Struggle over the Silk Road

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BERLIN/ROME/BEIJING (Own repot) – The West’s power struggle against China is provoking new tensions between Germany and Italy. According to reports published last week, the Italian government plans to conclude a cooperation agreement with Beijing within the framework of the “New Silk Road” (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) to benefit from Chinese investments in Italy’s infrastructure, e.g. the Trieste port and Italy’s power grid. China has already invested in several of the EU’s periphery countries, heavily affected by Berlin’s austerity dictate – such as Greece and Portugal – which gladly welcome these investments as relief. The German government is now beginning to make moves against this. Berlin seeks to prevent the People’s Republic of China from increasing its influence within the EU and fears inner-European resistance if it takes aggressive action against its East Asian rival. Fierce debates are expected at the EU summit at the end of next week and at the EU-China summit on April 9. Continue reading

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

The Arctic Silk Road: A Huge Leap Forward for China and Russia

 

The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China’s initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia.

Involving about 65 countries and affecting 4.4 billion people, constituting thirty percent of the world’s GDP, together with a total investment from Beijing that could surpass a trillion dollars, the is an immense project that requires a lot of imagination to grasp the intentions of the Chinese leadership. With a host of projects already in progress, and some almost completed (the Sino-Pakistan Corridor known as CPEC is archetypical), the overland and maritime routes are developing side by side. Plenty of ink has been used detailing Beijing’s intentions regarding the East-West connections of the super Eurasian continent. Pipelines, railway lines, fiber-optic cables, telecommunications infrastructure and highways dominate discussions, together with talks about costs, feasibility studies, the question of security, and the return on investment. The land Silk Road is certainly an imposing challenge that is not just commercial in nature but sets the foundation for greater cultural and social integration between neighbouring countries. It is a project that in the long term aims to blend together the Eurasian continent and overcome the contradictions contained therein through win-win cooperation and economic development. Continue reading

The Limits of the Dictates

BERLIN/ATHENS/BELGRADE/BEIJING (Own report) – Berlin’s austerity dictate, ruthlessly imposed on Athens, is suffering its first blowbacks, weakening German hegemony over the EU. The China Ocean Shipping Company’s (COSCO) purchase of stakes in the Piraeus Port Authority, Athens had been forced to sell under pressure from Berlin and Brussels, is one example. COSCO, which had already acquired a small share in 2009, has been upgrading the port with investments in the three-digit millions. In the meantime, Piraeus has become Europe’s eighth largest port and is among the top 40 worldwide. Greece, which economically has been completely ruined by the austerity dictates, is hoping for more Chinese investments – and is no longer willing to participate in the EU’s routine official condemnation of China at the UN Human Rights Council. A similar development can be seen with Serbia. As part of its “Silk Road” initiative, China is planning to upgrade the rail line between Belgrade and Budapest. For the Serbian government, this offers hopes for a long term recovery. Brussels has now launched a probe into this project. According to experts, a policy based solely on austerity dictates and open pressure, as has been pursued by Berlin and the EU, can no longer be successful “in a multi-polar world.”

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China’s Project of the Century

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin und Brussels are obstructing China’s “New Silk Road” mega project. Last Sunday, the EU refused to sign a declaration pertaining to this project at an international summit in Beijing with representatives from more than 100 countries, including 29 heads of states and governments. Beijing plans to invest trillions in this project to develop overland and maritime transport corridors from East Asia to Europe. It is considered one of today’s most important economic-strategic projects. A similar project, initiated by Berlin and Brussels in 1993 was a failure. China seeks new markets for its economy, but also seeks to consolidate unstable regions in the West of the People’s Republic. The “New Silk Road” is intended to closely connect the economies in Europe and Asia – without the United States, which had opposed it. German interests are contradictory: While business circles hope for new profits through intensified cooperation, China’s rise, propelled by this project, is challenging Germany and the EU’s geopolitical interests. Thus, Berlin and Brussels are taking an ambivalent position. Continue reading

Panama Opens Canal Expansion

Panama officially opened an addition to its fabled sea canal Sunday for a new generation of super cargo ships, capping a nine-year, $5.4 billion expansion project that will double shipping capacity and impact global trade routes.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela unveiled the refurbished canal as the giant container ship Cosco Shipping Panama made its way through a string of locks on the 77-kilometer Isthmus of Panama. “This the route that unites the world,” Varela told a crowd of about 30,000 people who gathered to witness the inaugural trip through the vital waterway. Continue reading

China Establishes Its Silk Road in Greece by Purchasing the Port of Piraeus

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Opening a gateway to Europe is a ‘once-in-a-thousand-year opportunity’ for China.

In October 2009, government-owned China Ocean Shipping Company (cosco) took over one of two piers in the Port of Piraeus from its Greek authorities. Since then, cosco worked to increase the annual container volume nearly 10-fold. Finally, after waiting seven years, Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (obor) initiative took a step further when cosco purchased full control of the Port of Piraeus on April 8. Continue reading

China’s COSCO among bidders for Cyprus port operations

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Chinese shipping company COSCO is among the companies which will be invited to submit details of their plans for taking up sections of Limassol port commercial operations, state radio reported on Sunday.

The report quoted Cyprus Port Authority president Alecos Michaelides as saying that the country’s Ministry of Transport has made a shortlist from among over 70 operators who had responded to an invitation in June for the commercial development of Cyprus’ main port of Limassol. Continue reading

Greece in advanced talks with China’s Cosco on Piraeus port

May 15 Greece is in advanced discussions with China’s Cosco to boost their cooperation in the country’s biggest port Piraeus , the Greek defence minister said on Friday.

Cosco, which currently manages two container piers at Piraeus Port, is also interested in acquiring a majority stake. Athens has put the port up for sale. Continue reading

Greece to finalise airports deal ‘immediately’ – source

…and Greek further capitulates to Germany’s Fourth Reich. If they ever get tired of being a German vassal state and decide to go with the economic ‘nuclear option’, don’t be shocked to find Russian military bases and Chinese owned shipping ports within Greek territory.

 

(Reuters) – Greece will finalise “immediately” a 1.2-billion-euro (£883.2 million) deal with Fraport (FRAG.DE) to run regional airports and reopen bidding for a majority stake in Piraeus port (Rolph.AT), a senior privatisations official said on Tuesday.

The asset sales had been in doubt after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist-led government took power in January but may be the latest concessions offered by his government to try to secure more bailout cash from international creditors. Continue reading

One Port, Two Worlds: China Seeks Dominance in Athens Harbor

Russia and China are both successfully putting a wedge between America and Europe. With their tightening grip on Athens, Europe is threatened in its own homeland and will eventually decide to turn their backs on America. The alternative is to risk potential military conflict with Russia. In the future you will likely see a third marriage between Russia and Europe — and Russian military bases in Greece.

 

A Chinese executive with shipping company Cosco has helped transform part of Athen’s Port of Piraeus into a success story. The multinational firm now has a controversial plan to acquire the whole facility and put it on track to join the ranks of Hamburg and Rotterdam.

One could argue that China’s long path to Piraeus, Greece, began on April 27, 1961. It’s the day Mao Zedong founded the communist state’s first freight company, the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO). The Great Leap Forward, Mao’s plan for industrialization, had proven to be a disaster at the time, leaving millions dead or starving. With Cosco, China had its eyes on overseas markets.

Almost 54 years later, the company is steering toward a major prize in Greece. After lengthy wavering, the Greek government– comprised of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his far-left Syriza party and the right-wing populist Independent Greeks — has announced it will be selling the majority of its share in Athens’ Piraeus Port Authority. So far, Cosco is the most promising bidder. Continue reading

China Expects to Win Control of Biggest Greek Port Dubbed ‘Gateway to Europe’

Chinese government-owned shipping and logistics giant COSCO is expected to complete the purchase of a controlling stake in Piraeus Port as it continues to take advantage of Greece’s privatisation programme.

Speaking at a conference in Athens, China’s ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli urged Chinese companies to explore further opportunities to invest in the beleaguered Mediterranean nation, which, as a condition of its bailout programme, is auctioning any saleable assets that remain in public control.

China views Greece as being a potential logistical hub, as it seeks to boost trade into Europe. Piraeus, being one of Europe’s largest passenger ports and the largest container port in the Eastern Mediterranean, is at the heart of its plans. Continue reading

With Friends Like These…

Union Names Chinese Premier ‘Best Friend of American Worker’

At the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular press conference last week, spokesperson Liu Weimin’s revealed that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was awarded ”the Best Friend of American Worker” by the US International Longshoremen’s Association. The Chinese ambassador to the United States reportedly received the award on his behalf. Liu explained:

It is learned that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the cooperation between China Cosco Group and the US port of Boston. The past decade has witnessed sound cooperation between the two sides, which sustains and creates a large amount of job opportunities for Boston. It reflects the mutually beneficial nature of China-US economic cooperation and trade. The award presented by the US International Longshoremen’s Association to Premier Wen Jiabao is to thank the Chinese Government for its efforts to encourage Chinese enterprises’ investment in the US and to promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade. This gratitude is sincere and heartfelt. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Port of Boston during his visit to the US in 2003.

Full article: With Friends Like These… (Washington Free Beacon)