World China using 'debtbook diplomacy' to spread strategic aims in Asia Pacific

04:26  16 may  2018
04:26  16 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Kim Jong-un Returns to China for Another Meeting With Xi Jinping

  Kim Jong-un Returns to China for Another Meeting With Xi Jinping The meeting between the North Korean and Chinese leaders came as China tries to regain a central role in the fast-moving diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula. It was announced on China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, which said that Mr. Kim arrived in Dalian on Monday and left on Tuesday.Sign Up For the Morning Briefing NewsletterThe visit came just before China’s premier, Li Keqiang, was scheduled to go to Tokyo on Wednesday to meet President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. The three are expected to discuss North Korean denuclearization among other issues.Chinese analysts speculated that Mr.

Students of the Harvard Kennedy school have published an academic report to be handed to the US state department, in which they have detailed China ’s so-called “ debtbook diplomacy ,” as well as outlined the second largest economy’s presumed strategy to battle the US’s leverage in the region.

The US report identifies 16 states vulnerable to China 's so-called " debtbook diplomacy " and “ China ’s public-inner most financial model enables it to convert financial debt into strategic economically and militarily within the Asia Pacific in a advise to displace the US as the regional

In this photograph taken on February 10, 2015, shows a general view of the port facility at Hambantota. © LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images In this photograph taken on February 10, 2015, shows a general view of the port facility at Hambantota.

The Chinese government is leveraging billions of dollars in debts to gain political leverage with developing countries across Asia and the Pacific, a new report presented to the US State Department claims.

The independent report, written by a pair of Harvard University scholars, identified 16 countries targeted by the Chinese government for "debtbook diplomacy, " with Pakistan, Djibouti and Sri Lanka identified as being most vulnerable.

According to the report, in some cases the huge debts grow to a size too large to pay back, allowing Beijing to leverage the loans to "acquire strategic assets or political influence over debtor nations."

'Strategically comforting and tactically terrifying': Chinese leaders are wary of Trump — but they still see an opportunity

  'Strategically comforting and tactically terrifying': Chinese leaders are wary of Trump — but they still see an opportunity Foreign governments are uncertain about President Donald Trump. China, as a rising power, sees his missteps as opportunities to expand its influence. But Trump's unpredictability 1/3 SLIDES © Provided by Business Insider trump xi china us

China ’s “ debtbook diplomacy ” uses strategic debts to gain political leverage with economically vulnerable countries across the Asia - Pacific region, the US state department has been warned in an independent report.

Features Diplomacy East Asia China . Through these new initiatives, Beijing aims to create a new international environment that is more favorable to China , one that will limit strategic pressures from the United States.

This could allow the Chinese government to extend its influence across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, encircling India and Australia as well as helping to consolidate its position in the South China Sea, the report said.

Last month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he viewed "with great concern" any foreign military bases being built in the South Pacific, following reports Beijing was in talks with Vanuatu to host Chinese forces.

According to the new report, Vanuatu, just 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) off Australia's coast, has taken at least $270 million in Chinese loans in the past decade, worth 35% of its GDP. Both China and Vanuatu have strongly denied there were ever discussions over a PLA military presence on the island.

Trump says he'll will speak to Xi Jinping after Kim Jong Un makes surprise visit to China

  Trump says he'll will speak to Xi Jinping after Kim Jong Un makes surprise visit to China <p>"I will be speaking to my friend, President Xi of China," President Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.</p>"I will be speaking to my friend, President Xi of China, this morning at 8:30. The primary topics will be Trade, where good things will happen, and North Korea, where relationships and trust are building," Trump tweeted.

China ’s FTA Strategy . Beijing takes a strategic approach on free trade agreements, particularly in For instance, RCEP incorporates a range of Asia - Pacific countries, such as ASEAN, Australia At the same time, China aims to further integrate with other economies, such as in Latin America and Europe.

Chinese construction in the South China sea has triggered alarm at its growing power and influence across the Asia Pacific . The US State Department report says debtbook diplomacy is "likely to play an important role in China 's multifaceted campaign to erode strategic advantages" of America and its

There is also concern in Washington that China is poised to gain control of a major commercial port in Djibouti, where the US and China have military bases.

A US State Department official told CNN Tuesday it encouraged China to promote and uphold internationally accepted best practices in infrastructure development and funding.

"We need to ensure recipients have options that allow them to retain their sovereignty and future control of their economies," the official said.

Sri Lankan construction workers operate heavy equipment at the base of the Hambantota port August 1, 2010. © ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Sri Lankan construction workers operate heavy equipment at the base of the Hambantota port August 1, 2010. 'Subsidiaries of China'

According to the report, there are a number of ways in which Beijing and state-owned enterprises leverage debt to help China's strategic aims.

In one case, infrastructure built with Chinese loans, has then been leased back to Chinese interests to pay off the original debt.

China air force lands bombers on South China Sea island

  China air force lands bombers on South China Sea island China's air force has landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region, it said in a statement. "A division of the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to 'reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions'," it said in the statement issued on Friday.

Since then, China has become convinced that the U.S. strategy is aimed primarily at containing its rising influence. The State Department devotes just 8 percent of its diplomatic engagement budget to its Asia - Pacific bureaus and 4 percent of aid money to a region which accounts for 33 percent of

I argue that seven major strategic shifts will determine China ’s strategic behavior and Asia ’s India has been economically and strategically rebalancing toward the Asia - Pacific for nearly two For its part, Russia is using its vast energy resources to stage a comeback on the world stage.

In 2017, an unprofitable Sri Lankan port built with billion-dollar loans from Beijing was leased to Chinese state-owned firms for 99 years to help repay the country's debts.

The report's co-author Sam Parker said there were concerns these ports could be used by Chinese naval vessels once they were under state control. "There's definitely the potential where they can have it go from commercial, to occasional visit, to logistics, to humanitarian and then maybe finally a military base," he said.

In the Pacific, nations such as Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Tonga all owe the Chinese government billions of dollars in loans, encircling US allies Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile Chefitz said Beijing has used infrastructure incentives in the South China Sea to help break any broad opposition to the Chinese government's territorial ambitions in the contested sea.

Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans is quoted in the report saying Laos and Cambodia, each of which has borrowed more than $5 billion, are now "wholly owned subsidiaries of China."

UPDATE 1-Philippines expresses "serious concern" over Chinese bombers in disputed South China Sea

  UPDATE 1-Philippines expresses The Philippines expressed "serious concerns" over the presence of China's strategic bombers in the disputed South China Sea and its foreign ministry has taken "appropriate diplomatic action", the spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday China's air force said bombers such as the H-6K had landed and taken off from islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of training exercises last week, drawing angry reactions from opposition lawmakers in Manila. The United States also sent ships to the disputed areas.

Other Chinese economic diplomacy initiatives have yet to win broad-based support, too. Second, the purported geo- strategic competition between China and the United States and its Andrew Cainey Associate Fellow, Asia - Pacific Programme and Global Economy & Finance at Chatham House.

The US report says debtbook diplomacy is “likely to play an important role in China ’s multifaceted campaign to erode strategic advantages” of America and its allies and shift the balance of power in Asia . Dani Gotz on US to use Chinese -funded Santo wharf in military exercise later this year.

The US State Department will be briefed on the report in the near future. But both authors said there appeared to be nothing the United States could do to offset China's growing advantage.

"The US government isn't going to throw 1 trillion dollars at this problem. It's not going to absorb the debt of our private sector companies and it won't be able to focus the entire government in one effort for 20, 30 or 50 years as China is able to do," Chefitz said.

At his daily press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said said China's foreign policy was based on "mutual respect and win-win cooperation."

"As for other parties, they shouldn't be presumptuous based on their own views -- nor should they assume economic cooperation between developing countries always have ulterior political motives," he said.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports & Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe exchanges souvenirs during the Hambantota International Port Concession Agreement at a signing ceremony in Colombo in 2017. © LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports & Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe exchanges souvenirs during the Hambantota International Port Concession Agreement at a signing ceremony in Colombo in 2017.

Motives unknown

Many of the loans are being given out as part of China's signature Belt and Road infrastructure program, which gives loans to developing nations to fund ports, railways and other initiatives across Asia, Europe and Africa.

Report co-author and Harvard scholar Gabrielle Chefitz said the loans under the Belt and Road plan, as well as China's other development grants, take a very different form to previous US programs such as the Marshall Plan.

"The Marshall plan was largely grants whereas China is giving this money and expecting something in return," she told CNN.

"And because of the relationship between the state and these companies, it's able to get returns which aren't wholly economic, which are strategic in nature ... like a veto in ASEAN, like a port, or a vote at the United Nations."

But Merriden Varrall, director at the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program director, told CNN there was still a lack of evidence as to how China was utilizing its loans around the region.

"Nobody knows what China's motives are, presumably they're not simply altruistic, Australia's interests in providing aid and investment are certainly not purely altruistic either," she said.

China launches satellite to explore dark side of moon: Xinhua .
China launched a relay satellite early on Monday designed to establish a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon, the official Xinhua news agency said. Citing the China National Space Administration, Xinhua said the satellite was launched at 5:28 a.m. (2128 GMT Sunday) on a Long March-4C rocket from the Xichang launch center in the southwest of the country.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
This is interesting!