Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Belt And Road Initiative: A new way forward


New Silk Road to be 'project of the century'
China's president says the plan to build a modern-day Silk Road will be the 'project of the century'.
China's president says the country's multibillion dollar plan to build a modern-day Silk Road will be the 'project of the century'

The 'Belt and Road initiative' - as it is slightly awkwardly titled - is intended to recreate the trading routes of old overland and sea through central Asia, to Europe and beyond, with massive investment in infrastructure along the way.

The ambitious plans span at least 65 countries, including more than 60 per cent of the world's population, and 30 per cent of global GDP.

The estimated $US900b ($A1.2 trillion) cost would make it one of the most expensive development projects ever attempted, and many times the size of the US Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.

read more

World's biggest building project aims to make China great again
Tajik women who are optimistic about the region’s redevelopment.
Tajik women who are optimistic about the region’s redevelopment. Photograph: Tom Phillips for the Guardian

When Chinese president, Xi Jinping, unveiled what some call the most ambitious development plan in history, Zhou Jun decided almost immediately he should head for the hills.

The 45-year-old entrepreneur packed his bags and set off for one of his country’s most staggeringly beautiful corners: a sleepy, high-altitude border outpost called Tashkurgan that - at almost 5,000km (3,100 miles) from Beijing - is the most westerly settlement in China.

“I saw a great opportunity to turn this little town into a mid-sized city,” Zhou explained during a tour of ‘Europa Manor’, a garish roadside spa he recently opened for Chinese tourists along the Karakoram, the legendary 1,300km highway that snakes through China’s rugged western mountains towards the 4,700m-high Khunjerab Pass.

read more

China's 'One Belt, One Road' looks to take construction binge offshore
A factory floor of XCMG Group is seen in Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, China August 14, 2015. REUTERS/Brenda Goh

Two years after China unveiled a sweeping plan to rebuild Silk Road trade links with Europe and Asia, machinery maker XCMG Group has opened a factory in Uzbekistan, sent 300 staff abroad and set ambitious goals to grow overseas.

XCMG's foreign venture piggybacks on China's bold scheme to extend its global influence through financing infrastructure projects in 65 nations that are home to two-thirds of humanity, and at the same time win new markets for companies weighed down by profit-crushing overcapacity at home.

"This is China's grand strategy," said Hanson Liu, assistant president at Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group [XCMGP.UL], which aims to grow overseas income from 15 percent of total revenue in 2014 to more than 30 percent in the next five years.

read more

The $900bn question: What is the Belt and Road initiative?
A stretch of the Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang, China, a region which could be transformed by Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative infrastructure plans.
A stretch of the Karakoram Highway in Xinjiang, China, a region which could be transformed by Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative infrastructure plans. Foto: Tom Phillips for the Guardian

On Sunday Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed world leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to Beijing for what is billed as China’s most important diplomatic event of the year: a two-day forum celebrating Xi’s so-called ‘Belt and Road initiative’.

The Belt and what initiative? Even Chinese officials have struggled to define the awkwardly-named scheme and a flurry of music-themed propaganda about Xi’s signature foreign policy in the lead-up to this weekend’s event has done little to clear things up.

World's biggest building project aims to make China great again. “It is not a solo song but a chorus,” one veteran Chinese diplomat claimed cryptically this week. “[It is] a Chinese solution to global economic blues,” said the official news agency Xinhua.

read more

ONE BELT ONE ROAD, WHAT'S THE DEAL?

Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 unveiled an ambitious economic and foreign policy - the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road".

China wants to revive an ancient network of silk land and ocean trade routes of centuries past. It's instigating an infrastructure building boom across Central Asia up to Europe to help boost trade and improve transport logistics. The land-based projects are the belt. Various economic corridors are on the cards too, including with Pakistan, Mongolia and Bangladesh.

The maritime road which will connect up China's southern provinces to south-east Asia and the east coast of Africa with ports and railways.

read more

Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?

Spanning more than 68 countries and encompassing 4.4 billion people and up to 40% of the global GDP, China's One Belt, One Road project is not short on ambition.

Its boosters tout its massive economic promise and claim it could benefit the entire world and lift millions out of poverty.

But no one can say for sure what exactly the plan encompasses, and detractors warn it could be an expensive boondoggle at best or a massive expansion of Chinese imperial power at worst.

read more

One Belt, One Road - A brilliant plan
Thirty years of unprecedented growth

In just 30 years, China has developed from a poor inward-looking agricultural country to a global manufacturing powerhouse. Its model of investing and producing at home and exporting to developed markets has elevated it to the world’s second-largest economy after the USA.

Now faced with a slowing economy at home, China’s leadership is looking for new channels to sustain its appetite for growth at a time when developing neighbours are experiencing rapidly rising demand.

A new economic paradigm emerges - At the heart of One Belt, One Road lies the creation of an economic land belt that includes countries on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as a maritime road that links China’s port facilities with the African coast, pushing up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. The project aims to redirect the country’s domestic overcapacity and capital for regional infrastructure development to improve trade and relations with Asean, Central Asian and European countries.

read more

China’s ‘Belt and Road’ diplomacy

The program is defined by Chinese policy makers as a multi-billion initiative to link Asia with Europe and Africa, and the countries in between. It came from the ancient Silk Road, the passage from Asia to Europe through some of the most beautiful sights in nature.

It connects China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe (the Baltic), with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean through Central Asia and West Asia, and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean on one route, and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South. It is more than a diplomatic coup by China and if done rightly would unite the world together by creating the physical road to represent the much derided theory of “globalism.”

read more

'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's strategic goals

In a mountain valley in Kashmir, plans are underway for Chinese engineers guarded by Pakistani forces to expand the lofty Karakoram Highway in a project that is stirring diplomatic friction with India.

The work is part of a sprawling Chinese initiative to build a "new Silk Road" of ports, railways and roads to expand trade in a vast arc of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. The Asian Development Bank says the region, home to 60 percent of the world's people, needs more than $26 trillion of such investment by 2030 to keep economies growing.

The initiative is in many ways natural for China, the world's biggest trader. But governments from Washington to Moscow to New Delhi worry Beijing also is trying to build its own political influence and erode theirs.

read more

Belt and Road Initiative attractive to countries promoting free trade

The Belt and Road Initiative will be able to attract those countries which promote free trade and stimulate cooperation between them, a European Union expert has told Xinhua.

"If China and the EU can strengthen their common understanding on free trade, this will help further their cooperation," said Jing Men, professor of the College of Europe.

The Belt and Road Initiative was brought up by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an aim to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

read more

China will seek to tie ambition to reality at 'Silk Road' summit

Proposed in 2013 by President Xi Jinping to promote a vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment, the project is broad on ambition but still short on specifics. Leaders of the 28 nations will gather in Beijing between May 14-15 for the summit which aims to map out a development strategy to expand links between Asia, Africa and Europe.

China has earmarked $40bn (€36bn) to a special fund for the scheme, on top of the $100bn capitalisation for the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), many of whose projects will likely be part of the initiative.

But with a confusing name, that officially refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, added to myriad economic and security risks, clouds hang over the plan.

read more

OBOR's Flagship
OBOR’s Flagship

China leads the world. An international Belt and Road Forum is going to be held in at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing on 13-15 May. The One Belt One Road (OBOR) is the biggest global project of the 21st century. It draws the attention of over 66 countries from across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The main aim of the OBOR is the promotion of connectivity at different levels among nations.

With the rise of China in the past few years, the OBOR has become the grand leap forward to the entire world, underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. The People’s Daily lauded the forum as the “China solution” for the world’s economic woes. OBOR is poised to provide more inclusivity than the Western-led elite clubs and financial institutions. OBOR also promotes south-south cooperation, but at the same time, it does not develop enmity with the West.

The idea of the OBOR was floated in September 2013 when President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan and expounded his will of the revival the ancient Silk Road, which used to be main bridge connecting China with Central Asia, Middle east, and onward to Europe. The geographical route and landscape of these region was changed because of imperialistic policies of the West and instead of connectivity, people of these regions were further divided and subjugated. Moreover, the West and Japan retreated to more protectionist positions, leave the south under-developed.

read more

Mapped: China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative

China in 2013 unveiled its ambitious 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative. Backed by extensive China-led funding, the infrastructure runs through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and developed European economic circle at the other.

The project has two components — the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) that would be established along the Eurasian land corridor from the Pacific coast to the Baltic Sea, and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR).

The SREB focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe (the Baltic); linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and West Asia; and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. The 21st-Century MSR, in turn is designed to go from China's coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and from China's coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other.

read more

Xi Jinping's big road is going to be bumpy

As they have guided China’s remarkable economic ascent over the last four decades, the country’s leaders have largely been content to focus on raising incomes and building factories. They have steered clear of messy international entanglements that could undermine economic progress, and with it the public support that keeps them in power.

Over the past decade, of course, a richer, more confident China has attempted to assert greater global influence. President Xi Jinping has boldly presented himself as a statesman prepared to champion big global causes, from fighting climate change to promoting free trade.

The most visible symbol of Xi’s ambitions is what’s now known as the Belt and Road initiative or One Belt, One Road initiative. The term is something of a catchall, encompassing a set of land and sea trade routes facilitated by new highways, railways, ports, power grids and other infrastructure to better connect China to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South and South-East Asia. A two-day summit this weekend is meant to highlight the grandeur of the scheme, with an impressive guest list of heads of state and other international dignitaries from numerous countries.

read more

China's One Belt, One Road gamble

To demonstrate the sweep and magnitude of its flagship, and historic, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China will play host to two score or more heads of government at a special conclave in Beijing this weekend.

With rare passion and tenacity, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pursued his vision of a new Silk Road with a network of high- speed rail, motorways, pipelines, ports, fibre optic cables, to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia. In September 2013, he proposed a Silk Road Economic Belt, building a transport corridor connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and linking East Asia to South Asia and West Asia.

The following month, he advocated the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Eventually, a new term followed — Yidai Yilu, or One Belt, One Road. (The Road refers to ancient maritime routes between China and Europe; the Belt describes the Silk Road’s better-known trails overland).

read more

One Belt, One Road, One Boondoggle?

China’s surprisingly modest commitment to OBOR is partly a factor of changing economic realities. When the project was announced in 2013, the abundance of Beijing’s foreign reserves meant it had greater luxury to shovel money into politically appealing foreign infrastructure projects. But since then, China’s foreign-exchange reserves have plummeted, capital flight has accelerated, and economic growth has slowed. Under those circumstances, China’s investment priorities have turned inward, and it is more difficult to justify diverting mass capital to foreign projects while the domestic economy is struggling.

Meanwhile, the capital that is leaving China is largely going to markets that are safer, richer, and better developed than those under the OBOR framework. According to data cited by the WSJ, Chinese companies have invested more in the United States since 2014 then the 60-plus countries of the Silk Road combined. In other words, Xi’s regional investment priorities have not translated into a shift in private investors’ decision-making.

For that reason, OBOR may remain dominated by the kind of state-driven, politically motivated, and commercially dubious deals that have backfired on Beijing in the past. China is no better at picking winners than anyone else, as its past boondoggles in Venezuela and Africa remind us. And as The Economist notes, major belt-and-road projects in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan are already running into trouble and causing Beijing headaches.

read more

OBOR Initiative gives hope to developing countries in infrastructure development

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known as Belt and Road Initiative, was proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes. To support the initiative, China has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund.

"I'm so amazed by the initiative and appreciate the wisdom of Chinese President Xi Jinping for launching the initiative," the Cambodian prime minister said during a press conference at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in Phnom Penh.

The World Economic Forum on ASEAN brought together Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, AIIB President Jin Liqun and over 700 senior officials, business executives, academics and civil society representatives from 40 countries and regions.

read more

China's first 'Belt and Road Forum' timely

China’s inaugural “Belt and Road Forum”, to be held from May 14-15, comes at a historic point in the course of economic evolution, said HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd (HSBC).

In a statement, the bank said China would be showcasing major infrastructure projects to advance this ambitious initiative, but the tone to be adopted by world leaders during the dialogue on trade could prove to be just as significant for the initiative.

“The backdrop to the forum is one of uncertainty, as the new US administration is reversing past policies that were designed to increase global economic integration while the UK is trying to negotiate a new relationship with its continental partners in the European Union,” it said.

read more

The Belt and Road Forum
The upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will serve as a powerful reminder of the Belt and Road project’s dedication to win-win international development

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing on May 14 and 15; it will be hosted by President Xi himself, who will address an opening ceremony attended by at least 28 heads of state and more than 60 global organizations. Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif will lead a Pakistani delegation to the forum, and later he will have a meeting with President Xi and attend the round-table summit for leaders.

The forum promises to be the biggest diplomatic event of the year, with greater attendance than both the NATO and the upcoming EUCO summits. The audience of 1,200 people includes UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Ki, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. The summit will have the world's attention, and general perception of the event was aptly described by Bruno Macaes, a partner at the London-based consultancy firm Flint Global, when he said, "I think it's a very important event and occasion, and in some respects, it is becoming as important as the G20 summit."

Undoubtedly, the Belt and Road Forum is a significant event from an economic, political and geopolitical perspective. It also marks China's emergence as a global leader with its own large initiatives. As a global policy co-ordination platform, it is quite similar to the G20 summit. Furthermore, it has also been positively assessed by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council and APEC resolutions and documents. A clearer road-map of the initiative will emerge as more agreements for joint projects are signed between China and the participating countries and organizations at the event.

read more

China invites world leaders to hook up to 'One Belt One Road'
Globalisation is the word on the street as China's capital prepares for President Xi Jinping's much-hyped trade summit of 29 world leaders, to open on Sunday

Billboards and bus stands across the city of 22 million are spelling out the benefits of global trade, international cooperation and economic growth.

The Chinese slogan "One Belt, One Road" dominates headlines. State-controlled social media is pumping out rap and rock songs, and even a bedtime children's story, in an attempt to explain what this actually means.

The shorthand version is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Xi's grand vision to build a modern-day Silk Road connecting China overland to Europe, and by cargo ship to Asia and beyond.

read more

Globalization 2.0: How China’s two-day summit aims to shape a new world order

Last month, oil started flowing from a pipeline in coastal Myanmar to southern China, bypassing the Strait of Malacca choke point through which most of the larger nation’s crude imports pass by ship.

Earlier this year, Africa’s first electric transnational railway began running from landlocked Ethiopia to Djibouti, where China has set up a foreign military outpost. And last year, an inaugural freight train from eastern China arrived in Iran days after the easing of international sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Such projects represent China’s most ambitious steps yet to reshape half the globe into a world order tethered more to its orbit than the United States and Europe’s.

read more

British role sought in China’s new Silk Road
china belt and road

Philip Hammond will head to China this weekend alongside top policymakers and businesses to fly the flag for Britain and lay the groundwork for post-Brexit trade deals.

The Chancellor will attend the two-day “One Belt, One Road” forum in Beijing starting on Sunday, which will showcase China President Xi Jinping’s initiative to forge new trade networks between Europe and Asia.

Mr Hammond will be joined by representatives from the City of London, including officials at HSBC, Standard Chartered, law firm Linklaters and consultancy giant KPMG, as well as 28 heads of state from around the world.

read more

US to Attend China's Belt and Road Forum
Banners promoting the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation are placed between skyscrapers in the central business district in Beijing, May 11, 2017.
Banners promoting the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation are placed between skyscrapers in the central business district in Beijing

In a move that is likely to give a boost to China's Belt and Road Forum, the United States has announced that it will participate in meetings on the initiative beginning this weekend in Beijing.

The decision to attend is part of a 100-day plan and new deal between Washington and Beijing that was initially hammered out when President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping met early last month in Florida.

The interagency delegation from Washington will be led by Matthew Pottinger, a top adviser to the Trump administration and National Security Council senior director for East Asia. China is pleased with the decision.

read more

How Trump gave China’s ‘Belt and Road’ scheme a boost

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ trade development initiative, always ambitious, has been given a boost by American counterpart Donald Trump’s protectionist trade agenda and isolationist diplomacy.

In just a few months, the US leader’s populist policy prescription has helped turn something originally envisaged as a scheme to export Chinese overcapacity into a standard-bearer for globalisation.

Professor Shanjun Li, a Cornell University economist, said Trump’s protectionism could help the belt and road scheme gain legitimacy as a countervailing force promoting international trade in the region.

related:
OBOR offer huge opportunities, also present sources of risk for Chinese banks
How China’s belt and road can be a pathway to more equitable globalisation
The subtle message behind China’s longest round-the-world naval tour
OBOR points way to a 21st-century Renaissance, if China stays true to its vision
On the belt and road, the Chinese civilisation is on the march
How China’s belt and road is transforming Asean
Belt and Road middleman role is a dead end for Hong Kong

read more

China’s Belt and Road Initiative to challenge US-led order

This month, what is likely to be this year’s biggest international summit will convene in Beijing to discuss the world’s most ambitious project. China’s Belt and Road Initiative aims to redefine the global economy of the 21st century by integrating the economies of Europe, Asia and Africa through an unprecedented and powerful network of transport and communications infrastructure.

Some estimates put the price tag at US $ 1 trillion, which would make it one of the biggest — if not the biggest — economic development programme in history, far outspending the United States’ Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II. So it’s no wonder that so many world leaders will be turning up in Beijing to claim a piece of it. China’s foreign minister recently announced that 110 countries would be represented, including no fewer than 28 national leaders. They include the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Philippines from Asia and many others from Europe and Africa. It is going to be a very notable gathering. Among countries not sending their national leaders are the United States, Japan, India, Australia, Singapore and most western European countries. They will all be represented at more junior levels.

It is no coincidence that these countries are aligned with the United States and are uneasy about China’s rise — or perceived to be so. To many people, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is not really about economics at all. Instead it is all about expanding China’s strategic and political influence at the United States’ expense. That’s probably half right, but we should not overlook the powerful economic logic that underpins the geopolitical calculations.

read more

UN to help Belt and Road countries improve national policy capacity

The United Nations plans to take specific steps to help countries along the Belt and Road strengthen their national policy capacity in order to better carry out China's Belt and Road Initiative, a senior UN official said here Tuesday.

"The Belt and Road Initiative has provided a new, open and inclusive platform for international development cooperation, which can make a great contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," Hong Pingfan, director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division (DPAD) in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, told Xinhua in an interview.

The specific UN measures include the DPAD's proposed and recently approved project which will be funded by the UN Peace and Development Trust Fund, he said. The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was brought up by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an aim to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

read more

When It Comes to One Belt One Road, Should We Fight or Learn From China?

Come May 14-15, China will be hosting the One Belt One Road (OBOR) forum meet in which India has decided not to participate. India’s decision to not participate is seen as a protest against China building the China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC), part of which passes through disputed land in Kashmir.

Politics apart, the decision to not be part of a greater economic partnership like this one does not make much sense. In fact, in this age of paradigm shifts when world trade is growing more slowly than the world’s GDP and most developed countries are turning protectionist, it make sense to formulate policies that will help increase international trade. As the Chinese experience has shown, trade can be a powerful instrument for lifting millions out of poverty. Indian policymakers should learn how to make the most of an open economic policy from Chinese policymakers. To understand the why and what of China’s OBOR policy, we will have to go back a few years.

China’s policies have aided its own economic development and also benefitted the Southeast Asian nations it trades with. India should learn from that.

read more

China's big push for its global trade narrative
Screengrab from China Daily video

China's President Xi Jinping intends to tell you a story.

But first he's going to try it out on the world's political leaders. Not those of the United States, Japan, India or much of the European Union. They've declined the invitation.

But this weekend Mr Xi is gathering all the presidents and prime ministers he can muster in Beijing, hoping to inspire them with a vision about China as a force for good in the world.

read more

China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

Saudi Arabia and China could work together and link Saudi Vision 2030 and China’s “One Belt One Road Initiative” for the benefit of both countries, said Ambassador Li Huaxin following a press conference recently at the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.

“If we connect them together, it will create very good opportunities for both sides and not just the two sides, even other sides will benefit from this connection,” he said.

“I can tell you that different government bodies and ministries met to discuss it; they already have some specific projects in this field and hope this will come true very soon.”

read more

Belt and Road forum to promote infrastructure connectivity cooperation
Banners are hung to greet the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, May 7, 2017. Beijing will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14-15. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaogen)

BEIJING, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from May 14 to 15 will push forward cooperation in infrastructure connectivity among participating countries, officials with China's top economic planner said Wednesday.

Over 50 cooperation agreements concerning transportation, energy, and communications are expected to be signed during the forum, said Fei Zhirong, an official from National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The forum will increase connectivity, strengthen management of infrastructure operations and push forward infrastructure connectivity, said Fei.

read more

Belt and Road Initiative brings Chinese, European dreams together

The progress of Belt and Road Initiative has drawn a clear outline of the prospect of win-win cooperation between "Chinese Dream" and "European Dream."

As the China-European cargo trains reach more European countries, China-Europe cooperation should also be taken into consideration in the long run. After the start of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has enhanced cooperation with Europe, and Europe's view on China is also quietly changing.

As Chinese stories are told in Europe, China's opportunities are also widely shared in Europe. The China-European cargo trains not only ship Chinese products to the rest of the world, but also bring back a lot of European products to China.

read more

29 World Leaders to Attend China's Belt and Road Forum

Some 29 Heads of State and Government and other high-ranking officials are attending the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China, announced today Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.

The gathering, scheduled for May 14, 15 in Beijing, marks the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative since China proposed it in 2013.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known as Belt and Road Initiative, was proposed by Beijing with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.

To support the initiative, China has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund. Also a China-Europe cargo train service was set up.

read more

Riding on fruitful forum, confident Xi takes Belt & Road to next level
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets the press after the Leaders' Roundtable Summit at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation at Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets the press after the Leaders' Roundtable Summit at the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation at Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

A two-day forum of world leaders ended Monday with promises and high hopes that the Belt and Road Initiative will be the beginning of the building of a better world.

The initiative was first envisioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to create a new platform for international cooperation. Nearly four years later, the plan came to a crucial juncture this past weekend with the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Facing dozens of reporters at the scenic Yanqi Lake on the outskirts of Beijing Monday, Xi said the forum -- graced by leaders of 30 countries -- concluded with a positive signal that "all are united behind the initiative, and on course for the shared future of mankind."

read more

Xi launches Belt and Road forum to map out new global vision
(BRF)CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-BELT AND ROAD FORUM-KEYNOTE SPEECH(CN)
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)

World leaders gathered in Beijing Sunday for the opening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, to embrace a Chinese solution to stimulate global growth and promote prosperity for all. Addressing the opening of the most prestigious international gathering China has ever launched, President Xi Jinping said the Belt and Road Initiative is "a project of the century" that will benefit people across the world.

A total of 29 foreign heads of state and government leaders attended the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other delegates include officials, entrepreneurs, financiers and journalists from over 130 countries, and representatives of key international organizations, such as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.

The two-day forum, which also features a round-table summit of global leaders on Monday, is one of the highest-level assemblies in today's world.

read more

Full Coverage:
Overseas officials, experts laud China's inspiration of B&R Initiative
Riding on fruitful forum, confident Xi takes Belt & Road to next level
Joint communique of leaders roundtable of Belt and Road forum
China's Belt and Road forum brings bold promises, mixed results
China's new Silk Road promises trade & riches,with President Xi at helm
China scales up financing support for B&R Initiative
China to set up 50 joint laboratories along B&R
Pakistan at Belt and Road summit
30 leaders reaffirm their commitment to Belt and Road
China denounces protectionism, but Europeans rain on Silk Road parade
India can't digest CPEC project: Shahbaz
Spare jackets, no questions for Xi: China works to ensure smooth Silk Road
China's Belt and Road plan wins praise, but some concerns remain
Behind China's Silk Road vision: cheap funds, heavy debt, growing risk
Understanding China's One Belt, One Road Plan
Pakistan daily leaks plans for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
US engineering and construction firms ignore China's Belt and Road forum
China paves promising way with new Silk Road but must win over sceptics
China's high-stakes game poses major challenge to US
The politics of territory
China Welcome All at Silk Road Forum After US Complains Over North Korea
Cambodian official, scholar praise Chinese president's remarks at B&R
Expert says it is possible to minimize financial risks related to Initiative
Xi Jinping primes China to be leader of the free-trade pack
Here's why India skipped China's OBOR summit
Enter the Dragon: Xi Jinping's opening address to B&R forum
China, UNESCO to enhance cooperation on Belt and Road
At B&R Forum, Xi Jinping says all countries should respect sovereignty
Nawaz Sharif in China: Pakistan PM's image abroad receives boost
New Silk Road to be 'project of the century'
China pledges billions of dollars for new Silk Road, 'snubs' absentee India
China pledges $124 B for new Silk Road
China's Xi Says Silk Road Plan Boosts Finance, Security Ties
China Focus: Xi launches Belt & Road forum to map out new global vision
'Belt and Road Initiative' can help slowly heal divisions in the Middle East
India skips Belt and Road forum, warns of unsustainable debt
RM300bil more for Belt-Road
What 'all-weather friends' China, Pakistan said at Belt-Road forum
Can't accept project that ignores core concerns: India on China's OBOR
China, Indonesia agree to step up Belt and Road cooperation
President Xi expects more Belt and Road cooperation with Spain
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan is OBOR flagship
China pledges $124 billion for new Silk Road, says open to everyone
Industrial capacity cooperation along B&R brings win-win results
This Sunday, China will make a $500 billion push to challenge the West
Kenyan president says B&R forum to revitalize Africa-China ties
China wants 'new Silk Road' OBOR project to help it dominate world trade
Reviving the ancient Silk Road: What's the big deal about China's OBOR
China an economic giant, can't ignore OBOR: Nepal
Pakistan, China sign new accords worth billions
China supports UN leading role in global governance: vice president
Industrial capacity cooperation along B&R brings win-win results
As US retreats in Asia-Pacific, China fills the void with ambitious global plan
This Sunday, China will make a $500 billion push to challenge the West
All roads lead to Beijing for Belt and Road Initiative
China champions globalisation with new Silk Road summit
China's 'Silk Road' stirs unease over its strategic goals
One Belt One Road: China-Pakistan warmth, India skips summit
India to skip China's mega Belt & Road Initiative
China, Pakistan ink 6 pacts ahead of B&R summit; Xi says ties priority
I Spent Two Years On China's Belt And Road, And This Is What I Found
China hosts summit on new Silk Road
What to expect from Duterte at China's Belt and Road Forum
S'pore in 'good position' to support China firms on 'Belt and Road'
China, Pak ink six pacts on CPEC
India to boycott China summit amid Kashmir concerns
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Cannot accept project that ignores core
India refuses to be part of Chinas Belt-Road initiative
India & Russia tipped to be the big winners from China's massive OBOR
Pakistan signs nearly $500 million in China deals at Silk Road summit
China must avoid associating with corrupt nations in Belt and Road plan
Can't accept project that ignores core concerns: India on China's OBOR
China welcomes all at Silk Road forum after US complains over N Korea
Xinhua Insight: Xi's Belt and Road vision points way to global prosperity
President Xi expects more Belt and Road cooperation with Spain
Philippines expects to hitchhike onto China's Belt and Road wagon
World's biggest building project aims to make China great again
Globalization2.0:How China's 2-day summit aims to shape new world order
'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's strategic goals
All roads lead to Beijing for Belt and Road Initiative
Ambition to meet reality as China gathers world for Silk Road summit
India could miss out on benefits if it skips OBOR summit: China
For one Chinese city, new Silk Road leaves old problems unsolved
China's Silk Road forum latest effort to boost Xi's stature
KSA's important role in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative
Reviving the ancient Silk Road: What's the big deal about China's OBOR
China's rust belt banks on Silk Road
Duterte in Belt and Road Forum affirms PH back in China's embrace
Sharif brothers in China for OBOR
Nepal too joins OBOR, China experts say India must reconsider stance
US makes U-turn, to participate in One Belt One Road initiative
The United States Is Losing Asia to China
China wary of mentioning Belt and Road investments by country
Xi's $500 billion push to reshape the world in China's image
Why Malaysia supports China's belt and road
US to Attend China's Belt and Road Forum
China ropes in US, Japan for silk road forum
Nawaz Sharif arrives in China to attend Belt and Road Forum
Don't let politics get in the way of China's One Belt One Road initiative
Xi proposes advancing China-Ethiopia ties
$60b invested in B&R nations
China, Poland highlight cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative
Putin to play 'active' role in Belt and Road Forum, cites China partnership
US,South Korea,Japan attend Belt&Road Forum in China,India undecided
Norway expects to promote ties with China within Belt & Road Initiative
China's Belt and Road Initiative to challenge US-led order
Belt and Road Initiative benefits Egypt-China cooperation: expert
Who Is Actually Attending China's Belt and Road Forum?
OBOR Initiative provide new impetus for China-Laos economic cooperation
When It Comes to OBOR, Should We Fight or Learn From China?
PM arrives in Beijing for Belt and Road Forum
China urges India to join One Belt, One Road project
China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on 'Belt and Road Initiative'
US to send delegates to attend Belt & Road Forum in Beijing
Belt and Road Initiative to boost China-Egypt trade
Pakistan PM travels to China to attend Belt and Road Forum
UAE strongly supports China's Belt and Road Initiative
China ropes in US, Japan for silk road forum
China's One Belt, One Road Financing Welcomes Local Currencies
Kuwait, China share enthusiasm on "Belt and Road" economic initiative
Egypt focuses on China for banking expansion in light of OBOR Initiative
5 myths about Chinas One Belt One Road initiative
China's Belt and Road initiative: centrepieces and setbacks
Belt and Road Initiative fits well into world's sustainable development
As China's OBOR Forum Approaches, Initiative Itself Remains Distant Dream
China invites world leaders to hook up to 'One Belt One Road'
China to kick off "One Belt, One Road" project
Duterte: China's One Road project will boost regional 'connectivity'
The firsts achieved under Belt and Road Initiative
Chinese State Media: Belt and Road Forum All About Xi Jinping
China's summit for OBOR missing 44 heads of state from 65 nations involved
China's 'Belt and Road' diplomacy
Challenges, opportunities for Eurasian maritime silk road
Nepal joins China's OBOR initiative
29 World Leaders to Attend China's Belt and Road Forum
Why China's 'Silk Road' plan has spelt unease for India, US, Russia
The $900bn question: What is the Belt and Road initiative?
Children Around the World Just Love Beijing's Trade Policies
UN to help Belt and Road countries improve national policy capacity
China says Silk Road plan is not tied to presidency
For one Chinese city, new Silk Road leaves old problems unsolved
Xi's US$500b push to shape world in China's image
What is the Belt and Road initiative?
World's biggest building project aims to make China great again
China's big push for its global trade narrative
Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?
China's Silk Road forum latest effort to boost Xi's stature
OBOR's Flagship
China will seek to tie ambition to reality at 'Silk Road' summit
Xi's $500 Billion Push to Reshape the World in China's Image
Not Familiar With "Belt and Road"? Here it is Explained Using Children
Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?
Belt and Road Initiative attractive to countries promoting free trade
'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's strategic goals
Child won't sleep? Try explaining Xi Jinping's infrastructure dream to them
How US can work with China on Belt-and-Road
Xi Jinping's Silk Road under threat from one-way traffic
HSBC: China's first 'Belt and Road Forum' timely
Xi Jinping's big road is going to be bumpy
China's One Belt, One Road gamble
OBOR hope to developing countries in infrastructure development
Belt and Road Initiative brings Chinese, European dreams together
Belt and Road forum to promote infrastructure connectivity cooperation
Xi's US$500b push to shape world in China's image
How US can work with China on Belt-and-Road
Xi Jinping's Silk Road under threat from one-way traffic
The $900bn question: What is the Belt and Road initiative?
World's biggest building project aims to make China great again
China's big push for its global trade narrative
Child won't sleep? Try explaining OBOR infrastructure dream to them
Just what is this One Belt, One Road thing anyway?
China's Silk Road forum latest effort to boost Xi's stature
The One Belt One Road explained
China aiming for new era of globalisation
China will seek to tie ambition to reality at 'Silk Road' summit
'Silk Road' plan stirs unease over China's strategic goals
China Now Has a Rail Link Into the Heart of Europe
China's first 'Belt and Road Forum' timely
Belt and Road Initiative attractive to countries promoting free trade
Belt and Road Initiative brings Chinese, European dreams together
China's OBOR initiative
Not Familiar With the "Belt and Road"?
Xi Jinping's big road is going to be bumpy
China pushes back on West's One Belt, One Road narrative
North Korea to attend Belt and Road summit in Beijing: China
Russia to Propose Development of Integration at 'One Belt, One Road'
Nawaz leave for China on Friday to attend OBOR Conference
Nawaz Sharif's visit to boost Sino-Pak relations; promote OBOR
China Belt and Road Initiative for international cooperation
Mapped: China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative
China's OBOR initiative: In giant trade Belt, Road to new growth rush
Singapore can 'partner China in one belt one road initiative'
29 World Leaders to Attend China's Belt and Road Forum
How India can counter China's OBOR, One Belt, One Road, initiative
Greek PM to visit China on May 12-15 for 'Belt and Road Forum'
Use local currencies in China's Silk Road initiative for financial stability
Nepal decides to sign China's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative
China to advance Belt and Road Initiative despite challenges – ministry
Beijing's Expectations from Indonesia through Belt and Road Projects
Beijing ready for upcoming Belt and Road forum: spokesperson
PM to attend Belt and Road Forum in China
PM to visit China to attend belt and road forum
China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative heats up
Norway expects to promote ties with China within Belt & Road Initiative
What is China's One Belt, One Road?
China's One Belt, One Road gamble
India has doubts on China's One Belt, One Road project: Jaitley
'Belt and Road Series' debuts in 6 languages in Beijing ahead of Forum
CE to lead delegation to Belt & Road Forum for International Cooperation
Macau delegation attends the “Belt and Road” Forum in Beijing
Nepal Decides to Join China's One Belt, One Road Initiative
When It Comes to OBOR, Should We Fight or Learn From China?
China urges India to join One Belt, One Road project
China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on 'Belt and Road Initiative'
CE to attend Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
Asia to become new economic center of gravity for China's OBOR Initiative
Putin to play 'active' role in Belt and Road Forum, cites China partnership
UN chief: Belt and Road Initiative China's new vision to global development
Belt and Road Initiative to boost China-Egypt trade
In charts: China's Belt and Road Initiative
Japanese scholars call on gov to participate in OBOR Initiative cooperation
PH seeks 'convergence areas' in China's 'Belt and Road' initiative
Egypt focuses on China for banking expansion in light of OBOR Initiative
5 myths about Chinas One Belt One Road initiative
China Focus: Grasping career opportunities under Belt and Road Initiative
China's Belt and Road initiative: centrepieces and setbacks
Who Is Actually Attending China's Belt and Road Forum?
UAE strongly supports China's Belt and Road Initiative
Belt and Road Initiative fits well into world's sustainable development
Time for China to come clean on its goals for 'Belt and Road Initiative'
China's One Belt, One Road Financing Welcomes Local Currencies
OBOR: Enhancing Regional Economic Cooperation & Global Governance
TAKE A LOOK-China presents its "Silk Road" project to the world
Challenges, opportunities for Eurasian maritime silk road
Nepal's participation in Belt and Road forum to enhance ties
Backgrounder: Projects underway under Belt and Road Initiative
Watch: China's new Silk Road, explained for American children
China's new Silk Road
Belt and Road Forum expected to bring flurry of deals
Duterte: China's One Road project will boost regional 'connectivity'
China, Myanmar must cooperate to overcome challenges on OBOR
Argentina, Chile, Uzbekistan presidents to attend Belt and Road forum
Science cooperation to benefit Belt and Road countries
One Belt, One Road, One Boondoggle?
For one Chinese city, new Silk Road leaves old problems unsolved
One Belt, One Road Opportunity to benefit US companies
North Korea sending team to Silk Road summit, says China
China says Silk Road plan is not tied to presidency
All roads lead to Beijing for Belt and Road Initiative
Belt and Road Initiative benefits Egypt-China cooperation: expert
The Belt and Road Forum: a new way forward
PM to leave for China on Friday to attend One Belt One Road Forum
Who will pay for China's new Silk Road?
Belt and Road forum to address gaps in global economy
Philippines expects to hitchhike onto China's Belt and Road wagon
Italy expresses enormous interest in Belt & Road Initiative
Belt and Road Conference in Milan Previews Beijing Summit
China's official Belt and Road portal goes online
China's One Belt, One Road strategy creates business
ASEAN diplomats welcome China's One Belt, One Road initiative
One Belt, One Road: A brilliant plan - CLSA
One Belt, One Road - The Economist Intelligence Unit
One Belt One Road - CHINA US Focus
Prof. Shi Ze: “One Road & One Belt” & New Thinking With
China's One Belt One Road Initiative - Opportunities for
China's rise as a regional and global power
What exactly is 'one belt, one road'? | Chatham House
One Belt and One Road -Xinhua Finance Agency
One Belt One Road - CHINA US Focus
China's 'One Belt, One Road' Strategy - Defense News
The Trouble With China's 'One Belt One Road' Strategy
Silk Road - CHINA US Focus
China's 'One Belt, One Road' looks to take construction
China's One Belt, One Road initiative could usher in new
China's 'One Belt, One Road' may not benefit all in region
One Belt One Road | CCTV America
One Belt and One Road -Xinhua Finance Agency
The 'One Belt, One Road' study trip: Hong Kong businesses
“One Belt, One Road” | ChinaGoAbroad
China rail to London boosts One Belt, One Road
'China freight train' in first trip to Barking
First China-U.K. Freight Train Departs as Xi Seeks to Lift Trade
China launches first freight train to Britain and will reach London in 18 days
The New Silk Road: China Launches Beijing-London Freight Train Route
China launches freight train to Britain
China's freight train to London travels 12000 km in 18 days
China launches freight-train line to London bid to increase trade with Europe
Port of S'pore risks being disintermediated by China's freight train to London
New China-UK rail link to 'revolutionize' freight movement
China flags off first goods train to London
Freight Train From China to London to Improve Trade Departs Station
China-UK 'blockade buster' export train is on its way to London
The New Silk Route: Freight train from China to Barking launched
China launches first freight train to Britain
China launches first freight train to London
China sends first freight train on 8000-mile journey to London
Freight train sets off on 7500 mile journey from China to Barking
China launches new freight train over 12000 km from Yiwu to London
Asia Briefs: China starts freight train link to London
China flags off 1st goods train to London
China launches first freight train to Britain and will reach London in 18
China launches freight train to Britain
'China freight train' in first trip to Barking
China rail to London boosts One Belt, One Road
First China-U.K. Freight Train Departs as Xi Seeks to Lift Trade
China's freight train to London travels 12,000 km in 18 days
The New Silk Road: China Launches Beijing-London Freight Train
First China-U.K. Freight Train Departs as Xi Seeks to Lift Trade
'China freight train' in first trip to Barking
China launches first freight train to Britain and will reach London in
The New Silk Road: China Launches Beijing-London Freight Train
China launches freight train to Britain
Freight train sets off on 7500 mile journey from China to Barking
Hungary first European country to sign up for China Silk Road plan


China Frictions May See Singapore Miss Out on Belt-Road Billions
China’s plan for a maritime “Silk Road” to Europe is helping channel funds to Southeast Asia for roads, railways and ports. But amid the deals bonanza, one country risks missing out

Despite strong historical and cultural ties to China, the tiny state of Singapore has found itself in Beijing’s crosshairs, in part for its stance over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. As other Southeast Asian leaders lined up to meet President Xi Jinping at a summit in Beijing this week for his Belt-and-Road Initiative, Singapore was represented by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

China views Singapore as being less supportive of Xi’s plan because unlike other countries that announced their leaders would attend without requiring a formal invitation, Singapore sought an invite, according to people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.
“The cooler political relationship between Singapore and China could have ripple effects which influence economic and trade relations,” said Lu Jianren, a researcher at the China-Asean Research Institute at China’s Guangxi University. “Singapore has been less proactive to work with China while many leaders in the region showed greater enthusiasm that they want Beijing to be more involved in Southeast Asian growth.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. “I wouldn’t say we have major problems; we’ve had some issues and some incidents,” Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said of China, in an interview aired by the BBC in March.

read more

Singapore risks being left out of the loop on B&R regional integration

Indeed, on a visit to the US White House in 2013, Lee saw fit to joke about pig soup and pollution at China's expense.

In Chinese, if not Asian culture and diplomatic protocol, this was a big faux pas - all the more so as it occurred in the capital of China's No. 1 strategic rival.

Too often, Singapore, then at the height of its prosperity, seemed to be flaunting its new orientation, without regard for Chinese sensibilities

read more

WHAT BELT AND ROAD SNUB MEANS FOR SINGAPORE’S TIES WITH CHINA
Not invited: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Photo: AFP
Not invited Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Photo: AFP

China’s decision not to invite Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to last weekend’s Belt and Road Forum highlights the still-strained ties between the two countries, observers say, though officials in the Lion City have tried to shrug off talk of any diplomatic rift.

Of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members, only three countries were not represented by their heads of government at the high-level summit in Beijing: Singapore, Thailand and Brunei. Twenty-nine national leaders and the representatives of 28 other countries attended the two-day meeting to discuss the China-led initiative to rebuild the ancient Silk Road trade route through a network of new ports, railways and roads.

The Singapore delegation was led by national development minister Lawrence Wong. In an interview with travelling Singaporean media, Wong revealed that the invitations were decided by China. It was the first official acknowledgement that Lee was not invited.

read more

3 myths about Singapore-China ties
Much chatter online & off has taken place on why Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong did not attend the inaugural Belt & Road Forum in Beijing last weekend

The event organised by China had heads of state & government from 29 countries attending, including 7 out of 10 from Asean. Singapore was represented by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

2 schools of thought prevailed: China snubbed Singapore. No, it was Singapore that didn't want to take part.

3 myths floating out there that merit being plucked from the ocean of misinformation & tossed into the incinerator:
  • SINGAPORE HAS CHANGED ITS STANCE ON CHINA AND NOW ALIGNS ITSELF MORE OVERTLY WITH THE UNITED STATES
  • SINGAPORE IS A CHINESE SOCIETY AND SHOULD BE MORE SYMPATHETIC TO CHINA
  • CHINA IS OUT TO PUNISH SINGAPORE, AND SINGAPOREANS SHOULD FEEL WORRIED ABOUT THIS AND PRESSURE THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE ACCOMMODATING OF CHINA

read more

One Belt, One Road, One Singapore – Analysis
Main routes of the Silk Road. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

In the 14th century, Mongol dominance in Asia resulted in the Pax Mongolica, a framework of peaceful trading relationships straddling the Maritime and Overland Silk Roads, allowing the Kingdom of Singapura to flourish into a wealthy entrepot trading port.

Today, the two roads are severed, and trade between Central Asia and Singapore is tiny, much more so for non-oil merchandise. The low volume of trade is evident considering Central Asia’s landlocked position presents a significant barrier of trade to the maritime trading hub that is Singapore. Today, China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) initiative promises to direct international attention to regional infrastructure development, effectively resurrecting a new Pax Sinica.

This new economic paradigm could well create exciting new opportunities for Singaporean trade and investment in an untapped region. This report will focus on Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and the ways Singapore can capitalize on its unique expertise in the OBOR initiative.

read more

China no longer regards Singapore as a friend: pro-Beijing newspaper

Singapore Prime Minister’s absence from the One Belt One Road forum held in China earlier in May is “a watershed moment in regional affairs and marked the end of the era of amicable ties that Lee’s father, Lee Kuan Yew, had so painstakingly nurtured with Asia’s economic superpower.”

This was the view of “seasoned Asia-watchers”, said the pro-Beijing newspaper, The Global Times.

For the uninitiated, The Global Times is regarded as the vehicle whose “messages are a transmission from within the heart of CCP power.”

read more

PM Lee not invited to Belt and Road forum, is S’pore in trouble?

The high-profile “Belt and Road” Forum recently held in Beijing from May 14 to 15, attended by 29 national leaders and the representatives of 28 other countries, captured the world’s attention with Chinese President Xi Jinping pledging to splash the cash to help revive ancient trade routes and build infrastructure across the region.

The amount of investment planned so far for the initiative is massive – over US$1 trillion.

Even more trade and investment plans – US$113 billion-worth – was announced at the forum on top of previous commitments. It is no wonder that, China’s growing political and economic dominance coupled with the scope of “Belt and Road” has sparked concerns of possible debt-trap diplomacy among countries that have benefited or will benefit from China’s ambitious regional agenda.

read more

What China’s snub of Singapore means

But while nearly half of the 57 countries were not represented by their heads of government, foreign policy experts said Lee’s absence was conspicuous as it provided clues on the extent of the fallout following a protracted diplomatic spat between the two countries over the past year.

Xue Li, a senior research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences think tank, said China’s decision not to invite the Singaporean leader reflected a growing belief in Beijing that the Lion City sought only economic benefits from China, while “relying on the US for security”.

“China is gradually recognising this and therefore doesn’t really care if the Singapore PM attended or not,” Xue said.

read more

Singapore May Miss Out on Belt-Road Billions
China Snub Means Singapore May Miss Out on Belt-Road Billions

China’s plan for a maritime “Silk Road” to Europe is helping channel funds to Southeast Asia for roads, railways and ports.

But amid the deals bonanza, one country risks missing out. Despite strong historical and cultural ties to China, the tiny state of Singapore has found itself in Beijing’s crosshairs, in part for its stance over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

As other Southeast Asian leaders lined up to meet President Xi Jinping at a summit in Beijing this week for his Belt-and-Road Initiative, Singapore was represented by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. China views Singapore as being less supportive of Xi’s plan.

read more

How China snubbed Singapore at the Belt and Road summit

Among the 29 Heads of State who converged on Beijing for the Belt and Road Summit earlier this week were leaders of seven of the ten ASEAN states. One leader was noticeably missing: Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Various observers have noted this absence, including Hugh White, who suggested it was no co-incidence that, like others - Japan, India, Australia and ‘most western countries’ - who had not sent their national leaders to Beijing, Singapore was aligned with the US and uneasy about China’s rise – ‘or perceived to be so’.

However, it has since emerged that Singapore was never given the choice. China had not invited Singapore’s prime minister in the first place. This is surprising, especially as Singapore has been one of the biggest advocates of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While many other states were initially hesitant in signing up to BRI, including some of its ASEAN neighbours, Singapore’s support has been unequivocal from the beginning. Many high-level co-operation talks between China and Singapore on the subject have taken place, with both sides warmly welcoming cooperation on BRI.

In light of this past co-operation, Beijing’s snub is significant. It is fair to conclude that, if China continues to freeze out Singapore, there could be significant implications on at least three levels:
  • What it might mean for Sino-Singapore relations
  • Implications for other middle powers
  • Implications for China’s role in the world

read more

PM Lee’s absence in B&R forum in Beijing – is China still throwing a tantrum?

The reply by Minister of National Development, Lawrence Wong, was a curious and perhaps a telling one.

When asked by reporters on Tuesday why Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was not attending the Belt and Road forum in Beijing, Mr Wong said “the invitation was decided by the Chinese”, according to the Straits TimesMr Wong did not seem to have elaborated on his answer.

PM Lee’s absence has not gone unnoticed, given how several leaders from Asean countries were among the 29 heads of states who apparently were invited and attended the forum which ran from 14-15 May. Considering that the forum was also an important one, for China especially, the fact that PM Lee was not there is quite curious. After all, Singapore and China share, at least according to official statements, “deep ties’.

read more

Will Singapore be the biggest loser from China's One-Belt-One-Road initiative given that its trade routes can be bypassed?

As a Singaporean, I am worried. China is doing what is in her interests.

So, even if Singapore ends up being destroyed, we have ourselves to blame for not responding to this threat.

Don’t blame China. It would be nice if answers can suggest how Singapore can adapt to this threat.

related: Will Singapore falter after One belt one road initiative?

read more

One Belt, One Road – Analysis

In 2015, Singapore exported US$61.3 million worth of goods and services to Central Asia, while importing US$6.1 million, representing 0.015 percent of Singapore’s total exports and 0.002 percent of total imports; and 0.07 percent of Central Asia’s total exports and 0.009 percent of total imports.

While Singapore is a global trading and investment powerhouse, business experience and exposure in Central Asia has never been strong. In 2014, only 32 enterprises in Uzbekistan operated with Singaporean capital, and Singapore contributed only US$50 million of direct investment to Kazakhstan over the last ten years in contrast to US$604 billion of total foreign direct investment in 2014 alone.

Central Asia is not directly connected to Singapore, and land routes to ports in the region are scant. However, as the One Road-One Belt Initiative links Central Asia to China’s eastern seaboard, Gwadar port and even the impending sanction-free Iran; inter-regional trade is awash with new connections and opportunities.

read more

World’s largest automated port to become operational by year end

The Yangshan Port is part of a concerted effort of backward integration with hinterland cities and towns in the prosperous Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone, which contributes about 100 million TEUs to the port, said Fang Huaijin, vice president of the Shanghai International Port Group.

A comprehensive logistic network has formed along the Yangtze River, covering 22 projects from 12 cities and regions, including Nanjing, Jiujiang, Wuhan, and Chongqing, Fang added.

The port is now seeking opportunities along the Maritime Silk Road, Fang disclosed, adding that the fourth phase of the Yangshan Deep-Water Port will serve as the gold standard for ports that want to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.

read more

South China Morning Post SCMP 19 hrs
Why wasn't Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong invited to China's Belt and Road Summit?

read more

China's Belt and Road project could bring opportunities and challenges to S'pore: Minister Lawrence Wong

When asked why Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did not attend the Belt & Road Forum, which was attended by 29 heads of state & government, including many from South-east Asia, Mr Wong said the invitation was decided by the Chinese.

He noted that the focus of the forum was on outbound investments, & in getting Chinese investments abroad and encouraging Chinese companies to go overseas.

"We don't have any specific projects as of now that may be part of this Belt & Road (initiative) in terms of infrastructure," he said.

read more

The PM wasn’t invited to Beijing

IT DIDN’T escape notice that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wasn’t at the biggest diplomatic event held in China over the weekend. The guest list was filled with luminaries including his counterparts in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. There were in all 29 heads of state or government. Singapore was represented instead by Minister Lawrence Wong.
Asked why the PM Lee wasn’t there, he said that the invitation was decided by the Chinese.
So on Sunday, PM Lee was giving out flowers to his Ang Mo Kio constituents on the occasion of Mother’s Day, rather than hobnobbing with other leaders over what seemed to be the most ambitious economic project in recent time.

His absence in Beijing is intriguing and only serves to raise questions about whether Singapore and China had papered over their differences since the seizure of Singapore Armed Forces vehicles by Hong Kong authorities in November last year. Or are the Chinese still pissed off at Singapore’s lack of empathy over its position on the South China Sea?

read more

Straits Times: 3 myths about Singapore-China ties
“First, Singapore hasn’t changed in its foreign policy. It is China that has changed its view and demands on Singapore.”

China’s investments in Malaysia take “decades” to be developed:
  • "As for the Belt and Road displacing the Malacca Strait as the premier shipping belt, it would take many more years for that to happen, if not decades. Meanwhile, even as port projects are being planned around Malaysia and Indochina – presumably as alternatives to Singapore – port planners here aren’t keeping still. Singapore was named maritime capital of the world for the third time this year.”
  • "At the same time, China is still far too dependent on imports through the Malacca Strait to seriously oppose Singapore. The seizing of goods in ports can, after all, easily be done by both parties."
  • “China does not have much power to put Singapore back in line, as Chinese economic statecraft so far has been relatively unsuccessful. Singapore is also in a very different position from its neighbouring countries as it manages an advanced economy and many international security relationships across the world.”

read more
OBOR International Forum Vs Mother's Day

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong not invited
The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Indonesia’s Joko Widodo and Malaysia’s Najib Razak in a photo shared on Najib’s Twitter account. Photo: Twitter

According to China state media South China Morning Post (SCMP), the China central government has confirmed that Lee Hsien Loong was deliberately left out of the invitation at the Belt and Road forum.

Of the 10 ASEAN countries, Singapore Prime Minister’s absence is painfully conspicuous because Singapore is supposed to take over the ASEAN Chairmanship next year (2018).

When interviewed by a foreign media why he was not invited to the China meeting, Lee Hsien Loong gave an awkward silence.

related: Singapore as a 21st century maritime silk road
Picture

LET'S NOT BEAT around the bush. PM Lee Hsien Loong's absence at the New Silk Road summit currently taking place in China is a big deal.

Was he not invited or did he elect not to attend (and despatched National Development Minister Lawrence Wong instead)? The former seems the more plausible account. Either way, the development can only be described as doomy.

The summit, attended by 28 heads of government, is Beijing's way of announcing its intention of breaking out from under the United State's world domination, at least in the sphere of trade and commerce. Here are are five ways Beijing is doing this:
  • Melaka Gateway
  • East Coast Railway Line (ECRL)
  • New Silk Road
  • Arctic Route
  • Kra Canal
read more

Singapore Stumbles on China's Road
China Frictions May See Singapore Miss Out on Belt-Road Billions

Despite strong historical and cultural ties to China, the tiny state of Singapore has found itself in Beijing’s crosshairs, in part for its stance over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. As other Southeast Asian leaders lined up to meet President Xi Jinping at a summit in Beijing this week for his Belt-and-Road Initiative, Singapore was represented by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

China views Singapore as being less supportive of Xi’s plan because unlike other countries that announced their leaders would attend without requiring a formal invitation, Singapore sought an invite, according to people familiar with the matter. They asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information.
“The cooler political relationship between Singapore and China could have ripple effects which influence economic and trade relations,” said Lu Jianren, a researcher at the China-Asean Research Institute at China’s Guangxi University. “Singapore has been less proactive to work with China while many leaders in the region showed greater enthusiasm that they want Beijing to be more involved in Southeast Asian growth.”

read more

New Silk Road 新絲綢之路 Xīn sīchóu zhī lù
The "One Belt, One Road" 一带一路 initiative
Arctic shipping: The Northwest Passage
Singapore And The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
Singapore - China Bilateral Ties
The Little Red Dot and the Red Dragon
Singapore China G-to-G Projects