China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang has begun a three-day visit to Greece to sign trade and investment deals.
Accompanied by his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras, Li visited the country’s largest port of Piraeus to inaugurate a rail link that will transport goods to central Europe. Continue reading
Romania plans to become the open door of China to Europe, not only through the Constanta Port (eastern Romania, on the Black Sea shore), but also through the development of such investment projects to prove the high technological level reached by the Chinese economy in the past years, Secretary of State for political analysis and the relation with the Parliament, Radu Podgorean, stated during a visit he paid to the People Republic Continue reading
China’s growing success in internationalizing the RMB has both political and economic implications.
A Bank of International Settlements survey released on September 5 reveals that the renminbi (RMB) is now among the 10 most actively traded currencies in the world. This comes on the back of China’s recent draft plans to allow full convertibility of the RMB within the newly approved Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Both events are intricately linked and are linked to deeper plans by the Chinese government to both internationalize the RMB and consolidate its influence and standing in global financial markets. This suggests that China’s global integration is no longer limited to trade, but is fast spilling over into the realm of finance. Continue reading
RUSSIA, the world’s largest crude producer, is shying away from Europe – as far as crude supplies are concerned – ramping up instead supplies to China. And as the process gains pace, new alliances are springing up on the global energy chessboard while the old ones are being discarded. The small, yet, strategic shift in target markets is providing Moscow not only with an opportunity to end its reliance on weak, saturated and somewhat fragmented European markets, but is also a major source of instant, handy cash at a time of great need. And the swap ensures Beijing long-term supply security. A win-win situation on more than one count!
Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft will supply China with 365 million tons of oil over 25 years under a $270 billion deal, Igor Sechin, its chief executive said on Friday. A day earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Rosneft planned to sign a deal to provide China with oil worth $60 billion. Russian business daily Vedomosti later said Putin was referring to an advance payment that Rosneft would receive. Continue reading
Bits of information have been appearing, indicating the essence of Russian military action. Last December it was disclosed that families of servicemen from the Russian base in Armenia have been evacuated to Russia, while the troops have been moved from the capital, Yerevan, north to Gumri – closer to the borders of Georgia and Turkey. The preparation of Russian forces in Armenia for action in the event of military conflict with Iran began “two years ago” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 15).
Large scale “strategic” military exercises Kavkaz-2012 are planned for next September, but it is reported that preparations and deployments of assets have begun already because of the threat of the possible war with Iran. New command and control equipment has been deployed in the region capable of using GLONASS (Russian GPS) targeting information. The air force in the South Military District (SMD) is reported to have been rearmed “almost 100 percent” with new jets and helicopters. In 2008, Kavkaz-2008 maneuvers allowed the Russian military to covertly deploy forces that successfully invaded Georgia (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, January 16).
The above stream of reports by official spokesmen and carried by government news agencies describes the forming of an offensive spearhead force in the SMD facing Transcaucasia. The force is too heavily armed with modern long-range weapons to be exclusively intended to take on the dispersed rebel guerrilla forces in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. This week, the Secretary of the Georgian National Security Council Giga Bokeria told radio Ekho Moskvi about the growing threat of a war with Russia (Ekho Moskvi, April 2).
In Tbilisi, the possible threat of a new Russian invasion is connected to the parliamentary elections scheduled for next October and possible disturbances that may accompany them. According to polls, the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili seems to be poised for another landslide victory, while the opposition movement, organized by the Russian-based billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, seems to be failing to gather mass support.
Of course, Moscow would be glad to see the electoral defeat of Saakashvili, but the Iranian war is a much more important issue. The Russian spearhead may be ordered to strike south to prevent the presumed deployment of US bases in Transcaucasia, to link up with the troops in Armenia, and take over the South Caucasus energy corridor along which Azeri, Turkmen and, other Caspian natural gas and oil may reach European markets. By one swift military strike Russia may ensure control of all the Caucasus and the Caspian states that were its former realm, establishing a fiat accompli the West, too preoccupied with Iran, would not reverse. At the same time, a small victorious war would unite the Russian nation behind the Kremlin, allowing it to crush the remnants of the prodemocracy movement “for fair elections.” And as a final bonus, Russia’s military action could perhaps finally destroy the Saakashvili regime.
Full article: The Russian Military Has an Action Plan Involving Georgia if Iran Is Attacked (The Jamestown Foundation)