribute to the industrialization and diversification of Ethiopia’s economy. “This is the first trans-border and longest electrified railway on the African continent,” he said. “We, the Chinese, see this an early beneficial product of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is regarded by many as a lifeline project … for Ethiopia and for Djibouti. And we see this as a railway of development; as a railway of cooperation, and as a railway of friendship.”

Djibouti’s Ambassador Mohamed Idriss Farah said that the rail line “is an important corridor … we are working for economic integration between our two countries.”


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