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China, Pakistan strive to build closer community of shared future in new era: envoy

China and Pakistan will join hands in building a closer community of shared future in the new era against the backdrop of changing international landscapes, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said.

“The Closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the New Era is a concrete measure taken by leaders of the two countries as per the concept of building a new type of international relations and a community of a shared future for all mankind,” Yao told Xinhua in an interview.

A China-Pakistan joint statement in this regard was released in November last year when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made his first visit to China.

The closer community of shared future in the new era is based on mutual trust, friendship and amity, as well as shared interests and political consensus reached between the two countries and two peoples on the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the ambassador said.

CPEC, a major pilot project of the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, is connecting the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in west China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

CPEC has brought about drastic changes to Pakistan’s socio-economic development over the past five years. During Prime Minister Khan’s another visit to China in April, the two countries signed a deal on the first industrial park and future industrial cooperation.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding inked between China and Pakistan to improve people’s livelihood, the two neighbors signed 27 projects on agriculture, education, healthcare, water resources, vocational training and poverty alleviation, Yao said.

“By meeting Pakistani people’s needs, the China-Pakistan cooperation will bring more tangible benefits to Pakistanis,” he said. As part of the international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC should be instrumental to regional cooperation, interconnectivity and common development, the Chinese envoy pointed out.

A third party will be invited to participate in the next phase development of CPEC, he added. The first meeting of the CPEC International Cooperation Coordination Working Group was held in Beijing in April to build CPEC as a platform for regional cooperation, development, and prosperity.

Fostering people-to-people’s bonds always remained as a priority of the Belt and Road cooperation between China and Pakistan, according to Yao. “The China-donated Faqeer Primary School in Gwadar has become one of the best local schools, where students have increased to nearly 500 from 150 over the past five years,” he said.

“China also helped build a medical center in Gwadar which has provided health services for the local people,” the ambassador added, noting that vocational training institutes were set up in Quetta and Lahore to help address youth employment in Pakistan.

In recent years, civic groups, training schools, and local institutions across the country have been seeking exchanges and cooperation with China in education, culture, and sports, Yao said.

“The Belt and Road Initiative has yielded such appealing results that the Pakistani people have been getting increasingly enthusiastic about participating in the Chinese projects and agreeing with the Chinese concepts,” he added.

Source: The Nation

Date: 25th May, 2019

China will resolutely defend sovereignty, push ahead with Belt and Road initiative in 2019: Xi Jinping

Source: Times Now

Date: 31st December 2018

Beijing: Presenting an upbeat picture of China’s achievements in 2018 amid the ongoing trade war with the US, President Xi Jinping on Monday said China will remain resolute in defending its sovereignty and push ahead with his pet project the Belt and Road initiative (BRI).

In his annual New Year eve address to the nation telecast live all over the country, Xi played down concerns about the slowing down of Chinese economy, saying China’s economy stayed within a “reasonable” range in 2018. China’s economy grew at 6.5 per cent in the third quarter posting slowest growth since 2009 as it grappled with the intensifying trade war with the US and the mounting local governments’ debt which rose to USD 2.58 trillion.

Xi is regarded as the most powerful leader of China after Mao Zedong as he was declared a core leader by the ruling Communist Party. He heads the party, the presidency and the military. He is expected to remain President for life after a constitutional amendment this year removed two-term limit for President.

In a veiled reference to China’s increasing hold over the disputed South China Sea, he reiterated that China will protect its sovereignty and security “resolutely”.

“Looking at the world at large, we’re facing a period of major change never seen in a century. No matter what these changes bring, China will remain resolute and confident in its defence of its national sovereignty and security,” he said, adding that China’s sincerity and goodwill to safeguard world peace will remain unchanged.

He said “China enlarged its circle of friends” in 2018 and referred to host of international events hosted by the country. On the BRI, he said, “We will continue to push ahead with the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue to advocate for the development of a community of shared future for mankind.”

Touted as Xi’s ambitious project, the BRI initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. Highlighting the achievements of his government on the domestic front, Xi said the campaign to prevent and control pollution of air, water and soil was going smoothly.

“The improvement of the people’s well being speeded up and their living standards were steadily improved,” he said. He said China successfully launched the Chang’e-4 lunar probe to land on the dark sides of the moon, besides a second aircraft carrier which had set sail on its maiden voyage.

Xi said China’s domestically-made large amphibious aircraft performed its first water launch while the BeiDou Satellite Navigation System, which is stated to be rival to America’s GPS, has gone global.

We have also made great strides in our poverty alleviation efforts in the past year. Another 125 poor counties and 10 million poverty-stricken rural residents were lifted out of poverty in 2018,” he said referring to progress to his pledge that China will eradicate poverty by 2020.

He said about 13 million Chinese found jobs in cities in 2018. 2019 will also see China celebrating 70 years since its founding as a nation.

“Next year China will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Our country has braved thorny paths and confronted stormy weather over the past seventy years,” he said, adding that 2019 will see both opportunities and challenges that will require us to work together shoulder to shoulder.

Yearender: Belt and Road Initiative making difference in Asia-Pacific region

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/12/27 11:42:55

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative entered its fifth year in 2018, offering fresh impetus to economic development and integration in the Asia-Pacific region, while bringing tangible benefits to the people along the route.

The initiative, proposed in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

MAJOR PROGRESS IN CONNECTIVITY PROJECTS

A series of important achievements have been made in the development of major infrastructure connectivity projects under the Belt and Road Initiative during 2018.

In early December, the first T-shaped concrete beam of the China-Laos railway was successfully erected in Lao capital Vientiane. It marked a key milestone as the construction has been transferred from substructure to superstructure, according to the constructor China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group.

The construction of China-Laos railway, the first overseas route to connect with the railway system in China, starts from Boten, the northern Lao town bordering China, connects with the Chinese Yuxi-Mohan Railway in Yunnan province to the north, and reaches Vientiane in the south.

It is expected to open by the end of 2021, slashing the travel time between Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province and Vientiane to half a day.

Another key connectivity project under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia, also entered the stage of comprehensive implementation in June this year.

The project licensing, financing and land acquisition have been put in place, and the construction of 22 controlling works has made breakthrough, according to China Railway.

The 142.3 km-long project will connect Indonesia’s capital Jakarta and West Java province’s capital Bandung in the southeast. With a speed of 350 km per hour, the Chinese-technology high-speed train is capable of cutting traveling time between the two cities to about 40 minutes from over three hours.

Currently, over 2,000 local employees are working for the project and the number is expected to further increase, according to the Chinese company.

Meanwhile, along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a major pilot project under the Belt and Road Initiative, a series of infrastructure projects have also been completed.

Among them, the first section of the 392-km Multan-Sukkur Motorway, the largest transportation infrastructure project under CPEC, was inaugurated in May this year.

The 33-km section spanning from Multan to Shujaabad city was completed ahead of schedule, and the whole project is expected to be completed by August 2019.

The CPEC, a corridor linking Pakistan’s Karachi and northwestern Peshawar and running through the populated provinces of Punjab and Sindh, highlights energy, transport, industrial cooperation and Gwadar port construction, and seeks to expand cooperation to such sectors as finance, science and technology, education, poverty alleviation, and urban planning.

TANGIBLE BENEFITS FOR PEOPLE

In August this year, the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge opened to traffic. It is the first cross-sea bridge in the Maldives and an iconic project of the two countries in co-building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Connecting the capital Male and neighboring Hulhule island where the Maldives’ main international airport is located, the 2-km bridge makes it possible for locals and tourists to transfer between the two islands on land within five minutes.

“The boat ride between the two islands was affected by many factors such as the weather. I used to have difficulties in getting to school in Male on time. I would be very anxious about reaching on time because of the unpredictability of the weather,” local school girl Aisha (alia) said.

However, Aisha can now ride her father’s motorcycle every morning and arrives at school in 10 minutes.

“Reaching in 10 minutes was impossible before the bridge was opened to traffic,” she said.

Rehendhi Rabindan, a foreman in a restaurant in Hulhumale, said the bridge helped bring more customers to his restaurant.

“On weekends, many people living in Male come here for dinner. The staff are constantly busy,” he said, adding that “Many guests who live in Male could order takeaways and pick up the food within 10 minutes.”

While some projects bring daily convenience and business opportunities to locals, some others are literally a game changer for those struggling in hardship.

In Pakistan’s southwestern port city of Gwadar, 15-year-old boy Akbar was both excited and relieved to learn about a new seawater desalination plant which was inaugurated in July this year.

Gwadar had been plagued with acute water scarcity, and Akbar used to stand on the roadside in the scorching sun for hours to wait for a water tanker to stop by. Locals had been forced to fetch water from dams far away, or spend a large part of their income buying water from private water tankers.

In May this year, the China Overseas Ports Holding Company, the operator of Gwadar port, agreed with the local government to provide the latter with 300,000 gallons of drinkable desalinated water daily.

The government has been distributing the water freely through its pipelines to about 4,000 local households.

“The water is free and their water is very good,” Akbar said.

BRIGHTER PROSPECT FOR ECONOMIC LINKAGE

With China now a major contributor to global growth, the Belt and Road Initiative could help strengthen links within the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asia and with China, Standard Chartered Global Research said in a report issued in October.

The Belt and Road Initiative has generated significant interest among countries in the region, given their substantial infrastructure needs and China’s ability to offer the expertise to deliver large-scale infrastructure projects, it said.

According to Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, “Cooperation in trade and connectivity will create jobs for the people, multiply economic opportunities and enhance the productivity of the entire economy. These are vital components for sustainable regional cooperation as well.”

Nepal and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017.

“While the locus of economic development shifts to Asia, BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) can be an engine for a new wave of globalization,” Oli said in September.

Meanwhile, for many Pacific island nations, the Belt and Road Initiative is a platform through which they can be better connected to the global economy.

Papua New Guinea (PNG), the host of this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders’ meeting, joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in May, and became the first Pacific island country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on the Belt and Road cooperation in June.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Xinhua recently that “for international developing countries like PNG, this (the Belt and Road Initiative) is a great initiative because of the access to capital and infrastructure-building capacities that we are now developing together with China. It is able to open up markets and improve the standard of living for our people.”

In November, the tropical nation of Fiji also signed a memorandum of understanding with China on cooperation within the Belt and Road framework.

The Belt and Road Initiative is “very important for the future development of the world, especially for the small developing nations that are remote and lack in their social and economic development, looking for avenues and support to link themselves to the rest of the world,” Keshmeer Makun, lecturer at the Fiji National University’s School of Economics, told Xinhua in an earlier interview.

Putin to become key guest at Belt and Road Forum in China .

Source: TASS

Date: 26 Dec,2018

BEIJING, December 26. /TASS/.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will become a key guest and participant of the second international Belt and Road Forum due in April 2019 in the Chinese capital of Beijing, Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov said on Wednesday.

“We believe that a major event of the first half of 2019 will be the coordinated visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China, who will take part in the second summit of the Belt and Road Forum,” Denisov said.

“According to the Chinese partners’ preliminary estimates, some 40 heads of state and government are expected to arrive, and the forum will have a rather large program and various meetings will be held. They tell us that the Russian president will be a key guest and the most important participant among foreign guests, that’s why the program for him will have a special character and will envisage events as part of his visit to China,” the ambassador stressed.

The diplomat noted that the details of the Russian leader’s visit to China were being coordinated. “Both we and our Chinese colleagues want him to visit not only Beijing. But this depends on the work schedule of both our president and our Chinese partners,” Denisov said.

The Belt and Road Initiative unites the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road projects, which were proposed in September 2013. It stipulates the signing of bilateral memorandums on cooperation with states located on transport Eurasian routes (more than 40 documents have already been signed), along which “economic development corridors” will be established.

The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing in May 2017. It involved 29 heads of state and government, as well as leaders of major international organizations.

More:
http://tass.com/economy/1037910

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7 million people in China left cities to move to rural areas and take up farming last year, and it reveals a growing trend.

Source: Business Insider

  • A rising number of educated urbanites in China are choosing to wave goodbye to city life and head back to the land.
  • “Reverse urbanization” is picking up as infrastructure improves in remote areas.
  • Last year the Ministry of Agriculture announced that seven million people had returned to the countryside from cities.
  • Of these, 60% had done so to work in agriculture.

 

When thousands of diseased and bloated pig carcasses floated down a tributary of the Huangpu River in Shanghai in early 2013, after being dumped upstream by farmers, the stench turned Zheng Lixing’s stomach.

“If you were there, you wouldn’t have been able to eat for a few days,” says Zheng, a native of Shaanxi province in northwest China with a doctorate in polymer science from Tianjin University of Science and Technology.

The experience got him concerned about the state of the agricultural sector in China, which, for centuries before its industrialization, was an agrarian society.

Three years later, with two million yuan from their own pockets and investors, Zheng and four other university graduates from Shaanxi returned home and acquired 13 hectares (32 acres) of farmland in Liquan county. They wanted to show local farmers the benefits of switching to organic methods.

The quality of the soil is poor, he says, and will take another few years to recover fully. Soil contamination, caused by pesticide and fertilizer use, but also industry and waste disposal, is a big threat to China’s food security.

Zheng’s farm uses only organic fertilizers, such as chicken and pig dung, and no chemical pesticides. As a result, however, crop yields are low, and this puts other farmers off following their example.

“We won’t break even until the end of this year,” he says, adding that the neighbors may have a change of heart when they see how better-quality products can fetch higher prices.

Zheng is among a rising number of educated urbanites in China choosing to wave goodbye to city life and head back to the land.

The modernization of farming in China is on the government’s agenda. In March, President Xi Jinping said more effort should be made to encourage talented university graduates and overseas returnees to move to rural areas to revitalize them and boost innovation.

The drive to boost the rural economy includes tax breaks, easier financing, and other support measures for rural entrepreneurs.

About 60% of China’s population lives in towns and cities, a huge increase from 26% in 1990. However, that is still well below the average of 75% in the developed world, and “reverse urbanization” is picking up as infrastructure improves in remote areas.

Last year the Ministry of Agriculture announced that seven million people had returned to the countryside from cities, although it did not give a time frame for the migration. Of these, 60% had done so to work in agriculture, it said.

Ma Yanwei, who acquired an 11-hectare farm in Inner Mongolia’s Alashan prefecture in 2015, says the government is supporting local farmers with water conservation methods in the arid region, which is on the fringe of a desert.

“Although Alashan is under threat from desertification, the air and soil are very good. Local farmers use underground water for irrigation. But they plant corn, which consumes a lot of water,” says Ma, who graduated from Beijing Normal University with a doctorate in ecology.

“After digging ditches around a patch of land, they water all the land before moving on to another patch, wasting a lot of water through evaporation. Only the roots need to absorb water.”

The local government provides piping, which Ma teaches local farmers to use. With holes in the hosepipes spaced 20cm (8 inches) apart, they are rolled out alongside the base of crops, and water drips from holes. This method uses only half the amount of water, he says.

A native of Harbin in China’s northeast, his previous job at a Beijing-based environmental organization brought him to Alashan in 2004. “It is beautiful and the locals are friendly,” he says.

Also helping others to adopt environment-friendly farming techniques is Yixi Kanzhuo, who graduated from Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics with an executive MBA. The Dalian native worked for the See Foundation, China’s largest NGO dedicated to environmental protection, before moving to Yushu in Qinghai province, in the country’s northwest.

“I always went to Qinghai for the foundation. I met a native there who has about 1,300 hectares of land situated 4,500 meters (14,800 feet) above sea level. I moved to Qinghai in 2015 and married him last year,” she says. Like many ethnic Tibetans in the area, her husband abandoned his land after the government launched a policy around 2005 to move nomads into towns.

“It’s a desolate area. When I first came here, transport was inconvenient, with no motorways or asphalt roads. But since a national park was established last year, basic infrastructure is being built,” she says.

 The couple are building a home on their farm, which is 300km (185 miles) from the nearest town, as they attempt to revive largely deserted pastures on the plateau, and help those who have fallen into poverty since the relocation.
“They haven’t returned to their farms… They originally led self-sustainable lives by raising livestock and making clothes from wool.” Yixi says.

Since the move, they have been living in government-built houses in towns that lack basic services, such as medical facilities, elderly care, rubbish disposal, and running water, she adds.

They were promised an annual subsidy for relocating, but some families claim they are not receiving as much as they were told they would. Tibetans generally have high birth rates, and families, often of seven or eight people, quickly became destitute.

“Before 1985 each nomad [in Yushu] owned more than 100 yaks. They were never worried about money because they just had to sell a yak when they needed it.

“Before his whole family relocated to town a decade ago, my husband lived on the farm until he was 15 and his life was carefree. But after being relocated, people were cut off from their [traditional] way of life and couldn’t find work,” Yixi says.

She and her husband built their home using a traditional mortar made of soil, glutinous rice, and quicklime, she says, to show others how it was possible to return to their pastures and carve out a sustainable lifestyle.

The couple have organized a cooperative with seven other families, with 300 head of livestock, so “everybody can take turns grazing the livestock throughout the year to help conserve the pastures”.

Their farm will observe local customs, she adds, eschewing mass slaughter of livestock in deference to Tibetan Buddhist culture.

“Most of the produce is for sale locally, because outsiders are not keen on yak meat, suyou [fat distilled from yak and sheep’s milk] and qula [the residue from making suyou]. Our produce will include Armillaria luteo-virens [an edible mushroom], which thrives during the rainy season on the high plateau, and butter made from yak milk, which non-locals will like,” Yixi says.

“Our venture is not simply about agriculture. It’s about how people can live harmoniously with nature. We want to build living quarters for visitors, who will be able to ride horses, meditate, do yoga and live a tranquil life on the farm.

“We can train locals in how to serve visitors and cook food for them. The scenery is beautiful here, as we are near the source of the Yellow River. A road leading to our farm will be completed next year and [the government] will start building a small airport in Yushu next year.”

For a city dweller, life in the remote countryside took a lot of getting used to for Yixi. “When I first arrived, I went for as long as 20 days without washing my hair,” she says.

In spite of the hardship, she says her new life is much better than when she lived in the big city.

“To earn 20,000 to 30,000 yuan [US$2,900 to US$4,350] a month, people have to commute through the crowded subway every day and spend all their salary on living expenses. They only live for work. There’s no dignity,” she says.

“I hope our kids will be born in the house. They will be able to grow up surrounded by nature and lead a happy life.”

In Shaanxi, Zheng says he dreams of growing high-quality produce for export, like Japanese and Western farmers.

“China is so big that it can sustain any kind of fruit. We can’t sell the grapes we produce, even though they only cost several yuan a bunch. Japanese ones sell for several hundreds a bunch,” he says.

“There is a success story in another town in Shaanxi, where 20 million yuan was spent to establish a vineyard. The grapes sell in Hong Kong for more than 200 yuan a kilogram.

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One Belt, One Road, One Big Mistake

Source: Foreign Policy
Author: 
Date:  

The headlines coming out of this year’s APEC conference in Papua New Guinea focused on the conflict between America and China that kept the forum from issuing a joint communiqué. Less noticed were two short memorandums released on the sidelines of the conference by the island nations of Vanuatu and Tonga. In return for renegotiating existing debt, both agreed to become the newest participants—following other Pacific nations like Papua New Guinea and Fiji—in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign-policy venture, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

As Xi’s trillion-dollar development strategy has snaked away from the Eurasian heartland and into the South Pacific, western Africa, and Latin America, concern has grown. Many Americans fear that the Belt and Road Initiative is an extension of efforts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to undermine the security and economic architecture of the international order. China’s growing largesse, they worry, comes largely at the expense of international institutions and American influence.

This angst lies behind another announcement made at last month’s APEC gathering: Australia, Japan, and the United States declared that they had formed their own trilateral investment initiative to help meet infrastructure needs in the Indo-Pacific. For some this is not enough: In its most recent report to the United States Congress, the bipartisan U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission recommended that Congress create an additional fund “to provide additional bilateral assistance for countries that are a target of or vulnerable to Chinese economic or diplomatic pressure.”

This is the wrong response to the Belt and Road Initiative. Ignore the hype: For the Chinese, this initiative has been a strategic blunder. By buying into the flawed idea that barrels of money are all that is needed to solve complex geopolitical problems, China has committed a colossal error. Xi’s dictatorship makes it almost impossible for the country to admit this mistake or abandon his pet project. The United States and its allies gain nothing from making China’s blunders their own.

In Xi’s speeches, the phrase most closely associated with the Belt and Road Initiative is “community of common destiny.” Xi’s use of this term is meant to link the BRI to the deeper purpose party leaders have articulated for the CCP over the last three decades. China’s leaders believe that not only is it their “historic mission” to bring about China’s “national rejuvenation” as the world’s most prestigious power, but that China has a unique role to play in the development of “political civilization” writ large.

It is the Chinese, Xi maintains (as Hu and Jiang did before him), who have adapted socialism to modern conditions, and in so doing have created a unique Chinese answer to “the problems facing mankind.” Though this answer began in China, Xi is clear that the time has come for “Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach” to benefit those outside of China. The Belt and Road Initiative is intended to do just that. By using the Chinese model of socialism to develop the world’s poorer regions, the initiative justifies Xi’s grandiose claims about the party’s historic mission on the international stage.

To match these lofty aims, Chinese academics and policy analysts at prestigious party think tanks have articulated more down-to-earth goals for the initiative. According to them, the BRI promises to integrate China’s internal markets with those of its neighbours. Doing so will bring its neighbours closer to China geopolitically and bring stability to the region. By increasing economic activity in China’s border regions, such as Xinjiang and Tibet, the Belt and Road Initiative will lessen the appeal that separatist ideology might have to the residents. Another projected benefit is the energy security that will come through the construction of BRI-funded transport routes. Finally, by articulating and then following through on an initiative that puts common development over power politics, China will gain an advantage over other major countries (read: Japan and the United States) who present the world as a black-and-white competition for hegemony. The community of common destiny, these analysts have claimed, is a community that will immensely benefit China.

As the Belt and Road Initiative is only five years old (and many of its main members have been involved for a far shorter time) its full results cannot yet be judged. However, a preliminary assessment can be offered for BRI projects in South and Southeast Asia, the region described by Chinese leaders as the “main axis” of the Belt and Road Initiative. It is here that BRI investment is strongest and has been around longest. The picture is not promising. The hundreds of billions spent in these countries has not produced returns for investors, nor political returns for the party. Whether Chinese leaders actually seek a financial return from the Belt and Road Initiative has always been questionable—the sovereign debt of 27 BRI countries is regarded as “junk” by the three main ratings agencies, while another 14 have no rating at all.

Investment decisions often seem to be driven by geopolitical needs instead of sound financial sense. In South and Southeast Asia expensive port development is an excellent case study. A 2016 CSIS report judged that none of the Indian Ocean port projects funded through the BRI have much hope of financial success. They were likely prioritized for their geopolitical utility. Projects less clearly connected to China’s security needs have more difficulty getting off the ground: the research firm RWR Advisory Group notes that 270 BRI infrastructure projects in the region (or 32 per cent of the total value of the whole) have been put on hold because of problems with practicality or financial viability. There is a vast gap between what the Chinese have declared they will spend and what they have actually spent.

There is also a gap between how BRI projects are supposed to be chosen and how they actually have been selected. Xi and other party leaders have characterized BRI investment in Eurasia as following along defined “economic corridors” that would directly connect China to markets and peoples in other parts of the continent. By these means the party hopes to channel capital into areas where it will have the largest long-term benefit and will make cumulative infrastructure improvements possible.

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World Bank official lauds BRI, CPEC role in promoting intra-regional trade

Source: The News
Date: 5th December, 2018.

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) on Tuesday disclosed that around 71 countries under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) obtained around 5 percent debt from China including Pakistan but stressed upon the need for ensuring more access to the data and transparency.

While addressing at SDPI conference here on Tuesday, Caroline Freund, WB’s Director Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment said that BRI and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were playing important role for promoting intra- regional trade by building infrastructure but the trade facilitation was required to enhance trade among different regions of the world including this part of the world. The infrastructure alone cannot promote trade but other requisites such as facilitation can help a lot to ensure trade among different parts of the world.

“We are conducting a detailed study about BRI but our initial assessment shows that debt has not become major problem for loan recipient countries under this mega initiative. It stands at around 5 percent of total loans portfolio of 71 countries of BRI,” she added. The trade, she said, had gone up in recent years among different countries and regions of the world.

She said the debt provided by China to BRI countries was highlighted as major problem but their study showed that it was not as big as mentioned in recent news reports. However, she stressed upon the need for sharing more data and placing transparency to ascertain facts based on reality.

On the occasion, Deputy Mission Chief of China’s Embassy in Pakistan Lijian Zhao said that the misconception of debt trap levelled against BRI proved a lie through the work done by the WB. He said that the BRI helped generating 200000 jobs out of which 75000 jobs were created in Pakistan through CPEC. He said that Pakistan became the largest recipient of FDI from China and largest trading partner with help of CPEC. He said the industrialisation was pre-requisite for economic development and in next five years the setting up of factories into Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would be the priority areas between China and Pakistan.

The first SEZs, he said, would become operational in Rashakai and concession agreement between Chinese company and KP government would be signed soon. He said that all SEZs being established in Pakistan would be open for all other countries. All those who complained about missing train in earlier energy projects now they can catch up for the establishment of entities into upcoming SEZs, he maintained.

He said the CPEC would be expanded to Afghanistan and Iran and the upcoming trilateral meeting scheduled to be held on December 15 at Kabul could become the starting point to move ahead.

He said that people to people contact must be the priority areas. He mentioned that there were more than 67000 students belonging to Korea who are studying in China and Pakistani students were in the range of 22000 at the moment. With population of 50 million, there are more than 1000 flights between China and Korea so Pakistan with population of over 206 million must realise its real potential.

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Thanks to CPEC, Gwadar real estate business on the rise

Source: The News International
Published by: N/A

ISLAMABAD: The real estate business in Gwadar is attracting investors from across the country as the city is being considered a business hub in near future soon after the completion of China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC).

The Gwadar Port City is the next best destination for investment in real estate as a huge area of privately-owned land is being utilized for housing societies in the city.

Deputy Director Gwadar Development Authority (GDA), Changez Baloch told APP that real estate prices had been increased manifold during last few months.

He said that business situation in Gwadar is getting change from past, adding; many people are taking interest to invest in the city as their investment is giving good return due to sharp increase of the value of land.

He said the NOCs of all the investors who were violating the rules and regulations of GDA would be canceled, and they would not be able to start development work within the government-stipulated time frame.

He said the GDA was cooperating with investors and taking responsibility for providing municipal services in Gwadar City.

However, the development of housing schemes in the city is also causing problems for the citizens.

A resident of Gwadar Fazal Lashari said that a number of hilly mounds and rain drainage have been disappeared due to leveling of the land.

This developed land has been marked as private property schemes, he added.

Fazal said that the development work in Gwadar is at final stage, adding that everyone in the area is keen to obtain land.

Ghulam Mustafa a real state owner in Gwadar said that the GDA is creating problem in issuing of NOC for real estate investors.

Over the last year, he said the real estate prices in the area immediately surged due to infrastructure development projects being carried out as part of the CPEC.

The increasing prices have also revived the hopes of many other investors to invest in the Gwadar, he revealed.

Sharing the details of problems being faced in the area, he said that the shortage of water creates hurdles for the real estate development in Gwadar.

The developers and builders have to fetch it from Mirani Dam in Kech district, 200 kilometers from Gwadar, he added.

Samad Khan an investor alleged that some of GDA officials manipulate both land prices and allotment processes in order to benefit the people who entice them, he added.

Lamenting on the situation, Samad expressed sorrow that there are ambiguities and errors in land ownership records as the land settlement were done manually.

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Beijing welcomes Riyadh in CPEC

Source: Express Tribune
By Mohammad Zafar
Published: October 11, 2018

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said China has no objection over inclusion of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects and would welcome Riyadh’s investment in Pakistan.

“We will welcome Saudi Arabia and other countries’ investment in CPEC projects. China wants to expand CPEC up to central Asian states via Afghanistan,” the Chinese ambassador said while speaking to businessmen and journalists at two separate functions in Quetta on Wednesday.

Chinese ambassador also confirmed that CPEC projects are being revisited in view of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led new government’s vision, adding that new development projects will be included in the project with consensus.

Yao said reviewing the CPEC agreement is natural as the new Pakistani government which came into power after the July 25 general election has its own agenda and vision.

The envoy said the new Pakistani government wants to give all attention to socio-economic sector and in reviewing of CPEC agreement the desire of the Pakistan’s new government would be considered.

“Both China and Pakistan governments have agreed to further expand the CPEC,” he said, adding that taking decision with mutual understanding and consensus is part of the CPEC agreement.

He said both the governments have decided to continue work on ongoing projects launched under CPEC in Pakistan and particularly Balochistan and these projects would be completed on time.

Yao said Pakistan and China have very cordial relations since long; they are not only partners in CPEC but have lots of other ties and projects in which they are helping each other. “China and Pakistan are strategic partners,” he said.

He said that the main objectives of CPEC include establishing road-network, construction of highways and motorways, power generation and developing agriculture sector.

Yao Jing said in the next phase, China will focus on joint ventures and will give attention to socio-economic sector, which is also vision of the new Pakistani government.

“Under CPEC it was decided that more resources would be provided to the western provinces of Pakistan. It is our desire to link the mega project to Central Asian states via Afghanistan and under CPEC will open new ways of development and prosperity in the entire region,” he said.

The Chinese ambassador said CPEC has entered “a new era” and that jobs would be created for the people of Pakistan through its various projects. “Balochistan offers numerous opportunities to investors in terms of agriculture, livestock, mines and minerals,” he said.

At the chamber of commerce, businessmen urged the Chinese ambassador to establish a Chinese consulate in Quetta to address their business needs. The ambassador promised the business community that their request would be discussed with Chinese high-ups.

Responding to a question about Balochistan’s share in CPEC, Yao Jing said Balochistan is an important part of CPEC and the second phase of the project would be more important for Balochistan.

He said that though entire Pakistan is equal for his country, China wants to work for the development of different sectors of Balochistan on priority. “China will help in developing agriculture, industry and other sectors in Balochistan,” he said.

The envoy said he is very much inspired with the vision of new federal and Balochistan governments as they want to develop socio-economic sector. “Balochistan should be main beneficiary of CPEC. Chinese investors would find out new trade and investment opportunities in Balochistan,” he added.

Yao said Balochistan has great potential in mineral resources, mining, livestock, and fisheries and there is need to work for the promotion of these sectors. He said China will extend all help and assistance to the local people for sending fruit, vegetable and seafood to international market.

He said he had a meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal and observed that new provincial government is more interested in the development of the province and providing maximum facilities to its people.

To a question, he said the Chinese universities are open for Pakistani students and these universities offer scholarships in March every year and students could apply for admission online. However, he said, Balochistan students would be provided assistance in applying for admission to the Chinese universities.

URL: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1823109/1-beijing-welcomes-riyadh-cpec/

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Pakistani students to be offered vocational training, education in China

The CPEC Cultural Communication Centre (CCC) under its ‘Talent Corridor’ scheme will offer scholarships to 1,000 Pakistani students for a one-year vocational training starting from November this year in China.

“The students to be selected from across the country will be provided free tuition and dormitory during the training at different universities and institutes in China,” Echo Lee, Director General, CPEC CCC and CEO of St Xianglin Management and Consulting Company while talking to APP here on Sunday.

The CPEC CCC is located in China’s Suzhou Vocational University, which has the world-class facilities and able faculty and its functions include Sino-Pak students exchange, academic research and seminars, vocational education, organising Chinese culture experience camp and teachers exchange, she added.

Giving further details about scholarship scheme, she said it is a three level programme and the students will be taught outer space and high-speed train technology during the first level while in the middle level, they will be imparted education of hydro-power and solar energy engineering.

The students selected for the lowest level will get training for the driving of different machines and types of equipment including excavation machines and caterpillar etc.

Ms Echo Lee said this year, 1,000 students will be offered 20 majors from a high level to the lower level classes as compared to 100 scholarships in six majors last year.

While hoping for a positive response and cooperation from the Pakistani side, she said at present, the details are being discussed with the concerned officials in the Pakistan ministry of planning, development and reforms as well as the embassy of Pakistan in Beijing.

She informed the CPEC CCC is jointly working along with the Chinese education ministry which is affiliated with a number of vocational universities and institutes.

To a question, she claimed that vocational education in China is the highest level in the world even in some areas it is better than Germany and Japan.

The CEO said this cross-border education exchange programme is step one of the overall project and added in the next phases, equipment and teachers will be sent for vocational training of Pakistani students in Pakistan.

The Chinese vocational education centres, as well as educational parks, would be set up in Pakistan in future, she added.

She said her organization intends to donate some training equipment and looking forward to a positive response from Pakistani institutions which are interested to receive it.

About the cooperation in the past, she said her organization has signed a MoU with Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw (KP) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) governments to set up cultural communication centres under the CPEC framework.

These centres will serve as the main forum in the field of Sino-Pak education and cultural communication, she added.

SOURCE:https://nation.com.pk/01-Jul-2018/pakistani-students-to-be-offered-vocational-training-education-in-china