CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:31 pm

China's New Silk Road - How China Is Transforming the World

[ http://www.alternet.org/how-china-trans ... 28782&t=10 ]

TomDispatch / By Pepe Escobar

November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

You may not have the faintest idea where Yiwu is, but businessmen plying their trades across Eurasia, especially from the Arab world, are already hooked on the city “ where amazing happens!” We're talking about the largest wholesale center for small-sized consumer goods -- from clothes to toys -- possibly anywhere on Earth.

The Yiwu-Madrid route across Eurasia represents the beginning of a set of game-changing developments. It will be an efficient logistics channel of incredible length. It will represent geopolitics with a human touch, knitting together small traders and huge markets across a vast landmass. It’s already a graphic example of Eurasian integration on the go. And most of all, it’s the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.

Go west, young Han. One day, if everything happens according to plan (and according to the dreams of China’s leaders), all this will be yours -- via high-speed rail, no less. The trip from China to Europe will be a two-day affair, not the 21 days of the present moment. In fact, as that freight train left Yiwu, the D8602 bullet train was leaving Urumqi in Xinjiang Province, heading for Hami in China’s far west. That’s the first high-speed railway built in Xinjiang, and more like it will be coming soon across China at what is likely to prove dizzying speed.

Today, 90% of the global container trade still travels by ocean, and that’s what Beijing plans to change. Its embryonic, still relatively slow New Silk Road represents its first breakthrough in what is bound to be an overland trans-continental container trade revolution.

And with it will go a basket of future “win-win” deals, including lower transportation costs, the expansion of Chinese construction companies ever further into the Central Asian “stans,” as well as into Europe, an easier and faster way to move uranium and rare metals from Central Asia elsewhere, and the opening of myriad new markets harboring hundreds of millions of people.

So if Washington is intent on “pivoting to Asia,” China has its own plan in mind. Think of it as a pirouette to Europe across Eurasia.

Defecting to the East?

The speed with which all of this is happening is staggering. Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the New Silk Road Economic Belt in Astana, Kazakhstan, in September 2013. One month later, while in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, he announced a twenty-first-century Maritime Silk Road. Beijing defines the overall concept behind its planning as “one road and one belt,” when what it’s actually thinking about is a boggling maze of prospective roads, rail lines, sea lanes, and belts.

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[ http://www.alternet.org/how-china-trans ... 28782&t=10 ]
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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:02 am

How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington

[ http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/3203 ... washington ]

Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00 By Pepe Escobar, TomDispatch | News Analysis

Let's start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations - the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS' New Development Bank) - whose acronyms you're unlikely to recognize either. Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran's "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia - a place you've undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the US. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.

The Eurasian Silk Road

With the Vienna deal, whose interminable build-up I had the dubious pleasure of following closely, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his diplomatic team have pulled the near-impossible out of an extremely crumpled magician's hat: an agreement that might actually end sanctions against their country from an asymmetric, largely manufactured conflict.

Think of that meeting in Ufa, the capital of Russia's Bashkortostan, as a preamble to the long-delayed agreement in Vienna. It caught the new dynamics of the Eurasian continent and signaled the future geopolitical Big Bangness of it all. At Ufa, from July 8th to 10th, the 7th BRICS summit and the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit overlapped just as a possible Vienna deal was devouring one deadline after another.

Consider it a diplomatic masterstroke of Vladmir Putin's Russia to have merged those two summits with an informal meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Call it a soft power declaration of war against Washington's imperial logic, one that would highlight the breadth and depth of an evolving Sino-Russian strategic partnership. Putting all those heads of state attending each of the meetings under one roof, Moscow offered a vision of an emerging, coordinated geopolitical structure anchored in Eurasian integration. Thus, the importance of Iran: no matter what happens post-Vienna, Iran will be a vital hub/node/crossroads in Eurasia for this new structure.

If you read the declaration that came out of the BRICS summit, one detail should strike you: the austerity-ridden European Union (EU) is barely mentioned. And that's not an oversight. From the point of view of the leaders of key BRICS nations, they are offering a new approach to Eurasia, the very opposite of the language of sanctions.

Here are just a few examples of the dizzying activity that took place at Ufa, all of it ignored by the American mainstream media. In their meetings, President Putin, China's President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi worked in a practical way to advance what is essentially a Chinese vision of a future Eurasia knit together by a series of interlocking "new Silk Roads." Modi approved more Chinese investment in his country, while Xi and Modi together pledged to work to solve the joint border issues that have dogged their countries and, in at least one case, led to war.

The NDB, the BRICS' response to the World Bank, was officially launched with $50 billion in start-up capital. Focused on funding major infrastructure projects in the BRICS nations, it is capable of accumulating as much as $400 billion in capital, according to its president, Kundapur Vaman Kamath. Later, it plans to focus on funding such ventures in other developing nations across the Global South - all in their own currencies, which means bypassing the US dollar. Given its membership, the NDB's money will clearly be closely linked to the new Silk Roads. As Brazilian Development Bank President Luciano Coutinho stressed, in the near future it may also assist European non-EU member states like Serbia and Macedonia. Think of this as the NDB's attempt to break a Brussels monopoly on Greater Europe. Kamath even advanced the possibility of someday aiding in the reconstruction of Syria.

You won't be surprised to learn that both the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the NDB are headquartered in China and will work to complement each other's efforts. At the same time, Russia's foreign investment arm, the Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), signed a memorandum of understanding with funds from other BRICS countries and so launched an informal investment consortium in which China's Silk Road Fund and India's Infrastructure Development Finance Company will be key partners.

- - - - -SNIP - - - -

It will be a spectacle. Count on it. Will the next version of Washington try to make it up to "lost" Russia or send in the troops? Will it contain China or the "caliphate" of ISIS? Will it work with Iran to fight ISIS or spurn it? Will it truly pivot to Asia for good and ditch the Middle East or vice-versa? Or might it try to contain Russia, China, and Iran simultaneously or find some way to play them against each other?

In the end, whatever Washington may do, it will certainly reflect a fear of the increasing strategic depth Russia and China are developing economically, a reality now becoming visible across Eurasia. At Ufa, Putin told Xi on the record: "Combining efforts, no doubt we [Russia and China] will overcome all the problems before us."

Read "efforts" as new Silk Roads, that Eurasian Economic Union, the growing BRICS block, the expanding Shanghai Cooperation Organization, those China-based banks, and all the rest of what adds up to the beginning of a new integration of significant parts of the Eurasian land mass. As for Washington, fly like an eagle? Try instead: scream like a banshee.

To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

- - -

Pepe Escobar

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and a TomDispatch.com regular. His latest book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Escobar reflects on the fate of the global economy click here, or download it to your iPod here. He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com
.

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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:00 am

China launches first freight train to London

[ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/cn_e ... 839735.htm ]

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2017-01-02 16:19:59

BEIJING - China on Sunday launched its first freight train to London, the China Railway Corporation said.

Departing from Yiwu West Railway Station in eastern Zhejiang Province, the train will travel for about 18 days and more than 12,000 kilometers before reaching its destination in Britain.

- - - SNIP - - -

The service will improve China-Britain trade ties, strengthen connectivity with western Europe, while better serving China's Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes, the China Railway Corporation said.


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= = = = =


What is Belt and Road Initiative

[ http://beltandroad.hktdc.com/en/about-t ... ative.aspx ]

The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese government with the intention of promoting economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes. The Initiative has been designed to enhance the orderly free flow of economic factors and the efficient allocation of resources. It is also intended to further market integration and create a regional economic co-operation framework of benefit to all.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued its Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road on 28 March 2015 [ http://en.ndrc.gov.cn/newsrelease/20150 ... 69367.html ]. This outlined the framework, key areas of co-operation and co-operation mechanisms with regard to the Belt and Road Initiative.

Conceptual Framework

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect Asia, Europe and Africa along five routes. The Silk Road Economic Belt focusses on: (1) linking China to Europe through Central Asia and Russia; (2) connecting China with the Middle East through Central Asia; and (3) bringing together China and Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, meanwhile, focusses on using Chinese coastal ports to: (4) link China with Europe through the South China Sea and Indian Ocean; and (5) connect China with the South Pacific Ocean through the South China Sea.

Focussing on the above five routes, the Belt and Road will take advantage of international transport routes as well as core cities and key ports to further strengthen collaboration and build six international economic co-operation corridors. These have been identified as the New Eurasia Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar.

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[ http://beltandroad.hktdc.com/en/about-t ... ative.aspx ]
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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:57 am

China’s $900 billion New Silk Road. What you need to know

[ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/ ... explainer/ ]

East to west ... who stands to gain from China's controversial trade route?

26 Jun 2017 Anna Bruce-Lockhart Editor, World Economic Forum

You’ve probably heard of the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that once ran between China and the West during the days of the Roman Empire. It’s how oriental silk first made it to Europe. It’s also the reason China is no stranger to carrots.

And now it’s being resurrected. Announced in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, a brand new double trade corridor is set to reopen channels between China and its neighbours in the west: most notably Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

According to the Belt and Road Action Plan released in 2015, the initiative will encompass land routes (the “Belt”) and maritime routes (the “Road”) with the goal of improving trade relationships in the region primarily through infrastructure investments.

The aim of the $900 billion scheme, as China explained recently, is to kindle a “new era of globalization”, a golden age of commerce that will benefit all. Beijing says it will ultimately lend as much as $8 trillion for infrastructure in 68 countries. That adds up to as much as 65% of the global population and a third of global GDP, according to the global consultancy McKinsey.

But reviews from the rest of the world have been mixed, with several countries expressing suspicion about China’s true geopolitical intentions, even while others attended a summit in Beijing earlier this month to praise the scale and scope of the project.

The project has proved vast, expensive and controversial. Four years after it was first unveiled, the question remains:

Why is China doing it?

One strong incentive is that Trans-Eurasian trade infrastructure could bolster poorer countries to the south of China, as well as boost global trade. Domestic regions are also expected to benefit – especially the less-developed border regions in the west of the country, such as Xinjiang.

The economic benefits, both domestically and abroad, are many, but perhaps the most obvious is that trading with new markets could go a long way towards keeping China’s national economy buoyant.

Among domestic markets set to gain from future trade are Chinese companies – such as those in transport and telecoms – which now look poised to grow into global brands.

Chinese manufacturing also stands to gain. The country’s vast industrial overcapacity – mainly in the creation of steel and heavy equipment – could find lucrative outlets along the New Silk Road, and this could allow Chinese manufacturing to swing towards higher-end industrial goods.

A new global superpower

Some Western diplomats have been wary in their response to the proposed trade corridor, seeing it as a land grab designed to promote China's influence globally, but there’s little evidence to suggest the route will benefit China alone.

The scheme is essentially a “domestic policy with geostrategic consequences, rather than a foreign policy,” Charles Parton, a former EU diplomat in China, told the Financial Times.

There's no doubt that China is growing into a geopolitical heavyweight, stepping into the breach left by the United States on matters of free trade and climate change.

"As some Western countries move backwards by erecting 'walls', China is contriving to build bridges, both literal and metaphorical," ran a recent commentary by Xinhua, a Chinese state-run media agency.

Bridges are key to China's strategy, says Kevin Liu, Chairman of Asia, Partners Group.

He explains: "The superpower status the US has achieved is to a great extent grounded on the security blanket it offered to its allies. Geopolitically, China decided a long time ago that security was too expensive an offer to make. Instead, this new superpower may offer connectivity."

If combined with enhanced global connectivity, China's enormous gravity could become an even more meaningful engine for the global economy," Liu adds.

MORE:

[ https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/06/ ... explainer/ ]
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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:26 pm

Tales from the new Silk Road

[ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt ... _silk_road ]

By Carrie Gracie 15 July 2017

Prologue


China calls it the project of the century - a massive roll-out of Chinese-built infrastructure to remake the map of the global economy with China at its heart.

Some see this new Silk Road as an opportunity, others as a power grab. I travelled from China to Europe to hear the stories of the people in its path.
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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:28 pm

What is China's One Belt, One Road?

[ http://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-398 ... t-one-road ]

China has a big idea that it hopes will secure its future prosperity through trade. It's called One Belt, One Road - but what does that really mean?

Robin Brant explains from Shanghai. 12 May 2017
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Re: CHINA'S NEW SILK ROAD - Transforming the World

Postby Oscar » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:17 am

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Beijing’s Alternative Idea of Globalization - August 24, 2018
[ https://www.globalresearch.ca/chinas-be ... on/5651679 ]
Is the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) a strategic tool of Beijing or a geopolitical lever to confront the West? Is BRI comparable to the old Marshall Plan, the US-led project at the beginning of the Cold War to confront the Soviet Union?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

China’s Belt and Road: The $10 Trillion Investment Plan to Integrate the Eurasian Supercontinent - December 8, 2017
[ https://www.globalresearch.ca/chinas-be ... d_articles [
The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), by lending out money using an alternative currency to the dollar, opens up huge spaces for investment and the strategic transformation of the region

~ ~ ~

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia - November 13, 2017
[ https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-arcti ... d_articles ]
The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China’s initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia. MORE . . . .
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