China to revive ‘Southern Silk Road’

A partial unification of Asia begins, under the Chinese umbrella.

KUNMING – China is looking to revive the ancient “Southern Silk Road” linking its southwestern regions with Southeast and South Asia, as it aims to boost cooperation with countries along the once-booming trade route.

China has had trade, religious and cultural exchanges with South Asian countries by way of the “Southern Silk Road” since ancient times, Dilip Barua, Minister for Industries of Bangladesh, said at the ongoing 8th China-South Asia Business Forum in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, the ancient trade route, stretching over 2,000 kilometers long, was dubbed the “Southern Silk Road” by historians. Continue reading

Myanmar’s ‘goldrush’ lures foreigners

It is an expat “goldrush” driven by the promise of an economic boom after the rollback of many sanctions following the end of decades of junta rule.

However, some, at least, are also drawn by a commitment to help rebuild the impoverished nation.

The once-empty Western bars of central Yangon are now doing a roaring trade, hotels are fully booked and networking nights thrum with the chatter of new arrivals hungry for contacts in the city. Continue reading

Roll Back China’s Influence

NAYPYIDAW/BERLIN (Own report) – The German Foreign Ministry is strengthening Berlin’s anti-China position in Southeast Asia, through a new training program for employees of several of Myanmar’s ministries. If one seeks to “roll back” the influence of the People’s Republic of China, Myanmar is “a very interesting partner,” affirmed a specialist on Southeast Asia at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. The German government is expanding cooperation with that country accordingly, and in addition to broadening cooperation on political projects, seeks particularly to enhance its economic influence. The EU recently lifted the economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar due also to German pressure. The German Ministry of the Economy is supporting new business deals. Critics’ indications that the economic opening of the country serves western enterprises and the local elite in the entourage of its military rulers, have as little effect as the human rights organizations’ protests, accusing the government in Naypyidaw of tolerating pogroms against the Muslim minority. They have been demanding – to no avail – that the EU take appropriate measures. Continue reading

Latin America File: Russia hails formation of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, “anti-imperialist” regional bloc embraces Cuba, excludes USA and Canada, widely perceived as counterweight to OAS; Pravda praises “socialist tide sweeping” South America

While most eyes have been fixated on China, Russia, Europe or the middle east over the years; in our own backyard Latin America has been forming into a regional hegemonic bloc, threat and challenge to the United States.

Finally, Pravda notes with satisfaction the devotion of Latin America’s Red Axis leaders to Russia, Cuba, China, and Iran, as well as regional integration:

Chavez, Morales and Correa are charismatic leaders who have gained global admiration and support. They favor a multi-polar world, anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism. They share strong ties to other Latin American countries, Cuba, China, Russia and Iran.

Latin American strength is founded on unification. Chavez, Morales and Correa are fiery champions of ALBA (Alliance for the Peoples of our America), UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and the newly created CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). Latin America has its own virtual currency, the SUCRE, and its own regional bank, BANCO DEL SUR.

Something tells me, though, that even if a Republican returns to the White House in 2013, Washington’s response to the “Red Spread” south of the border will be piecemeal at best. The Oval Office needs the robust ideological presence of another Ronald Reagan, in our opinion, America’s last great president.

Incidentally, Communist China, which had virtually no presence in Latin America and the Caribbean during the Cold War, has carved out new niches in this region, including one that suggests a “Red Cocaine” scenario.

Earlier this month, the Mexican navy reported the seizure of 195 tons of methylamine, a chemical used to make the synthetic drug methamphetamine, as well as synthetic cocaine. Mexican authorities found 12 shipping containers full of this precursor chemical at the Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas. The shipment originated in Red China and was destined for Guatemala and Nicaragua. Mexican navy officials said the drug cartels terrorizing their country have expanded their methamphetamine operations to Guatemala. Not so coincidentally, the port facility at Lazaro Cardenas is operated by Hutchison-Whampoa, which is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, who in turn is closely allied with the Communist Party of China.

According to a 2011 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the world’s main producers of synthetic drugs remain the Netherlands and Myanmar (Burma), but manufacture has lately spread to Latin America.

Continue reading article: Latin America File: Russia hails formation of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, “anti-imperialist” regional bloc embraces Cuba, excludes USA and Canada, widely perceived as counterweight to OAS; Pravda praises “socialist tide sweeping” South America (Once Upon A Time in the West)

Vietnam bids to join SCO

Today’s very big news story is most likely not seen in the news as it’s a huge Obama administration failure. While Hillary Clinton is out wasting time in Myanmar (Burma), a country that will likely not break ranks with China, Vietnam gets sucked into the SCO camp. This country has historically been a key ally in the region for containment of China. With America’s economic, political and military clout in continued decline, look for this trend to continue with other neighboring countries following suit as the decrease in confidence of the US defense umbrella signals a need to search for another protectorate.

Vietnam has indicated its desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in a fresh sign of the rapidly growing clout and appeal of the Eurasian security body.

“Hanoi has signalled its intention to seek the status of ‘dialogue partner’ in the SCO,” said Kirill Barsky, special envoy of the Russian President to the SCO.

Vietnamese authorities conveyed their aspiration to Mr. Barsky during his recent trip to Hanoi. Earlier this year Turkey applied for a similar status.

The SCO, set up 10 years ago, has six full members – China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four “observer” states – India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, and two “dialogue partners” – Belarus and Sri Lanka. After the SCO lifted its moratorium on admission of new members last year, India, Pakistan and Iran have sought to upgrade their observer status to full membership. However, under the SCO rules Iran stands disqualified for now because it is under United Nations sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Mr. Barsky did not rule out that India and Pakistan may be granted membership at the SCO’s next annual summit in Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2012.

Continue reading article: Vietnam bids to join SCO (The Hindu)