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Japan: Cooperation with China in Third Countries

June 19– Japan’s daily {Yomiuri Shimbun} reported that the revised version of the Japanese government policy on “infrastructure exports” promotes cooperation with China for the first time, writing: “The government will pursue cooperation with China over infrastructure development in other countries amid plans to increase support for projects related to the Belt and Road, a massive economic initiative promoted by Beijing.

“Tokyo hopes to further facilitate the ongoing improvement in Japan-China relations as it seeks to increase business opportunities for Japanese companies. It is in the process of
identifying joint projects with China based on such factors as the transparency.

“A revised version of the government’s basic policy on infrastructure exports, which was released earlier this month, referenced promoting cooperation with China for the first time. The inclusion follows an agreement between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in May in which they pledged to set up a joint committee comprised of both public and private sector officials to coordinate economic cooperation in third countries.

“Abe plans to visit China as early as this year and convene a new forum attended by both public and private sector representatives. Through the forum, the government hopes to
discuss the details of joint projects with China. Tokyo hopes to realize reciprocal visits between the leaders of Japan and China after achieving progress through talks.”
The article also quotes some government and ruling Liberal

Democratic Party (LDP) officials nagging against cooperation, pushing the usual arguments against China, e.g. its alleged hegemonism, which the government “sought to fend off.”


Bolivia and China Sign “Strategic Association” Agreement

June 19–During his June 18-19 state visit to China, Bolivian President Evo Morales and his counterpart Xi Jinping elevated bilateral relations to the status of “strategic association,” by which they will deepen cooperation in a variety of sectors as well as coordinate on important international issues and at the United Nations. A special focus of their discussion was on advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and Morales praised China for its efforts to create “a new type of international relations” in this context.

On June 13-14, Morales had a state visit in Russia, during which he and President Vladimir Putin also elevated their bilateral relations to the status of a strategic association. While in Russia, among other things, Morales indicated his interest in allying with the Eurasia Economic Union as well.

In a two-hour meeting June 18 with Xi Jinping, the two leaders signed an 11-point joint declaration detailing the specific areas in which they will expand cooperation — infrastructure, industrialization, finance, trade, manufacturing, science and technology (including aerospace), education and culture among them — and also signed a document committing themselves to jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. Morales expressed the hope that by working together to build the BRI, this will also contribute to expanding cooperation between China and Ibero-America, Xinhua reported.

Xi commented that the BRI “offers a new platform” by which China’s relations with Ibero-America can be strengthened. He also pointed out that both China and Bolivia have ancient
civilizations and should learn from each other to explore the use of “ancestral wisdom” to better deal with today’s problems.
In terms of financing for development, the joint declaration emphasizes Bolivia’s intention to complete its application for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China’s Eximbank will make a credit line available to assist Bolivia in building a command-and-control center for a subregional security system, and the China Development Bank will be helping to finance construction of the Bombeo-Tuneo highway, according to Xinhua.


India-China Cooperation Advances at BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting

June 5 -“Continuing multifaceted engagement between two large economies! [Indian Foreign Minister] Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi met on the sidelines of the BRICS Ministerial Conference. Both leaders discussed ways to maintain the momentum in bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar enthusiastically tweeted yesterday after the two held a bilateral meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa on the sidelines of the meeting among the BRICS Foreign Ministers.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang was also enthusiastic. Xinhua reported that Wang had said in their meeting that “China and India working together will accelerate the common development of
the two countries, benefit the entire world, and contribute to the progress of human civilization…. China and India have extensive common interests, and they have far more consensus than differences,” he emphasized, according to Xinhua. “The two sides should take bilateral relations and people’s fundamental interests as a starting point at all times, properly handle problems and differences, and prevent the interests of one party from affecting the overall interest. China and India should strengthen coordination and play a constructive role in promoting the development of BRICS cooperation, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other multilateral mechanisms.”

Xinhua reported that India’s Swaraj spoke of the “unprecedented success” of the informal meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping at Wuhan at the end of April, as it “enhanced mutual trust between the two countries, strengthened cooperation, [and] made the parties more comfortable with each other.” As the two largest developing countries, “the two sides should further strengthen coordination and cooperation within multilateral mechanisms and contribute to preserving the common interests of developing countries,” she said.

The full BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting demonstrates that the BRICS process, uniting five members countries representing much of humanity–Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa–remains an active force, despite the “regime change” operations run in Brazil and South Africa in hopes of killing it. Brazil’s Foreign Minister did choose to attend the simultaneous Organization of American States General Assembly meeting in Washington, D.C. in order to support the drive to kick Venezuela out of that body, instead of the BRICS, but that government still had to send its Deputy Foreign Minister to represent it.

According to both Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Chinese Foreign Ministry press spokesman, the meeting was “constructive and thorough,” as the ministers agreed the purpose of the BRICS
remains that of building “a brighter shared future for the global community,” as the final communiqué states.


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.


China To Drive Int’l Syria Rebuild

April 30, 2018 – More than 140 factories have restarted
production in Damascus’s Fadlon industrial zone in southern
Syria, and another 100 production facilities are being repaired
now, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported today. The
industrial zone of Fadlon comprises half of the industries of
Damascus. Textile, chemical, clothing, medicine, steel, and
others have rehabilitated their facilities and begun production.
The rehabilitation of water, electricity, sewerage, telephone
lines, and other necessary services have assisted this zone in
going back to work and its factories to produce again.

Xie Xiaoyan, the Chinese government’s Special Envoy on the
Syrian issue, has signalled Beijing’s willingness “to do its
best” to contribute to ordinary Syrians returning to a normal
life. The envoy estimated that at least $260 billion in aid money
is needed to restore the devastated nation, and that this is a
task for the entire international community: “Many people have
died; millions have lost their homes or become refugees, and they
all need humanitarian aid. As a member of the UN Security
Council, China has always paid attention to providing
humanitarian assisstance both to Syrian citizens and refugees in
the form of goods, medicine, food, and money.”

Xie promised that “China is ready to become a driving force
in this process and to involve its companies in the restoration
work in Syria as soon as the security situation improves there.
Apart from China and Russia, the countries of the region should
also take part in the process, because only together will we be
able restore Syria,” Xie said.


Afghanistan Looks to India and China To Build Rail

May 1 -Informed sources in New Delhi have told the Indian daily, {The Statesmen} that senior officials from India and China will meet soon to discuss “the broad contours” of their joint
cooperation on development projects in Afghanistan which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping discussed at their two-day informal summit in Wuhan last week. Afghani Ministry of Economy spokesperson Suhrab Bahman gave an idea of the scope of development that could result on Apirl 29, reporting that one of the joint projects will be the construction of a railroad connecting Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran and China. That exciting potential was reported by Afghan TOLOnews.  Bahman said, in TOLOnews’ report, “that China is interested in giving Afghanistan more share in the ‘Belt and Road’ project connecting China with Central Asia.”

Such joint work will proceed, even though India is not likely to formally endorse the Belt and Road Initiative by name anytime soon, similar stories appearing today in {The Statesman} and {New Indian Express} report.

The {New Indian Express} cited Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou’s statement to reporters after the Wuhan summit, that “when it comes to connectivity, China and India do not have any principled disagreements.” He said that the two leaders “did not talk about the specific wording or expression of the Belt and Road, many things China and India are planning to do are in keeping with what the Belt and Road Initiative stands for.”

Afghanistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China on the BRI in May 2016, while India is already helping build a road and rail network to connect the Iranian port of Chandahar with Afghanistan, and then up north into Central Asia.

The other “connectivity” project where India and China are already cooperating cited by both newspapers is the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor. China considers the BCIM as an important part of the Belt and Road; Indian diplomats emphasize that the project started before the BRI.

The {New Indian Express} asked a senior Indian diplomat if the joint project in Afghanistan implies that India might take a “softer” stance toward the BRI when Modi attends the June Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in China?

“Most unlikely,” the diplomat said. “Given that we have elections next year, any such move would be seen as a climbdown by the electorate. We will continue to oppose the CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor]. But does that mean we can’t join other segments of the BRI if they align with our own interests?”


Successful Culture Event in Dresden, Germany

On April 21st, the Schiller Institute organized a cultural event in Dresden under the title “A Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road,” with 150 attendees.

Lasting peace, stability and shared well-being should, of course, be at the heart of international relations. But this does not start at the negotiating table of politicians, but in all our hearts. And what could not unite the souls and hearts of our peoples better than the idea of ​​truth, freedom and beauty. Cultural contributions, Music and poetry from different countries and cultures established a new standard of optimism among the audience

This event was a proof, that a qualitatively new world order {is} possible; that we, by seeing our own true self reflected in the beauty of other cultures, find that higher “placement,” from which that persisting nightmare of geopolitics can be overcome, once and forever!

This is the greeting from the Chinese Ambassador to Germany which was read to the audience:

Greetings from his Excellency, the Ambassador Shi of China, to the Schiller Institutes’ “Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road”:
I am really pleased with the fact, that the Schiller Institute conducts a cultural dialogue centered around the implications of the New Silk Road. When the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, presented the historical initiative of the “One Belt, One Road,” it was met with broad approval and support by the international community. During the past several years, the New Silk Road attracted a vast attention globally as an economic and infrastructure program. Yet, it is not only an economic corridor, but a road of a cultural exchange as well.

From a historical viewpoint, the New Silk Road began as a commodities trade route, but its significance reaches far beyond trade and became a major corridor for the communication of the
different cultures of the world. Via the Silk Road, the cultural centers of mankind were able to interact with each other through large distances, and by doing so, the great civilizations like
China, India, Arabia, and Europe learned from one another and respected each other. None of these civilizations at the time lost their independence or space for their own development because of the connectivity through the Silk Road, quite the opposite. The mutual learning enabled the countries to absorb additional knowledge and to gain new potency within their own peculiarities.

In the course of worldwide globalization and digitalization, a transcultural and supra-regional exchange and cooperation became ever more important. China wants to deliberate, build, and
profit from the “One Belt, One Road” initiative in a shared manner with all the countries alongside the New Silk Road. Thus, not only the economies of the countries along the road ought to be developed, but also the cultural exchange between China and the other nations. Until the end of 2017, China already signed more than 300 agreements for cultural exchanges with the governments of the countries along the New Silk Road, and implemented plans to that effect. Multilateral cultural cooperation mechanisms within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as among China and countries of eastern Europe, of Arabic nations, and of the ASEAN states, have already been established. This certainly contributed to the aim of bringing the people alongside the New Silk Road closer together.

It is my hope that the participating experts and artists are able to openly and profoundly exchange their views and thoughts within this dialogue, and I wish you all success.


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.


Global Silk Road Forum Will Be Held in Astana in July

April 1 -On July 3-4, 2018, Astana, Kazakhstan, will host the forum “Global Silk Road,” Director of the International Secretariat G-Global Serik Nugerbekov confirmed. “This forum is devoted to the 5th anniversary of the One Belt, One Road initiative and the 20th anniversary of Astana,” he told the round table “Kazakhstan and China in the New Epoch of Interaction” at the Kazakh Embassy in China, Kazinform reported on March 28. He said that the Global Silk Road Forum agenda will include a forum to bring together the mayors of cities along the Silk Road, for further communication and cooperation.

“We thank the scientists of the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation and 30 other countries for the support. We propose to continue the trend of bringing representatives of different fields together for cooperation,” Nugerbekov said, {Global Times} reported today.

There is also a proposal that the Silk Road Science Academy created in Kazakhstan will seek to unite experts of the Silk Road countries engaged in various fields.


Now Amsterdam is Connected by Rail to China’s East Coast

Mar 8 – On March 7, a block train departed from the Port
of Amsterdam on its 11,000-kilometer journey to Yiwu on China’s
east coast. It will travel through through Germany, Poland,
Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, and will reach its destination on
March 23, Rail Freight.com reported today. Thanks to this new
train connection, the Netherlands is now connected to the One
Belt, One Road project.

“We are proud to add Amsterdam to our Chinese railway
network, in addition to our existing connections between China,
Russia and Germany. Amsterdam is the largest European port after
Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, which makes it an important hub.
The new connection will make it even easier for operators,
retailers and brand manufacturers in the Netherlands to do
business with and from China,” Erwin Cootjans, CEO of Nunner
Logistics told Rail Freight.com. The Belt and Road’s
international cross-border rail network has so far connected 35
Chinese cities with 34 European destinations over the past six
years.
“The new train connection is an initiative of Nunner
Logistics. This logistics service provider noticed the increasing
demand for goods transportation from and to China. The need for
this new kind of transportation increases now that cargo ships
sail slower in order to save fuel. Transport by train is a faster
alternative compared to sea transportation, and the costs are
much lower compared to transport by airplane,” wrote Netherland’s
Hong Kong Business Association in its website.


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