Belt and Road Forum Impact: A ‘Wonderful Change in History’
May 15 (EIRNS)—Today concluded the “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing, after two days of deliberation, with representation from 130 nations, in a process which the host, President Xi Jinping, described as working together, for a “shared future of mankind.” A joint communiqué was issued this afternoon, after the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum, in which 29 heads of state participated. Xi gave a press conference afterward, as did Russian President Vladimir Putin, the guest of honor. Xi announced that the second international forum will be in 2019 in China.
“This is a wonderful change in history,” stated Lyndon LaRouche of the conference. “China is doing a good job. China is placing itself in front of the world development dynamic.” Now, “we’re ready to go for a total victory in the United States and elsewhere…. Get the whole world encased in this process. The struggle is to work on the realization of it.”
His wife, Schiller Institute founder and chair Helga Zepp-LaRouche, is right in the middle of the action in Beijing, after decades of the LaRouches’ leadership for just this kind of mobilization for worldwide development. Since the 1990s, and Zepp-LaRouche’s first participation in an international conference in China where she called for a “Eurasian Land-Bridge,” she has become widely known as the “Silk Road Lady.”
Zepp-LaRouche focused on the far-reaching implications of this initiative, in her speech on the first day of the B&R Forum, in the panel on “Belt and Road for Facilitating Strong, Balanced, Inclusive and Sustainable Global Economy”:
“The Belt and Road Initiative has the obvious potential of quickly becoming a World Land-Bridge, connecting all continents through infrastructure, such as tunnels, bridges, reinforced by the Maritime Silk Road. As such, it represents a new form of globalization, but not determined by the criteria of profit maximization for the financial sector, but for the harmonious development of all participating countries on the basis of Win-Win cooperation.
“It is therefore important, that one does not look at the BRI from the standpoint of an accountant, who projects his statistical viewpoint of cost-benefit into the future, but that we think about it as a Vision for the Community of a Shared Future. Where do we want humanity as a whole to be in ten, a hundred or even in a thousand years?
“Is it not the natural destiny of mankind, as the only creative species known in the universe so far, that we will be building villages on the Moon, develop a deeper understanding of the trillions of galaxies in our Universe, solve the problem of—till now—incurable diseases, or solve the problem of energy and raw material security through the development of thermonuclear fusion power? By focusing on the common aims of humanity we will be able to overcome geopolitics and establish a higher level of reason for the benefit of all.”
In particular, Zepp-LaRouche addressed the question of the role of the United States, whose delegation in Beijing was led by a special advisor to President Trump. Presenting the most positive, “big picture,” Zepp-LaRouche explained, “Looking at the world land map, the United States is not merely a country surrounded by two oceans and two neighbors, but can be a center part of an infrastructure corridor which connects the southern tip of Ibero-America, through Central and South America, with the Eurasian transport system via a tunnel under the Bering Strait….”
London—the fading empire—is fuming. British press coverage of the Belt and Road Forum was more petulant even than the U.S. press. The Economist in London today ran a stream of bilge, under the headline, “The Economist Explains, ‘What Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative?’ ” which wrote that businessmen in Central Asia call it the “One Road, One Trap,” because B&R projects are allegedly unreliable; “the Belt and Road Forum has an unfortunate acronym, BARF,” etc.
Back in reality, not only does the Belt and Road Forum mark the process of potential world economic and scientific lift-off, but there is a vital process underway of deliberation over points of immediate suffering and possible all-out war. President Trump’s envoy in Beijing, Matthew Pottinger, is now in South Korea for consultations over concerns in the region. On Syria, as peace talks start tomorrow, called “Geneva 6,” numbers of meetings are set for this week, of Mediterranean leaders who met in Beijing with both Xi and Putin. In Washington, D.C., on May 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with President Trump. On May 17, in Sochi, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni will meet with Putin. Likewise, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met in Beijing with Xi, Putin, and also with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Today Helga Zepp-LaRouche summed up the great potential by describing the May 14 opening of the Belt and Road Forum: “Yesterday was a fantastic, historic moment!” she said, speaking on China Global Television Network’s “Dialogue with Yang Rui” program, run live, prime time. She exclaimed, “We are in a phase-change for humankind!”
THE NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
BRF: ‘Creating a Prosperous and Peaceful Community with Shared Future for Mankind Is Our Common Aspiration’
May 15 (EIRNS)—The above dedication concludes the last point of the 17-point Final Communiqué issued by the heads of state and government, and leaders of the United Nations, World Bank Group, and International Monetary Fund, who attended the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 15, best captures the spirit of the two-day event and the enthusiastic commitment of these participants to “enhancing international cooperation, including the Belt and Road Initiative and various development strategies, by building closer collaboration partnerships, which include advancing North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation.” Point 17 emphasizes that “promoting peace, mutually-beneficial cooperation, and honoring the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law, are our shared responsibilities.”
“We recognize the challenges that the world economy faces,” the communiqué states. Despite “modest recovery, downside risks remain,” especially for developing countries, which “still face common challenges of eradicating poverty [and] promoting inclusive and sustained economic growth.” In this context, the Belt and Road Initiative “can create opportunities amidst challenges and changes. We welcome and support the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe, which is also open to other regions such as Africa and South America. By providing important opportunities for countries to deepen cooperation, it has achieved positive outcomes and has future potential to deliver more benefits as an important international initiative.”
The communiqué emphasizes the need for coordination and cooperation between the BRI and several already-existing global, regional and national development strategies, as well as other initiatives for “promoting cooperation in connectivity and sustainable development.” The expansion of economic growth is crucial, the leaders confirm, emphasizing that “we welcome the promotion of industrial cooperation, scientific and technological innovation and regional economic cooperation and integration” toward this end.
As one of its fundamental cooperation principles, the communiqué underscores the importance of “consultation of an equal footing” and “honoring the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law, and respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.” Also included in this section is the importance of a dialogue of civilizations: “harmony and inclusiveness, acknowledging the natural and cultural diversity of the world and recognizing that all cultures and civilizations can contribute to sustainable development.” While recognizing the role of the market, the communiqué further underscores that government must also “perform its proper role.”
Among the cooperation measures it outlines, the communiqué calls for promoting “practical cooperation on roads, railways, ports, maritime and inland water transport, aviation, energy pipelines, electricity, fiber optic, including trans-oceanic cable, telecommunications and information and communications technology, and welcoming the development of interconnected multimodal corridors, such as a new Eurasian Land Bridge, Northern Sea Route, the East-West Middle Corridor, etc….”
Also addressed is the need for “jointly working on a long-term, stable and sustainable financing system … enhancing financial infrastructure connectivity … and encouraging development-oriented financial institutions to play an active role and strengthen cooperation with multilateral development institutions.”
President Putin Addresses Integration of Eurasian Space at Belt and Road Leaders Roundtable
May 15 (EIRNS)—Speaking at the Leaders Roundtable of 29 heads of state, today, on the second day of the Belt and Road Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country will actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. At that roundtable, the Chinese hosts seated Putin next to President Xi, while all other leaders were seated by alphabetical order of their country.
“The tasks formulated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, within the framework of the project, are large-scale, but also difficult in implementation, Putin said,” TASS reported.
“All that is proposed follows the trend of modern development, and is extremely necessary and highly demanded. That is why Russia not only supports One Belt, One Road project, but will also actively participate in its implementation together with Chinese partners and, of course, with all other interested countries,” Putin said, as quoted by TASS.
“It is important that all integration structures, both existing in Eurasia and newly formed, are based on universally recognized rules, that they take into account peculiarities of the national development models of the participating states, and are open and transparent….”
Speaking of the Eurasian Economic Union, Putin continued, “EAEU’s external relations are confidently expanding. Around 50 countries from Europe, Asia, and Latin America are showing interest in cooperation with the Union….
“In general, we are talking about the so-called big Eurasian partnership. It includes establishing multilateral cooperation with the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. That was meant to create a system for simplifying bilateral and multilateral agreements in such spheres as customs, sanitary and phytosanitary control, field cooperation and investments, protection of intellectual property rights.”
Putin spoke of the many challenges involved in creating deep and extensive partnerships, but in the end, there can be one single economic space from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
Tsipras Tells Leaders Roundtable at BRF ‘Greece Plays a Strategic Role’ in New Silk Road
May 15 (EIRNS)—At the Leaders Roundtable discussion in Beijing today, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that his country is playing a strategic role. Tsipras reminded the participants that in 550 A.D., Byzantine Emperor Justinian sent Christian monks to the East in order to discover the secrets of the development of silk, according to an ANA-MPA report.
“Apparently, after many adventures, they returned to Thrace with silkworm cocoons hidden in their staffs, introducing silk to Europe for the first time. If we were to retell, today, the history of the Silk Road, we would not only re-tell an economic history of cooperation and competition between great-powers, religions, nations and commercial interests, but a history of people, their contact and communication.
“We would not only see how the Silk Road developed from the top-down, but also from the bottom-up. The commercial and cultural contacts of the Greek and Chinese people stretch back thousands of years. They have traded, worked with each other, traveled to each other’s lands and inspired each other with their struggles.
“But the real acceleration of economic, cultural, educational, research exchanges and tourism, has taken place only in the last few years, with the development of our bilateral strategic partnership and then the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“This Initiative is based on the development of Infrastructure and Connectivity projects bringing Europe and Asia, as well as other parts of the world, closer together. But if it remains only a series of projects, it will not fulfill the vision on which it is based. It will not be a vibrant Silk Road of the 21st Century. The Belt and Road Initiative gives us a remarkable platform with which to connect initiatives enhancing people-to-people contact and I believe we should make full use of it.”
Tsipras noted that in April, Greece had hosted the “First Forum of Ancient Civilizations” in Athens, which was co-sponsored by Greece and China, and the fact that 2017 is the Greek-Chinese year of cultural exchanges in which many cultural events are taking place. He said, “In general, I believe strongly that the Belt and Road Initiative needs a strong dimension of people-to-people projects to fulfill its vision. A vision that —as we engineers say—needs deep foundations so it can be supported from the bottom up.”
Speaking the day before at the Plenary Session of High-Level Dialogue, Tsipras congratulated China, and President Xi Jinping personally “for his vision and for his warm hospitality in hosting this Forum.” Tsipras underscored that “this initiative highlights a vision of connectivity, cooperation and dialogue across Europe and Asia, but also other parts of the world. In this context, we believe that it is becoming a crucial vehicle for expanding economic growth, trade and investment. It is crucial for maximizing investment synergies and promoting trade, transport, energy and telecommunications networks, through projects that can have a big impact on national economies….
“What is particularly positive for us is that the goals of the Belt and Road Initiative are compatible with our own regional economic goals. And our dynamic, comprehensive, strategic partnership with China sets a solid basis for working in this direction. Greece—after many years of severe crises—is returning to a growth path which opens up remarkable opportunities for investment and trade.”
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
Xi Jinping and Erdogan Meet: China Seeks Greater Anti-Terror Cooperation with Turkey
May 15 (EIRNS)—Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed cooperation in anti-terrorist operations, in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum. They addressed China’s concern about ethnic Uighurs from its Xinjiang Province—the Muslim, Turkic-speaking minority, many of whom have traveled clandestinely via Southeast Asia to Turkey and end up fighting with Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.
“In order to promote even greater development of relations, China and Turkey must respect and give consideration to each other’s core concerns, and deepen security and counter-terrorism cooperation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted Xi as saying.
For his part, Erdogan told the Plenary Session of High-Level Dialogue on May 14 that China’s Belt and Road Initiative will help defeat terrorism. He gave assurance that Turkey would lend all manner of support to the project, according to the report by state-run Anadolu Agency.
“This initiative, particularly against rising terrorism in the world, will be an initiative that will almost eradicate terrorism. I believe this cooperation which will benefit everyone will succeed as a model. We, as Turkey, are ready to give all kinds of support for it,” Erdogan said at the High-Level Dialogue. “I believe that this initiative, also called the New Silk Road, will mark the future in an effort to link Asia, Europe, Africa and even South America.”
No Apparent Flight Forward from U.S. after Latest North Korea Missile Test
May 15 (EIRNS)—North Korea’s latest missile test, fired May 14, while the Belt and Road Forum got underway in Beijing as many news media reports noted, has not led to the sort of flight-forward reaction from Washington that has characterized previous such tests.
The White House issued a statement in the hours after the test, declaring that North Korea has been “a flagrant menace for far too long” and that President Donald Trump “cannot imagine that Russia is pleased” with it, given that the missile landed in the Sea of Japan about 500 km from Russian territory. While there is much debate as to what kind of missile North Korea tested, and what it’s capable of, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command issued a statement saying that “the flight is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).” No U.S. military mobilization beyond those already in place has been announced, either.
In Seoul, newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the launch a “reckless provocation,” after a meeting with his national security council, but at the same time is indicating that he will continue to seek dialogue with North Korea despite the communist state’s latest provocation this week, according to a report in the Korea Herald today. President Moon has reportedly ordered the South Korean military to maintain its present state of alert, but hasn’t otherwise ordered an additional mobilization.
Matt Pottinger, senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council, is now in Seoul following his attendance at the Belt and Road Forum, according to another report in the Korea Herald. He will be conveying President Trump’s congratulations to President Moon and may be also discussing arrangements for a Trump-Moon meeting in the near future, possibly at the G20 summit in Germany on July 7-8. It’s also likely that Pottinger is discussing the North Korea situation with his South Korean hosts, as well.
North Korean Diplomat Considers Possible ‘Dialogue’ with U.S. ‘If Conditions Are There’
May 13 (EIRNS)—South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on May 13 that Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry Director General for U.S. Affairs, has said, regarding talking with the United States, “We’ll have dialogue if the conditions are there.” This was in reply to a reporter’s question whether North Korea were preparing to have any talks with the Trump Administration.
Her comment is significant, coming amidst other recent statements favorable to talks, including from the new government of South Korea, and from President Trump himself, likewise, with the caveat of being under the right “conditions.”
Choe Son Hui, according to Yonhap, was speaking to media in Beijing, en route home from Norway, where she was participating in talks, referred to as “Track Two.” These involve former U.S. government officials, and there have been a series of such meetings, according to Japanese media. Choe Son Hui is an experienced member of North Korea’s diplomats in nuclear matters.
COLLAPSING WESTERN SYSTEM
Official German Presence at Beijing Summit: A Pre-Programmed Fiasco
May 15 (EIRNS)—The official German presence at the Beijing Summit was a disaster, made by two women: Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Economics Minister Brigitte Zypries. The prelude to this was a German government conspiracy of silence on the summit until May 12, when Zypries informed the press in a vaguely formulated release about her intent to take part in the summit. Zypries refused to go with a delegation of German industry, insisting on going on her own. Merkel, whose website devotes ample room to nonsensical climate news, did not even inform the media about her meeting in Berlin with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during which she announced that Zypries would go to Beijing. The only information on that meeting was found in Xinhua.
In Beijing, Zypries refused to sign an EU-China trade agreement, on grounds that China was not practicing transparency and respect of market rules, nor making required concessions on the climate issue. Speaking to the press yesterday, she even charged China with using “financial resources from dubious origin,” concerning Chinese investments in projects in Europe. Zypries called for clarification on the real intent of the New Silk Road, depicting it as consisting of “individual projects rather than a multilateral approach.”
The German mainstream media sided with Zypries in reporting on Beijing, charging China and Xi Jinping with world-power ambitions and geopolitics, “irritations,” lack of transparency, and the like, and portraying the Zypries-China talks as “tumultuous.” Zypries made an effort to play it down, claiming that the media exaggerated the differences with China, but her remarks reflected the dis-harmony which is poison for Germany’s participation in the New Silk Road.
SPD’s Election Defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia: A Man-Made Disaster
May 15 (EIRNS)—With the election in North-Rhine Westphalia (N.R.W.) on Sunday, the German Social Democrats not only lost the third state election in a row (after Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein), they also lost in Germany’s most-populous state, which has 23% of the national electorate. As with the May 7 elections in Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia has also been taken over by the Christian Democrats. The SPD defeat in N.R.W. shows how the Social Democrats are in very bad shape for the September national election. The SPD defeats in the three state elections are a disaster crafted by a man named Martin Schulz, the SPD Chancellor candidate against the Christian Democrats’ Angela Merkel.
The “Schulz bonus” which the Social Democrats believed in after he became elected to run for Chancellor and voted in as national party chairman with 100% of party convention delegates, turns out to have been a very short-lived illusion, all the more dangerous for the party, as it has forgotten to think about formulating any real programmatic alternative to Merkel’s policy. Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, stands for the same policies as Merkel, whose congruence in positions is also noted by 66% of voters in opinion polls.
The reasons for the SPD’s loss is epitomized by its refusal to capitalize on the fact that Duisport in the SPD-headed city of Duisburg, N.R.W., is the key hub for China’s rail freight to Europe, and it is the fastest-growing region in N.R.W., thanks to the New Silk Road project.
Merkel is on course for re-election now, but that is based on the big illusion that Germany and Europe can continue to make politics with the discredited values out of the trans-Atlantic cookbook, in which globalization, free market conditions, climate protection, and the exit from nuclear power technology are still believed to be the future, whereas the vast majority of the world have begun to think in the future.
U.S. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
Rail Advocate Frank Murkowski To ‘Explore’ Alaska-Canada-Lower 48 Link
May 15 (EIRNS)—Alaska now has an official state-level effort to explore the options for linking its rail network with that of Canada, a blog posting from April 3 reveals. Rail advocate Frank Murkowski has been officially hired as “special envoy” to Gov. Bill Walker’s office, to “research on the state’s behalf the viability of this potential project, and report his findings back to Governor Walker and his team.”
Murkowski, who spent 20 years (1981-2002) as U.S. Senator before becoming governor of the state (2002-2006,) and whose daughter is now a U.S. Senator, has “been looking on this conceptually for 25 to 30 years,” he said. “It’s something that comes up continually. It’s an opportunity to compile the existing information, look at the potential for new traffic, and see what it looks like.” A main motivation is hauling out the mineral wealth of the north, but the potential corridor link also to the Lower 48 and southward is obvious.
At the end of the article by Annie Zak, as posted to Eye on the Arctic are links to “related stories” that include a Nov. 6, 2016 blog “China’s One Belt, One Road Project, Comes to the Arctic,” reporting on China and Russia’s cooperation in expanding the New Silk Road to the Arctic via rail transport.