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Thread: China's Emergence as a Superpower (2015 onwards)

  1. #101
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Who will win: Africa or China? What will African people gain?

    I discovered this commentary on the recent Beijing Sino-African meeting by a SME on China; slightly edited:
    How should we understand the triannual Africa-China summit, which just concluded in Beijing? With 53 out of 54 countries in Africa represented and singing the praises of the host, China unquestionably deems it a success. It was a “win” too for leaders of African countries who attended. But what do average citizens of the African countries get out of it? Are we seeing a “new version of colonialism” being put in place? President Xi Jinping hails the summit as a success in partnering with Africa to build up “a community of shared destiny.” He committed $60 billion to assist Africa or, in reality, to support the implementation of his flagship “Belt and Road” initiative in Africa. If every country in Africa were to receive an equal share, this amounts to just over $1 billion each. But the funding will not be evenly distributed. Some will benefit more than others.
    Among the commitments for the $60 billion China has earmarked are $15 billion for grants and no cost or low-cost loans; $10 billion for a special Sino-African fund; and $5 billion for supporting African exports to China. There are, however, no details.
    Xi has given no indication that Beijing will abandon its centralized approach in dishing out funds for the Belt and Road initiative. This implies that the bulk of the funding will remain tightly controlled and mostly used to finance major infrastructural projects, as before.
    But there is one notable change, in the allocation of $5 billion to support African exports to China. True, it is only 8 percent of the total, and that ratio reflects Beijing’s priorities as regards assistance to African countries to build sustainable economic capacities, such as often has been the focus of Western and Japanese development funding. But it is a step in the right direction. It appears to be a response to clamours from ordinary Africans for assistance to promote manufacturing so that jobs will be created for them.
    Citizens of most African countries benefit little from shiny new infrastructural facilities that they cannot afford to use. What they need most are jobs and opportunities. Investments in manufacturing, where Africans are employed, are what will make a difference to ordinary folks, not grandiose projects undertaken by Chinese contractors who often employ Chinese workers on foreign worksites.
    Yet, what remains to be seen is how this $5 billion will be used to create and sustain manufacturing jobs in African countries. Again, no road map was unveiled. This is a pity as there is tremendous scope for China to relocate labour-intensive low-cost manufacturing to African countries as rising labour costs make them uncompetitive in China. Since such industries are mostly small and medium-sized private enterprises, they will not relocate to Africa and create jobs for Africans just because Xi has set aside this fund. Indeed, the promises of funds do not always become reality.
    Is Xi’s effort, limited as it is a response to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s recent articulation in Beijing of concern over “a new version of colonialism”? Mahathir’s reference was effective political rhetoric that enabled his country to back out of a number of unaffordable and non-essential grand projects that had the potential of creating another instance of the China “debt-trap” that has already ensnared a number of African and South Asian nations. That said, as an analytical concept it is not particularly useful. There is not one simple agreed definition of what colonialism means, let alone a “new version of colonialism.” The concept can easily be dismissed by Chinese leaders who claim that since China is a member of the global South, it is by definition not colonialist or imperialist.
    This notwithstanding, Chinese leaders should not forget that action speaks louder than words. China does not need to deploy significant troops to any African country for it to be seen as behaving like a colonial power. Most African countries have a colonial past and they know what a “colonial relationship” looks like.
    Historically, flag followed trade and informal empire often preceded the creation of a formal imperial relationship. British imperialists of the Victorian era did not have a blueprint for imperial conquest, so the lack of one in Beijing means little. The British Empire was created in a fit of absence of mind, when expanding British economic interests made it irresistible for the British Crown to protect British interests and incrementally assert imperial control. The British Empire also exemplified the most cost-effective imperial expansion. It mostly avoided expansive conquest and relied instead on working with local leaders – a “win-win” of an earlier age.
    Whether China under Xi Jinping will follow the path of British imperialists of the past only time will tell. But citizens of African countries who witness rapid expansion of Chinese economic interests will not wait to draw their own conclusions. If Beijing works with them for their benefit, rather than for that of their leaders, they are likely to welcome China as a partner. So if Beijing is serious about making its partnership with Africa a genuine “win-win,” it will have to focus on projects that will benefit ordinary people in African countries, not just their national leaders and Beijing itself. This will be the acid test, but again, there are so far scant details of Beijing’s intentions.
    Somewhere I have a UK commentary too, behind a paywall and will try to summarize that - it is now a few weeks old being published when Mrs may was on her three stop African tour.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-19-2018 at 03:56 PM. Reason: 94,353v today
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  2. #102
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    Default Kaiser Xi Jinping

    In the latest print version (SEP/OCT 2018) of "The National Interest" there is an interesting article titled Kaiser Xi Jinping. The author, John Mauer, is a professor at the Navy War College. He makes a compelling argument that Xi is heading down the same path as Kaiser Wilhelm II. In short, Xi is leading his country to ruin by engaging in an arm's race to deter potential competitors from interfering with his desire to become a global power if he continues to follow Wilhem's strategic logic. There is another relevant parallel to WWI not addressed in the article, but relevant to today. Prior to WWI, many argued that war in Europe was impossible due to the economic entanglement or interdependence between nations. We hear a similar argument today regarding China. History defied that argument previously, and I suspect it will do so again in the future.

    Mauer's article explains that Kaiser built a fleet of battleships to expand Germany influence globally and as a national symbol of power to rally the German people around, in hopes of delaying or preventing the emergent social unrest in Germany. Wilhem's strategic aim was to break Britain's grip on the world in favor of Germany, in short a new international order. The Kaiser recognized that only a rich country could afford a fleet, so Germany should become rich. The parallel's to today's China's strategic views are obvious.

    Xi may want to rethink his strategic approach as Wilhem's strategic judgment proved to be deeply flawed. He assumed Britain would back down without fighting. Instead, Britain actually started to rapidly expand its military and rebalance its focus from its frontiers to Europe to counter a rising Germany. The Kaiser calculated the only way to win was to decisively strike first. This of course failed, and the tragic results for the world to include the ruin of Germany are well known.

    Maurer offers two ironic twists to this story that are worth mentioning. First, the Germany Navy mutinied toward the end of war when ordered to conduct a suicide mission again Britain's impressive A2/AD defenses along its first island chain. This mutiny trigger a social upheaval within Germany resulting in the ouster of the Kaiser. In the end, the great German fleet intended to rally the people to the nationalist cause was the catalyst for the uprising that ended the Kaiser's rule. The other irony, was that Germany's escalation of the war at sea, especially the U-boat attacks, brought America into the war as a decisive force. Maurer's closing point was that America, the emerging new global power, went to Europe to protect the old world order.

    Mauer has a similar article at the following link, it isn't quite identical but it is very close.

    https://nationalinterest.org/feature...mistakes-29667

  3. #103
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Nice move - benign soft force projection with a non-warship naval vessel.

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese naval ship has traveled to Venezuela for the first time, following a visit by President Nicolas Maduro to Beijing this month, where he had been looking to gain China’s support for the Latin American nation’s struggling economy.The naval medical ship, known as the “Peace Ark”, arrived on Saturday at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira for an eight-day period of “friendly visits” to the country, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKCN1M3061
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  4. #104
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    Lahore, Pakistan (Reuters) - Islamabad has cut the size of the biggest Chinese “Silk Road” project in Pakistan by $2 billion, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed said on Monday, citing government concerns about the country’s debt levels. The megaproject to revamp the colonial-era line stretching 1,872 km (1,163 miles) from Karachi to the northwestern city of Peshawar was initially priced at $8.2 billion, but wrangling over costs has led to delays.
    https://in.reuters.com/article/pakis...KCN1MB30O?il=0
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  5. #105
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    China says its economy is slowing. Its central bank may be preparing to intervene
    China's central bank is likely to cut reserve requirement ratios for banks one more time this year, said Jeff Ng, chief economist for Asia at Continuum Economics.
    Over the weekend, a private survey showed growth in China's factory sector stalled after 15 months of expansion, with export orders falling the fastest in over two years.
    An official survey also confirmed a further weakening in the manufacturing sector.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/01/beij...economist.html
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  6. #106
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    China has reached a major deal to send military drones to Pakistan just days after Russia and India signed a multibillion-dollar arms sale in a display of defiance to the United States.

    The Pakistani air force's Sherdils Aerobatic Team first announced Sunday via social media that the state-run Pakistan Aeronautical Complex company and China's own government-owned Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group would "jointly produce 48 Wing Loong II UCAV," an unmanned combat aerial vehicle in service with the People's Liberation Army Air Force. The deal was carried Monday by The Global Times, the official organ of the ruling Communist Party of China.

    The newspaper cited oft-quoted Chinese military analyst Song Zhongping as saying that, if confirmed, the deal would prove to be China's largest drone export yet. The story was then featured on China Military Online, the official online portal of the Chinese armed forces.

    The Wing Loong II UCAV is a reconnaissance and strike multirole endurance drone that conducted its maiden flight in February 2017, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The article reported at the time that the Wing Loong II had been bought as part of China's largest overseas drone contract even prior to its debut flight, but did not specify which country had purchased it.
    https://www.newsweek.com/china-makes...russia-1160587
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  7. #107
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    Default James Mann And His Prescient Book “The China Fantasy”

    This article on Sinocism an online subscription newsletter by a Sinologist, Bill Bishop, and is an updated commentary on a 2007 book 'The China Fantasy' by James Mann.

    It opens with:
    a short book arguing that Western elites misrepresented the benefits of engagement with China and that prosperity and capitalism might not, as they claimed, eventually bring democracy to the PRC......I have come to believe that this is the most important and prescient American book on China of the 21st century. I urge you to read it.
    Link:https://sinocism.com/james-mann-and-...china-fantasy/

    Link to Bill Bishop's slim bio:https://nb.sinocism.com/subscribe#about

    I have not heard of this book, nor either author and for once some of the comments on the newsletter commentary are interesting, sadly several are duplicated.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:39 PM. Reason: 97,793v today
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  8. #108
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    A LITTLE NOTICED organizational change in China's maritime patrols is causing increasing anxiety among Western military officials and their allies in the region, who fear Beijing is seeking new leverage to advance its goals and raising the likelihood that an accidental encounter could escalate into conflict.

    The U.S. confirmed earlier this year that China has reorganized its coast guard to serve as a military branch rather than answer to law enforcement authorities. Militarizing the formerly civilian organization provides China with the firepower to harass and intimidate vessels from other countries who dispute China's claims to waterways. The change, which Beijing denies, signals not only that China wishes to further its ambitions for its neighborhood, including seizing contested disputed territory and access to natural resources in East and South China seas but that it is becoming a more potent foe internationally.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/world/ar...rs-of-conflict
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  9. #109
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    PLA Senior Colonel Ma Jun, for example, leans heavily on this interpretation of deception, charging that “War is precisely war. War is precisely a fight to the death (literally: ‘you die and I live’). It is not possible in this domain to pay attention to morality.” 2 Ma notes, however, that such deception is to be used only against adversaries and never against one’s friends and colleagues. 3 While it is unlikely that a casual reader of the Sun Tzu would derive such insights from these writings, knowing how the Chinese military interprets these texts is key to understanding their rationale for operations.
    https://www.usni.org/magazines/proce...hinese-way-war
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  10. #110
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    Default How China is quietly weaponizing overseas tourism

    A twist to power politics:
    The reason China is able to use tourists as a political bargaining chip is that, since the turn of the millennium, the number of overseas trips made by Chinese tourists has boomed from 10.5m to 145m – an increase of 1,380 per cent. This makes China the world’s most powerful outbound market, leapfrogging the US, spending over $300bn overseas per year.
    Examples are cited: Palau Islands, Turkey, Japan and South Korea.
    Link:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/c...ourism-palau/?

    Not that such a travel / tourism ban is new; more the scale and having obedient tourists to command. Boycotting the Moscow Olympics in 1980 after the Afghan invasion comes to mind. I am sure there are others, such as 'travel advisory' notices after terrorist attacks, e.g. Sinai that stopped most UK tourists travelling there.
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  11. #111
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    "Why?'
    Others have explored the far side of the moon from afar, but Chinese researchers are hoping a soft landing on the dark side of the lunar surface will allow for more detailed study.
    https://www.npr.org/2018/12/08/67500...ide-of-the-moo
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  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    How China is quietly weaponizing overseas tourism.
    Considering their reputation in Paris, Beijing should be cited for violation of a slew of biological warfare treaties
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  13. #113
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    *Indicator* of stress fractures.

    The number of asylum claims made by Chinese nationals in Australia rose by 311% between 2017 and 2018, according to recent government figures, coming amid tighter restrictions on migration visas and an uptick in the numbers of Chinese international students and tourists in the country
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/11/asia/...ntl/index.html
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