Posts tagged ‘foreign investment’

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Abe’s Visit to Darwin: Kneeling PM, Crouching PM

ABC coverage, Nov 16, 2018

Guanchazhe online (Observer), a news website from Shanghai, publishes a report, referring to Reuters newsagency coverage, writing that Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison held a ceremony at Darwin Cenotaph on Friday, commemorating the dead from Japan’s air raids on Darwin during WW2, 76 years ago. The article also mentions discussions concerning strengthened trade and defense cooperation between the two leaders.

The article refers to a liquid natural gas (lng) investment project in Darwin, with a planned Japanese investment of 54 billion Australian dollars (about 274.7 billion RMB), with INPEX Holdings Inc. as the main shareholder and operator, as one of the cooperation projects.

Without comment, Guanchazhe also quotes Morrison as saying*) that

Australia and Japan remain consistent about the importance of sholving the South China Sea dispute. Both Japan and Australia strongly oppose any behavior that could intensify the tense situation in the region.

莫里森还表示,他期待与日本加强合作,维护地区的海上安全。两国领导人在会晤后表示,他们希望明年年初就加强两国防务合作达成协议,包括举行更多的联合军事演习。

Both Guanchazhe and Haiwainet (the latter is the online portal of People’s Daily‘s overseas edition) feature a photo showing the two prime ministers laying wreaths at the cenotaph, but Haiwainet points out the obvious in writing: “The Australian prime minister kneels, Abe crouches.”

ABC (video at the beginning) discusses Japan’s and Australia’s motivation to strengthen military cooperation.

According to reports earlier this year, an Australian dockyard, ASC Pty Ltd, is reportedly set to build nine Hunter class frigates from 2020 (designed in Britain), with the first of them to be operational by 2027. In a report this summer, ABC referred to the project as Australia’s largest peacetime warship building program.

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Note

*) as quoted by AP newsagency: “Australia and Japan also stand united on the importance of resolving disputes in the South China Sea, peacefully and in accordance with international law, and we are strongly opposed to any actions that could increase tensions within the region.”

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

State Council Information Office holds “Media Manager’s Research and Study Class” in Xinjiang

The following is a translation of a Xinhua news article, published online on July 21. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

23 Media Managers from 18 Countries gather in Xinjiang to participate in “Silk Road’s Economic Belt Media Managers’ Research and Study Class from Relevant Countries”

Xinhua Urumqi, July 21 (Ayi Nu’er reporting) — On July 21, twenty-three media managers from eighteen countries along the “One Belt one Road” gathered in Xinjiang Urumqi to take part in a “Silk Road Economic Belt research class for media managers from relevant Countries”, organized by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China.

新华社乌鲁木齐7月21日电(记者阿依努尔)21日,来自“一带一路”沿线18个国家的23家媒体负责人共聚新疆乌鲁木齐,参加由国务院新闻办公室主办的“丝绸之路经济带相关国家媒体负责人研修班”,对新疆经济社会发展进行广泛深入了解。

At that day’s class opening ceremony, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Party Committee member of the standing committee and propaganda department director Tian Wen said that Xinjiang covers 1.6t million square kilometers, that it is a place where many cultures meet, and also a thoroughfare of the old Silk Road. After the “One Belt one Road” initiative had been put forward, Xinjiang, helped by its unique geographic situation and cultural advantages, as a core area for the Silk Road’s economic belt, actively built regional traffic hubs, trade and commerce logistics centers, financial centers, cultural science education centers, medical service centers, and comprehensively deepened exchanges and cooperation with the countries along the “Belt and Road”.

在当日举行的开班仪式上,新疆维吾尔自治区党委常委、宣传部部长田文说,新疆面积166万平方公里,是多种文化交汇之地,也是古丝绸之路通衢之地,“一带一路”倡议提出后,作为丝绸之路经济带核心区,新疆借助独特地缘、人文优势,积极建设区域性交通枢纽中心、商贸物流中心、金融中心、文化科教中心、医疗服务中心,全面深化与“一带一路”沿线各国交流与合作。

Taking part in this research class are media managers from France, Germany, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Canada, Egypt, and other countries, involving Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America.

参加此次研修班的媒体负责人来自法国、德国、俄罗斯、印度、巴基斯坦、哈萨克斯坦、吉尔吉斯斯坦、乌兹别克斯坦、加拿大、埃及等18个国家,涉及亚洲、欧洲、非洲、北美洲四大洲。

Tarek Ramadan Mohamed Hussein, deputy editor in chief of Egpytian paper “Golden Pyramid Evening News”, said that the research and study class would be another step towards deepening awareness of the real level of Xinjiang’s development.

埃及《金字塔晚报》副总编塔里克·拉马丹·穆罕默德·侯赛因表示,研修班将进一步加深自己对新疆真实发展水平的认知。

From July 21 to 25, these media managers will have informal discussions and exchanges with Chinese experts and scholars from the fields of economics, culture, ethnic groups, religion etc.. They will also visit Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture and other places for visits and observations. After that, they will continue studies in Beijing.

21日-25日,这些媒体人士将与中国经济、文化、民族、宗教等领域专家学者座谈交流,还将前往新疆昌吉回族自治州、伊犁哈萨克自治州等地参观考察。之后,他们将赴北京继续考察学习活动。

Since 2012, the State Council Information Office has held seven classes for media managers from relative countries in a row, thus opening a new window for humanities exchanges.

国务院新闻办公室自2012年起,连续举办7期相关国家媒体负责人研修班,打开了新的人文交流窗口。

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Related

Uyghurs and Muslim minorities situation, Aug 9, 2018
Global local sticks tv, Oct 22, 2009
Be more Xinhua, Oct 10, 2009

“Entwicklung basiert auf Stabilität”, CRI, Aug 14, 2018
凯赛尔·阿不都克热木, Xinhua, Aug 13, 2018
Press Review, China Digital Times, Aug 13, 2018

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

“Huanqiu Shibao” on German takeover veto

Links within blockquotes added during translation — JR

[…]

“Chinese companies increase acquisitions, German government defends layer by layer!”, Germany’s First Television channel reported on July 27. The German government would for the first time make use of new trade regulation and veto China Yantai Taihai Group’s acquisition of Leifeld company for “strategic security” reasons. “Wirtschaftswoche”, quoting people from government circles, reported that Leifeld company was situated in the small western German city of Ahlen, and a technological leader in the field of high-strength material. Interrelated material could be used in the aerospace industry, and in the nuclear industry. There were some two-hundred employees working for the company. The report said the government’s reason for its decision was that selling the company “endangered Germany’s public order or security”. A German official also told media that the German government wanted said company’s missile and nuclear technology to remain in Germany’s hands.

“中国企业加强收购,德国政府层层防御!”德国电视一台27日报道称,德国政府将首次动用新的贸易法规,以“战略安全”为由否决中国烟台台海集团对德国莱菲尔德公司的收购。《经济周刊》援引政府圈内人士报道说,莱菲尔德公司位于德国西部小城阿伦,是高强度材料领域的技术领先者,相关材料可用于航空航天业,也可用于核工业。该公司有员工约200人。报道称,政府做出这一决定的理由是,出售该企业“危及德国的公共秩序或安全”。一位德国官员还对媒体说,德国政府希望该公司的火箭和核技术掌握在德国手里。

How does China view the first case of a Chinese acquisition being vetoed by the German government? Foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference on July 27 that China had taken note of the reports related to the case and expressed concern. He said that facing the current complicated situation of growing protectionism and unilateralism, China and Germany, as major global economies, had a common responsibility to maintain free trade and multilateralism. By broadening the two countries’ mutually beneficial cooperation with bidirectional openness and assistance, and by maintaining open global trade, positive energy could be inserted. It was hoped that Germany would view Chinese investment objectively, and create a stable institutional framework with a fair market for Chinese companies going to Germany.

中方如何看待德国政府将首次否决中国企业收购案?中国外交部发言人耿爽27日在记者会上表示,中方注意到有关报道,并对此表示关注。他说,面对当前保护主义和单边主义加剧的复杂形势,中国和德国作为世界主要经济体,有责任共同维护自由贸易和多边主义,通过扩大双向开放助力两国高水平互利合作,为维护开放型世界经济注入正能量。希望德方客观看待中国投资,为中方企业赴德投资创造公平开放的市场准入环境和稳定的制度框架。

German media say that this will be the first time for Germany’s government to put a new external-trade regulation to use that was passed in July 2017. The background for its formulation had been robot manufacturing company Kuka. According to the regulation, when investors from outside the EU want to acquire more than 25 percent of German companies’ shares, this will be examined by the German government. The examination periods have also increased from two to four months.

德国媒体表示,这将是德国政府第一次启用去年7月通过的新对外贸易条例。该条例制定的背景是中国企业收购了德国工业机器人制造商库卡等关键技术公司。按照规定,欧盟以外的投资方收购德国企业25%以上的股权,将接受德国政府的审查。调查时间也从原来的2个月增加至4个月。

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Related

Prepared to veto, Reuters, Aug 1, 2018
Regular press conference, FMPRC, July 27,2018

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Inter-Korean Summit: all the Virtuous Circles (around China, please)

CCTV, via Huanqiu Shibao.

Main Link: Historic Day – One Sentence from South-North Korean Summit makes this Continental Plate go Wild (历史性一天:朝韩首脑的一句话 让这个板块涨疯了)

Today, the Korean peninsula has welcomed a historic scene. At 08:30 Beijing time and 09:30 Seoul time, North Korea’s highest leader Kim Jong-un crossed the military demarcation line between the North and the South, to meet and shake hands with South Korean president Kim Jae-in. This was the first time for a highest North Korean leader to set foot on South Korean soil.

今天朝鲜半岛迎来历史性的一幕。北京时间8时30分,首尔时间9时30分,朝鲜最高领导人金正恩越过朝韩军事分界线,与韩国总统文在寅会面握手。这是朝鲜最高领导人首次踏上韩国领土。

After having talks, they signed an agreement and jointly issued the “Panmunjom Declaration”, achieving agreement to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Let us look back on this historic moment together.

双方在会谈之后,签署协议并共同发表了《板门店宣言》,就半岛无核化达成协议。一起来回顾一下这一历史性的时刻↓ [sic]

One line (or word) of this summit meeting has driven this continental plate wild!

朝韩首脑会晤上的一句话,让这些领域涨疯了!

Concerning this South-North Korean summit, CCTV Finance Channel’s special correspondent to South Korea, Li Xianghe, and Washington correspondent Wei Xuejiao also compiled the latest reports.

有关此次韩朝首脑会晤,央视财经频道在韩国首尔的特约记者李香和驻美国华盛顿记者魏雪娇也发挥了最新的报道↓

The nearly 12-hours itinerary of the third South-North Korean summit ended concluded perfectly. This afternoon, the South and North Korean leaders signed the “Panmunjom Declaration”, announcing the termination of all hostile behavior towards the other side, a strife for a declaration of the end to the state of war within a year, the two sides confirmed the goal of complete denuclearization of the peninsula by complete abandonment of nuclear weapons, and realizing balanced development and joint prosperity of the national economy. All South Korean media carried out complete and close coverage of today’s meeting. Many among the South Korean masses paid close attention to the historic moment.

将近12个小时的韩朝第三次首脑会晤的日程圆满结束。今天下午,韩朝领导人签署了《板门店宣言》,宣布停止一切针对对方的敌对行为,争取年内宣布结束战争状态,双方确认通过完全弃核实现半岛无核化的共同目标,实现民族经济的均衡发展和共同繁荣等。韩国各大媒体对今天的会晤进行了全程跟踪报道。很多的韩国民众,他们对这一历史性时刻给予了高度的关注。

Also, all South Korean walks of life assess the results of today’s meeting positively. All parties from South Korea, although with varying enthusiasm, affirmed the content of the “Panmunjom Declaration” signed today. Reactions from entrepreneurial circles were more direct and more positive.

另外,韩国各界也积极评价了今天的会晤成果。韩国朝野各党虽然存在一定的“温差”,但是对韩朝双方签署的“板门店宣言”的内容都给予了肯定。企业界的反映则更直接、更积极。

South Korea’s committee of small and medium-sized enterprises said that this meeting could become a relief for the tense situation on the peninsula, a major opportunity for the promotion of peace and prosperity, that they [the SMEs] would actively prepare renewed operation of Kaicheng Industrial Park, and promote South-Northern economic cooperation.

韩国中小企业委员会表示,此次会晤成为缓解朝鲜半岛紧张局势、推进和平繁荣的重要契机,他们将积极准备开城工业园的重启工作,促进南北经济合作。

After some notes on market reactions, the CCTV article continues:

In the informal conversation of this morning, Kim Jong-un praised South Korea’s high-speed railway, while Moon Jae-in said that if the two railway systems could link up to each other, they could be used by everyone. This kind of dialog pushed railway sector stock exchange up, with some exceeding a rise of 13 percent.  This kind of bilateral willingness is also reflected in the two sides’ declarations. Both the South and the North that they will link up the Interkorean Railway and the Gyeongui Line rail and road, promoting cooperation in the field of infrastructure. The North-South Korean summit was constantly and closely watched by the United States.

在今天上午的非正式谈话中,金正恩赞了韩国的高铁,文在寅则说到如果双方铁路能连起来了,大家可以一起用。这样的对话助推了铁路板块股票的上涨,有的涨幅甚至超过了13%。这样的意愿也反映在了双方的宣言上,韩朝双方表示将连接韩朝东海线及京义线铁路和道路,推动基础建设领域的合作。 针对此次朝韩首脑会晤,美国方面一直在对其进行着密切的关注。

White House: At the time of the North-South Korean summit, America hopes for smooth [interaction of] the people in the North and the South. It hopes that the talks will allow the Korean peninsula to forge toward peace and prosperity. At the same time, America also praises its South Korean ally and expresses hopes that President Trump and Kim Jong-un will also meet within a few weeks. At the same time, many American mainstream media provide prominent coverage of this summit. On the whole, the American media really anticipate this historic meeting. Many American media also refer to a “historic meeting”.

白宫:在朝韩首脑会晤之际,美方希望朝韩人民顺利。希望谈判能够让朝鲜半岛向和平、繁荣迈进。同时,美方也赞赏了盟友韩国,对未来几周,特朗普总统和金正恩的会谈表示期待。 与此同时,很多美国主流媒体都突出报道了此次朝韩首脑会晤,整体上来看,美国媒体非常期待这次历史性会谈。很多美国媒体也用“历史性会晤”来形容。

The “Wall Street Journal” [writes] that this time’s results will determine the future direction of relations on the Korean peninsula, and establish a foundation for preparing and holding the summit between North Korea and America.

美国《华尔街日报》本次的结果势将决定朝鲜半岛关系未来走向,并为拟定举行的朝美首脑会晤奠定基础。

“Bloomberg News” said that hopes were rekindled on the Korean peninsula, and that this time’s meeting between the North and the South made people expect that besides putting an end to a meaningless conflict, and that it could at least reduce current threats to global security and the tense situation on the global financial markets.

美国《彭博社》表示,朝鲜半岛再次燃起希望,此次朝韩会晤也令人期待,除了结束毫无意义的冲突之外,至少可以减少目前威胁全球安全和世界金融市场的紧张局势。

The CCTV article then describes US media interest in the two leaders’ dinner menu, abd mentions the release of photos showing newly-appointed US secretary of state Pompeo’s meeting with North Korean leaders a few weeks ago.

In fact, if everything develops smoothly, including this North-South Korean summit, President Trump and Kim Jong-un will hold a leaders meeting in May or June, which would be the first dialog between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader.

实际上,如果一切进展顺利的话,包括此次朝韩首脑会晤,特朗普总统和金正恩将在5月或6月举行美朝领导人会晤,那将是美国现任总统与朝鲜领导人之间的首次对话。

In further news, South Korean media have revealed that the South Korean president may visit America around mid-May, have talks with US President Trump, brief him about the results of his talks with Kim Jong-un, and discuss a specific roadmap for the implementation of the Korean peninsula’s denuclearization.

接下来,韩国媒体已经透露,韩国总统或将于5月中旬访问美国,与美国总统特朗普举行会谈,向他介绍同金正恩的会谈结果,并讨论半岛无核化路线图的具体落实方案。

This meeting was the third one between South and North Korean leaders, eleven year after the most recent one. The “Panmunjom Declaration” confirms the realization of the peninsula’s denuclearization which brings about development space for the two countries, North East Asia and the whole world for economic cooperation.

此次会晤是时隔11年后,韩朝首脑的第三次会谈,《板门店宣言》确认实现半岛无核化,这将为两国、东北亚以及全球范围内的经济合作,带来发展空间。

Experts say that this summit, bringing about the establishment for a long-term peace mechanism, opens the door and paves the way for economic cooperation between the two countries and North East Asia.

专家表示,此次韩朝首脑会晤,带来的长期和平机制的建立,将为打通韩朝两国以及东北亚各方的经济合作,奠定基础。

Chinese Academy of Social Studies Asian and Global Strategy Research Institute’s researcher Pu Jianyi says that China’s, Russia’s and Mongolia’s building of a trilateral economic corridor could include North Korea, if the situation on the Korean peninsula approached a a virtuous circle. Once North Korea was included, South Korea would naturally join, with Japan behind. China, Japan, and South Korea cooperating, plus China integrating them with North Korea and Russia, would spell better prospects for the future.

中国社会科学院亚太与全球战略研究院研究员 朴键一表示,目前在中国、俄罗斯、蒙古三方的经济走廊建设,如果朝鲜半岛形势向着良性循环的方向发展,可以期待中蒙俄经济走廊建设的横向扩展,很快就可以把朝鲜拉进来,有了朝鲜,韩国自然就跟上了,后边日本。中国、日本,韩国的合作,还有就是中国和朝鲜、俄罗斯怎么把它们整合,会有一个比较好的前景。

[…]

Zhang Jianping, director of the Minstry of Commerce’s Research Center for Regional Economic Cooperation, says that North Korea has actually made some preparations during the past few years, establishing more economic development zones. Also, agricultural cooperation had become a matter of vital importance.

商务部研究院区域经济合作研究中心主任 张建平表示,朝鲜其实在前些年已经准备了一些,设立一些更多的一些经济开发区,另外在农业开放合作方面,现在也是当务之急。

Chinese Academy of Social Studies Asian and Global Strategy Research Institute’s researcher Pu Jianyi says that from South Korea through North Korea up to China, infrastructure building such as railways and highways, are now under discussion.  Among these, not only China, but along the Russian coastline, too, there were matters of  building railways and energy pipelines.  This infrastructure construction would entail lots of mutual economic cooperation, for example in the field of minerals, etc..

中国社会科学院亚太与全球战略研究院研究员 朴键一表示,从韩国经过朝鲜到中国来,像铁路、公路基础设施的建设,现在正在讨论。其中不光是到中国来,去俄罗斯的沿海岸线要铺设铁路,还有一个就是能源管道的问题。这样的一些基础设施建设,后边就带上一大堆相应的经济合作,比如矿产品等。

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Related

Chinese Interests won’t be sidelined, March 12, 2018

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Promising Profits: Syria’s Nation (Re)building Propaganda

Links within the blockquotes were added during translation.

Following America and Russia, China has announced its interest in playing a greater role in Syria, TRT Ankara‘s Chinese service reported on February 12. China’s ambassador in Damascus, Qi Qianjin (齐前进),

said that China wanted to play a greater role in solving the Syria crisis. The diplomat told Xinhua that “the time has come to focus on the development and reconstruction of Syria. I believe that in this course, China can provide more help to the Syrian people and government, and play a bigger role.”

向新华社表示:“现在已到聚焦于叙利亚的发展和重建的时机。我认为中国在这一进程中能够为叙利亚人民和政府提供更多帮助,发挥更多作用。”

Ambassador Qi Qianjin visited al-Mouwasat University Hospital in Damascus, and the hospital director thanked him.

齐前进大使参观了位于大马士革的姆瓦萨特大学医院,医院院长向中国大使表示感谢。

The Syrian communications minister had previously said that Syria’s transportation network, once restored, could become a railroad extending to China.

叙利亚交通部长之前曾表示,在叙利亚交通网得到恢复之后,可建立一个延伸至中国的铁路。

According to a report by China’s “Global Times”, at least 30 Chinese business people have been to Syria since April, to explore investment opportunities.

据中国《环球时报》报道,4月至今至少有30名中国商人前来叙利亚探索投资机遇。

China is acting together with Russia in the Syrian conflict, but has worked hard to avoid American resentment.

中国在叙利亚冲突中与俄罗斯一道行动,另一方面致力于避免美国的不满。

In the United Nations security council’s seven important resolutions concerning Syria, China abstained and chose not to get involved in the US-Russian quibble.

中国在联合国安理会关于叙利亚的7个重要表决中弃权,选择了不卷入俄罗斯-美国较量的道路。

Reportedly, from the three countries of Russia, China and America, China is the only country that hasn’t sent troops to Syria.

据悉,俄中美三国中唯一没有向叙利亚派兵的国家是中国。

Radio Damascus QSL 1980s

Radio Damascus shortwave QSL, 1980s *)

The war in Syria is by no means over, and Turkey itself plays no small role in keeping it alive. According to Syrian foreign radio ORTAS‘ German service on Friday, that day marked the 27th day of “the Turkish regime’s barbarian aggression against the Syrian town of Afrin”. According to the same news broadcast, the Syrian government and the Kurdish “people’s defence units (or protection units, YPG, Volksverteidigungseinheiten)” had agreed to have the Syrian army stationed in Afrin. Both ORTAS and Xinhua quoted Rezan Heddo, a media advisor of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as saying that “Afrin is a Syrian city”.

German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday night that “of all things”, “dictator Assad’s army is coming to the aid of Afrin region.”

At the same time, Syrian media accuse the US of trying to prolong the war. In its “News and Views” program of February 4, Syrian foreign radio’s English service noted that [27′ 40”]

It is pretty clear that the regional and international powers … do not have a desire to reach a political solution, but, in accordance with their interests in Syria, and for achieving them, those foreign sides try to prolong their war against Syria to give them a chance to extend their presence in the Syrian land under the pretext of combatting terrorism or preserving the alledged national security, as Turkey is claiming to justify its aggression on the Syrian territory.

That said, the Syrian media depict the situation as one where powers hostile to Damascus will prolong, but never win the war. This has been Damascus’ propaganda approach for some time. On October 4 last year, an ORTAS commentary in German claimed that the end of the war was approaching [6’52”]:

Nobody but some hateful or uneducated people can deny this truth. All conditions on the ground and their political consequences are emphasizing that the end of the struggle against terror and terrorist gangs is a matter of time. Aggravations here or there, the committing of crimes by the terrorist gangs is only this terror’s death struggle, carried to Syria from the outside.

It was time to rebuild the country, the same commentary said [08’58”]:

It is clear that the world has begun to think of the post-war situation in Syria, especially concerning a political settlement by dialog among the Syrians themselves. According to that, the Syrians think and talk about reconstruction of the facilities destroyed during the war. The talk in some concerned states, regarding reconstruction and a preparedness to contribute to this mission, is currently “hip”, even in some states that enormously contributed to the destruction of Syria.

Nation-building propaganda is nothing new in Syria. Before the war, too, posters portraying President Bashar al-Assad adorned not only public buildings, but many shops and retail stores, too, some combined with the depiction of a fingerprint in the colors of the Syrian flag, apparently suggesting that there was a genetic link between the people and the regime, in accordance with Syria’s nature. However, at least in Aleppo, you would usually find those posters at the doors of better-off neigborhoods.

But if an era of reconstruction should be upon Syria – depending on which areas are considered sustainably safe by domestic and foreign investors -, the narrative that is shaped by Damascus is beginning to show, as described there by a retired US Army officer:

Nation building can involve the use of propaganda or major infrastructure development to foster social harmony and economic growth.

Reconstruction and “dialog” aren’t only aiming at positive dynamics within Syria, but abroad, too. Syria’s officials and media have sent clear signals to friends and enemies abroad. Newsagency SANA reported on September 30 last year that

China’s Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan affirmed that his country would support efforts for reconstruction and rebuilding infrastructure in Syria.

Xiaoyan’s remarks came in a seminar held in Beijing University titled “Rebuild Syria,” during which he called on the Chinese companies to participate in the reconstruction.

For his part, Ambassador of Syria in Beijing Imad Mustafa said that Syria seeks to form a joint strategic vision with China and will not wait for the end of the war to begin reconstruction, noting that the priority in that field will be given for companies from friendly countries.

Early in October, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad told a delegation led by Russian deputy minister for energy Kirill Molodtsov that [00’41”]

it was obvious that those states that had stood with the Syrian people during its war against terror would be entrusted with the task of reconstruction.

Beijing must have been glad to hear that, too. But TRT Ankara’s report – see beginning of this post – is correct in that China is trying to avoid “American resentment”. For sure, Beijing isn’t asking for it.

Also in September last year, Chinese foreign-policy newspaper Huanqiu Shibao quoted Beijing’s Middle-East envoy Xie Xiaoyan (解晓岩) as saying that he had heard suggestions about reconstructions during his visits both to Russia and Syria:

The situation has improved, but first, the country needs to be stabilized, and comprehensive cease-fire agreements are necessary. It is hard to imagine that war should be conducted on the one hand, and roads should be repaired on the other. What is repaired on one day, may be destroyed one day later. But the fact that war still continues doesn’t mean that the parties couldn’t think about rebuilding and reconstruction. China has sufficient industrial capabilities and is preparing for active involvement in this process.

在访问叙利亚和俄罗斯时,听到有关开始叙利亚重建进程的提议。目前那里的局势已经得到改善。但首先仍需要实现国家稳定,需要全面执行停火协议。很难想象,一边在打仗,一边在修路。修好的基础设施在第二天就会被摧毁。其次,尽管现在战斗仍在进行,这并不意味着各方不去考虑基础设施的改建和重建。中国拥有足够的工业能力,准备积极参与这一进程。

However, Xie also said that

China is the world’s second-largest economy, but it can’t do the rebuilding alone. Reports say that reconstruction is going to cost two to three hundred billion Dollars. Therefore, not only China, but countries of the region and of the international community, too, should make joint efforts to achieve Syria’s reconstruction.

中国是世界第二大经济体,但中国独自无法完成重建工作。据有关报道,重建需要大约2000至3000亿美元资金。 因此,不仅是中国,本地区国家和整个国际社会都应共同努力,实现叙利亚的重建。

In a number of ways, China is well-positioned to draw the lion’s share from post-war profits – once the war is really over, or limited to a few marginal conflict zones. While Russia certainly spearheaded military support for Damascus, and while Beijing rather tried to hedge its bets, Russia may not have those industrial capabilities that Xie Xiaoyan ascribes to his own country.

Western economic powers may prove to be essential in one or another aspect of reconstruction, but Damascus is likely to maintain its position that countries that propped it up during the crisis, and during foreign aggression, should profit most.

That doesn’t mean that China would be extremely popular in Syria – although the war may have helped its soft power there. When former Chinese chief state councillor Wen Jiabao referred to the Arab people as good friends, good partners and good brothers, regional elites, rather than entire populations, came to mind. Wen made his statement about Sino-Arab friendship while Hosni Mubarak was still Egypt’s president, and Wen himself may have cherished a memory of Chinese relations with a – then nationalist rather than islamist – Arabia of the 1950s.

Syria’s regime may be the last (and maybe the only lasting) representative of that cherished past.

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Notes

*) Until some time into the war, ORTAS – named “Radio Damascus” until recently – broadcasted on shortwave. Two frequencies were usually announced, but only one of them actually appeared to be in operation (9330 kHz). Reportedly, the facilities have been demolished – apparently in a regular way, and not because of the war.

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Related

Russia is very clever, Sept 11, 2013
A Just Mideast Position, Febr 16, 2012
Understanding and Support, Oct 25, 2011

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Blog and Press Review: Frugal New Year

Warning: the following translation from a classic is just my guesswork – if you copy that for your homework, the mistakes will be your fault, not mine. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Frugal New Year: the Xi Style

The year of the dog is upon us, and it must be a dog’s life if you are a cadre in the Xi Jinping era. That’s what you might believe, anyway, if you read secretary general Xi Jinping’s spiritual nourishment for comrades. After all, in a totalitarian society, administration, legislation, crackdowns and Something Understood all need to come from the same source.

People’s Daily has published three instalments of Xi Jinping thought. The first: go and visit the poor, and ask about their suffering, find solutions to the problems and dump the worries. The second: have an affectionate reunion with your family, as a good family style promotes virtue.

For the third instalment, the sermon turns to the New Book of Tang:
奢靡之始,危亡之渐 (which means something like “what begins lavishly will move towards danger”, I suppose).

I can only find the Chinese original [no English edition] of the  New Book of Tang online, and there, in chapter 105, Chu Suiliang, an advisor with morals, tells his surprised sovereign the meaning of things that only appear to be innocent at first glance:

帝尝怪:“舜造漆器,禹雕其俎,谏者十馀不止,小物何必尔邪?”遂良曰:“雕琢害力农,纂绣伤女工,奢靡之始,危亡之渐也。漆器不止,必金为之,金又不止,必玉为之,故谏者救其源,不使得开。及夫横流,则无复事矣。”帝咨美之。

The emperor said: “Shun made the lacquer, Yu gave us the embroideries, but the remonstrances never seem to end. How can small things be evil?”
Suiliang said: “ornate artwork harms the peasantry, and embroidery hurts the working women. What begins lavishly, will indeed move towards danger. It doesn’t end at lacquerware, it takes gold, too. It doesn’t end there, but jade will be required, too. Those who remonstrate do not want to see things pass the point of no return.”

If my impression of the Chinese texts is basically correct, Xi seems to present himself as someone who speaks truth to power – which is corny at best, and quite probably populist. The latter, anyway, is a tool lavishly handed around among the Davos jetset more recently, and it probably works fine, especially at the grass-roots level, with people who routinely delude themselves.

Roar back, if you still dare, fly or tiger.

Xi Jinping probably found a lot to copy from Ronald Reagan. His May 4 speech in 2013 resembled Reagan’s endless-opportunities speech in 1984. While frequently considered risk averse when it comes to reform, optimism, a “determination … to educate his audience” and “unobtrusive and imperceptible moral influence” (OK – it depends on how much corniness you’ve grown up with) are features Xi’s propaganda style seems to share with the late US president’s.

Footnote: when it comes to education on the ground, education of the public appears to be anything but imperceptible, as The Capital in the North reported in January.

Central Europe (1): After the “Czech Reversal”

The China Digital Times has an article by a Czech academic, describing Chinese influence in Eastern Europe (although the Czech Republic is hardly “eastern” European), and more particularly about a “China Energy Fund Committee” (CEFC). Czech president Miloš Zeman, who is quoted there with some of his characteristically tasteless remarks (about Chinese eyes, before he changed his mind), has explicit opinions about journalism, too.

Central Europe (2): German Mittelstand’s Main Thing

If the German Mittelstand can’t be found in China, it’s probably because they are investing and selling in the Visegrád countries, and beyond. the Handelsblatt‘s English-language edition has a critical assessment of Mittelstand companies role in Central Europe, quoting an apolitical German trade functionary to prove its point:

Ultimately, politics is not that important for businesspeople. Order books are full: That’s the main thing.

Obviously, German politicians (and journalists, for that matter) aren’t nearly as sanguine, and following US President Trump’s attendence at a Three Seas Initiative summit in July 2017, the Economist even recorded Teutonic tremors:

Germany is already concerned about China’s “16+1” initiative with central and eastern European states, a series of investment projects that the Chinese expect will build influence in the region. The Germans are also putting pressure on the Polish government over its illiberal attacks on independent newspapers, judges and NGOs. And they are fending off Polish criticisms that their proposed “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will make Europe more dependent on Russia.

But the Mittelstand shows no such unease. In fact, smaller and medium-sized companies often feel easier about countries that are closer to Germany, both regionally and culturally – it takes less time to travel, less time spent abroad, less worries about intercultural competence (or its absence), and less worries about market barriers or technology theft.

Hualien, Taiwan

Most people will have heard and read about the earthquake that caused deaths and injuries, especially in Hualien, on Tuesday.

But the place should be known for its beauty, too. There’s a travel blog about the Taroko Gorge, apparently written by a Singaporean, with some practical advice which  should be quite up to date (based on a visit in November 2016). That, plus some history.

The Spy Radio that anyone can hear

No, that’s not the BBC. They’ve only produced a video about numbers stations.

But what’s the fun in them if anyone can listen? I want some numbers of my own.

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Related

Budapest Guidelines, in Chinese and in English, Nov 2017

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Headlines 2017 (1) – Five Economic Policies

Having addressed one of next year’s headlines, these are some rough notes on China’s economic policies, i. e. this years headlines.

china.org.cn, a website operating “under the auspices of the State Council Information Office” and the China International Publishing Group, tells the world (in English) that

[t]he Chinese economy will focus on quality, a shift from the rapid growth the country has been known for over the past decades since the reform and opening up policy was introduced.

Referring to the Central Economic Work Conference’s summary, the article is mostly about parading the new normal personality cult (“Xi’s economic thought takes shape”), suggesting that

China will develop into a manufacturing powerhouse, with a shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China,” the statement said, as the country is striving to evolve from a world factory that churns out low-end products.

A Chinese-language article, published by Xinhua newsagency in Chinese one day earlier (on Wednesday, when the conference closed), is much more detailed, putting the meeting of officials and economists into the context of the CCP’s 19th national congress, and the current 13th Five-Year plan, with recurrent references to the five policies (五大政策).

In the Journal of Nanjing University’s (南京大学学报) third quarterly in summer this year, economics professor Hu Angang (and a doctoral assistant) suggested that the five policies (literally: five big policies) had afforded China the global number-one position as a high-tech industrial country, having overtaken America in 2015. The state’s visible hand had made this possible, Hu argued, adding that given that the market’s “invisible hand” wasn’t as well developed in China as it was in the US, only a sensible combination of both those hands had put China in its new position. Issues such as ways to define the scopes and goals of competition, as well as performance assessments, were also addressed both by Hu’s paper, and by the central economic work conference.

Hu suggests that there were frequent imbalances in classical economic policies, not least America’s (emphasizing innovation sometimes, or emphasizing job creation at others), while China had struck a balance between an industrial policy (产业政策 政策, the policy China started with 30 years ago), a competition policy (竞争政策), an innovation policy (创新政策), a policy of opening up (开放政策), and a “green” environment-protection policy (绿色政策).

One can’t say that the divide between advocates of a set of “balanced” policies are running right through the Pacific (i. e. between Beijing and Washington). America, too, has its share of advocates for balanced industrial policies. An example for an extremely unbalanced concept: the idea that “America should innovate” while China would manufacture was suggested in 2011, by  New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, who said that he owed this division-of-labor concept to former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. (Besides innovation, Tung also had the “green policy” on his mind. What Friedman had in mind, God knows.)

Either way, Ralph E. Gomory, an applied mathematician, pointed out that Friedman’s and Tung’s math didn’t add up:

[w]e need successful industries and we need to innovate within them to keep them thriving. However, when your trading partner is thinking about GDP rather than profit, and has adopted mercantilist tactics, subsidizing industries, and mispricing its currency, while loaning you the money to buy the underpriced goods, this may simply not be possible.

That was six and a half years ago. And obviously, China’s leadership never intended to leave innovation to America for good.

However, Hu Angang’s paper concedes that so far, while being the world’s “number one high tech manufacturing country” (为世界最大高技术产业国), China’s ability to innovate independently from foreign know-how still remains “relatively low”.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Notebook: Tsai’s recent Speeches

Focus Taiwan (CNA newsagency’s English-language website) has President Tsai Ing-wen‘s full  Double-Ten address, (the original script can be found on the presidential website), and on October, she gave a speech in English, to the Yushan Forum, an “Asia Innovation and Progress Dialogue”, including remarks about the “New Southbound Policy”.

Yushan Forum, Oct 2017 – please click picture for video

Tsai Ing-wen’s approval ratings have recently seen a modest surge – or a significant one, when looking at where they have come from, since summer this year.

In July, an L. A. Times correspondent reported the nasty numbers of that month – an approval rating of 33 per cent -, but added that this didn’t necessarily mean that her supporters were abandoning her.

Indeed, it has become a Taiwanese tradition to keep presidents under the opinion-poll waterline most of the time – when Ma Ying-jeou, Tsai’s predecessor, was re-elected early in 2012, four years of submergence lied behind him, with another four years waiting.

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