Don’t Be Distracted; Don’t Be Deterred!
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—As the world is reaching the point of finally turning the corner into a qualitatively new stage of world history, the U.S. population is being totally, and potentially fatally distracted into a kaleidoscope of phony issues, full of gossip. If people go off chasing will-o-the wisps, where does that leave the United States—at a moment where future history demands certain definite steps be taken as laid down by statesman Lyndon LaRouche in his Four Laws.
The unprecedented, successive events of this past week, show that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China back in 2013, which Lyndon and Helga LaRouche had tirelessly fought for for decades, has now become a mass-strike wave sweeping the world. Recall that the Schiller Institute’s historic conference in Frankfurt over this past weekend, “Fulfilling the Dream of Mankind,” was immediately followed by the “16+1” meeting of Chinese and Eastern and Central European countries in Budapest, which launched construction of the Belgrade-to-Budapest high-speed rail line among other achievements. The same week saw a Belt and Road forum in Tbilisi, Georgia, which was attended by 34 official delegations, and up to 2,000 delegates from more than 60 countries. After the conclusion of the 16+1 meeting in Budapest and further meetings with Hungarian officials, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang flew to Moscow to meet President Putin, and then on to Sochi, Russia—the scene of other historic meetings recently—for the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 session of the heads of government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The first-ever Belt and Road Forum in Paris was held Wednesday. Thursday was the first day of the China-Latin America-Caribbean Business Summit in Uruguay, including 2,500 businessmen, of whom 700 are Chinese. That summit is primarily focused on integrating the Latin American-Caribbean region into the Belt and Road Initiative.
And a report, as yet unconfirmed, in the Nov. 28 Yomiuri Shimbundetails how Japan plans to move into cooperation with the BRI, by support of Japanese companies in joint projects with Chinese companies along its routes.
This is the setting for the LaRouche movement’s growing efforts to defeat the British coup-plot in the United States, implement LaRouche’s Four Laws, and insure full U.S. participation in the BRI.
The only relevant question to be asked is what is future humanity’s vital interest in present-day events? The fake news is featuring a kaleidoscope of distractions, but the real issues are just what Lyndon and Helga LaRouche have said they are.
NEW GLOBAL ECONOMIC ORDER
The First Paris Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative Was a Resounding Success
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—The first “Paris Forum on the Belt and Road” took place yesterday and was a resounding success, with some 400 participants, among them think tanks, civil servants, company executives, retired military, cultural figures, and media. This forum, which will now occur annually, is co-organized by the Chinese Embassy and the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), the third largest think tank in Paris, headed by Pascal Boniface.
The Forum consisted of different panels which all included very high-level representatives of top Chinese railway, engineering or other companies working on the New Silk Road projects, as well as high-level academics and Embassy officials in the fields of agriculture, education, culture, and their French and European counterparts. The series of panels dealt first with “geopolitical aspects,” then with “economics,” “education and cultural aspects” of the New Silk Road, and finally, French, European Union and China relations.
The Forum was opened with welcoming statements by Chinese Ambassador to France Zhai Jun and IRIS Founding Director Pascal Boniface, who is very positive about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The keynote was then delivered by Zhao Ai, director of the bureau for the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative. Speaking on the geopolitical stakes of the Belt and Road was Cui Hongjian, Director of the European Studies Department at the China Institute of International Studies. Enrico Letta, former Italian Prime Minister and president of the Jacques Delors Institute, also spoke on this panel, and had surprisingly positive comments in some areas, such as joint European-Chinese and French-Chinese projects in Africa.
On the economics panel, there were two highly-interesting interventions by Jiang Dehua, Deputy General Manager of the China Gezhouba Group (CGGC, a top Chinese energy engineering company), and also by Yan Li, deputy director-general at the Foreign Economic Cooperation Center of the Agricultural Ministry. From the French side, a very positive contribution came from Marc Hamy, vice-president of Airbus, who hailed the excellent cooperation between Airbus and China.
In terms of the BRI’s cultural and educational perspectives, Yang Jin, the Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, gave an overview of the growing exchange and scholarship programs on both sides. Pierre Buhler from the French Institute, gave an idea of the already very rich cultural cooperation between the two countries—the Chinese buy more French books than any other country—a cooperation which extends to all areas of art and culture. Also on this panel was the Vice-President of the China Economic Information Service Kuang Lecheng, who responded to a proposal that the cities along the Belt and Road be “illuminated” in the evening, so they can be seen by the populations but also visible from the sky. Kuang replied that the first aim of the Belt and Road is to establish energy capacity along routes, so that such “illuminations” can eventually be carried out.
The most political of the panels came last, on European cooperation with the BRI. The first speaker was George Tzogopoulos, Professor at the Democritus University of Thrace, founder of the “China and Greece” website (chinaandgreece.com). He was quite blunt about the concessions Greece made to China which purchased port of Piraeus, after of the EU and the Troika forced Greece to privatize its state assets, in order to pay off its creditors. He reported that the government and especially the population, were very happy with the Chinese involvement in Greece. What they don’t like are the songs coming from Germany!
Two Chinese speakers followed: Wang Shuo, deputy director of the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, and Zhu Jing, deputy director-general of the European Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Both laid out their great expectations that the French will play a major role in Europe for the BRI. But interestingly, at the end of his speech, Zhu pressed the French to show more interest in the BRI and make more efforts to understand it. The panel moderator, Barthelemy Courmont, who is among the most hostile toward China among the French think tankers, took it upon himself to counter by saying that the perhaps the Chinese should improve their pedagogy on the project!
China-Latin America-Caribbean Business Summit Has Belt and Road as Its Focus
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—The Eleventh China-Latin America-Caribbean Business Summit, or China-LAC 2017, being held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on Nov. 30-Dec. 2, has as its primary focus how Western Hemisphere nations can participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The impressive attendance at the summit, some 2,500 people, including businessmen, government officials, and policymakers from all three regions, is a testament to the tremendous interest in this subject. At last year’s summit in Mexico, only 150 Chinese businessmen attended; this year, there are more than 700.
Antonio Carambula, head of Uruguay’s foreign trade promotion office, “Uruguay XXI,” one of the conference sponsors, told Sputnik that the BRI is “shaking up world trade and we have to see how we can ensure that the Silk Road becomes connected to Latin America.” The China-LAC 2017 conference will become the place in which to reach that goal, he said. For the past several months Carambula has organized seminars throughout the region explicitly presenting China-LAC 2017 as an opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean nations to join the BRI.
Aside from Uruguay XXI, other sponsors include the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Uruguayan President Tabare Vasquez, CCPIT Vice Chairman Chen Zhou, Ma Peihua, vice president of the Chinese People’s Consultative Political Conference, and Luis Alberto Moreno, head of the IADB, will address the inaugural session on Dec. 1.
Of tomorrow’s two plenary sessions, the first is entitled, “A New Vision of Collaboration among China, Latin America and the Caribbean in the Framework of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Strategy.” The official agenda notes that it is “against the backdrop of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy … that an enormous potential for business opportunities has arisen.” The second plenary will focus on “Development and Cooperation in Infrastructure among China, Latin America and the Caribbean.” Four afternoon sessions will discuss potential for cooperation in agro-industry, global services, clean energy and “sustainable” cities, and e-commerce.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Prime Ministers’ Summit Begins in Sochi
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—The Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Prime Ministers’ summit started today in Sochi, Russia. The meeting is significant because it is the first such meeting of the expanded SCO, with new members India and Pakistan, and also because of the growing impact of China’s “One Belt, One Road” project that engages all the SCO countries, including two other observer nations, Iran and Afghanistan.
Among the major countries, China is represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang, India by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Pakistan by its Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Iran is represented by its First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri and Industry Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari.
According to today’s Global Times article, “SCO To Tackle Counterterrorism, Trade,” by Liu Caiyu, China’s Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang had earlier called for “further multilateral trade and investment cooperation and opposing trade protectionism in the SCO market.” The Global Times reported Li Chenggang’s remarks that, “during the meeting, agreements on e-commerce and services trading are expected to be reached.”
Apart from trade and investment, the article cited Zhao Huirong, a research fellow of Central Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, saying, “a broader counter-terrorism cooperation mechanism can be built, such as launching joint border patrols, as the accession of India and Pakistan extends the geographic range of the SCO as far as South Asia.”
Xinhua quoted Prime Minister Li saying “the SCO has become an important platform to safeguard regional stability and promote mutual development and prosperity since it was founded 16 years ago.”
Japan Considers Joint Projects with Chinese Companies in Belt and Road Economic Areas
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—According to a Nov. 28 article in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, under the headline “Government To Help Japan, China Firms in Belt and Road,” the Abe government is considering supporting companies to carry out joint projects with Chinese companies along the “One Belt, One Road” economic areas. The purpose, wrote Yomiuri, is also “to improve Sino-Japanese relations and obtain China’s cooperation in hindering North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.” According to the plan, “the government will emphasize assistance in three fields: energy saving and environmental cooperation; industrial advances; and improving the usability of distribution (e.g. rail) networks,” the article reported.
This new thinking emerged following a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Germany last July. “During the meeting, Abe described the project as an initiative with potential, and expressed his willingness to cooperate. Abe confirmed the cooperation policy at another meeting with Xi in Vietnam on Nov. 11. Government offices including the Cabinet Secretariat, the Foreign Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry have worked out a concrete plan,” Yomiuri reported.
Analyzing this development, China’s official daily Global Timescommented today that “generally speaking, Japan’s economy has always been greatly dependent on overseas markets. So for the sustainable development of its economy, Japan needs access to the business opportunities offered by the vast infrastructure projects along the Belt & Road route.”
Moreover, Global Times wrote, “the economic appeal of the B&R seems to be particularly hard to resist as Japan faces growing pressure from sluggish domestic growth and rising U.S. protectionism. It is nearly impossible for Japan to expand further into markets in the U.S. or Europe, but new markets are essential for it to maintain steady economic growth.”
China Dispatches Special Presidential Envoy to Zimbabwe
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong arrived in Zimbabwe today as Xi Jinping’s Presidential Special Envoy to meet with the new government. He has already met President Emmerson Mnangagwa and pledged to broaden China’s cooperation with Zimbabwe’s new administration to quicken economic development in the country. Chen also delivered a special invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Mnangagwa to visit China at a convenient time in the future.
“In our talk, President Mnangagwa and I agreed that, going forward, our two sides will continue to maintain high-level exchanges, deepen communication, enhance mutual political trust and carry our traditional friendship forward,” said Chen.
“The second point is: we are going to enhance the development strategy alignment between our two countries to ensure our practical cooperation will go deeper and broader, so as to inject more impetus to economic development and the people of Zimbabwe’s livelihood improvement. Thirdly, we will enhance solidarity and coordination in dealing with international affairs and jointly uphold the common interest of developing countries. We both have confidence in the future development of our bilateral relations.
“My mission is to convey the message of Chinese President Xi Jinping to His Excellency President Mnangagwa to demonstrate China’s support for the people and the new administration of Zimbabwe; to exchange views on deepening our traditional friendship and enhancing our cooperation in various fields.”
“President Xi Jinping congratulates President Mnangagwa on assumption of office in his message,” Chen said. “The President emphasizes that China and Zimbabwe are good friends, good partners, and good brothers who have understood and supported each other over the years, and our relations have withstood the test of time, as well as changes in international situations.
“China firmly supports Zimbabwe in pursuing a development path suited to its national conditions, and believes that the government and people of Zimbabwe have the wisdom and capability to manage their internal affairs well,” he said.
“President Mnangagwa said the government and people of Zimbabwe will not forget China’s support of Zimbabwe over the years, and that the government and people of Zimbabwe will not forget the precious support of China to Zimbabwe in critical moments in the development of the country, and fully appreciated the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides,” Chen reported.
“President Mnangagwa also emphasizes that the Zimbabwe side attaches high importance to the development of our bilateral ties and that China will become his first stop outside of Africa.”
Hungary Is the Biggest Exporter to China in Central and Eastern European Countries Group
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—In a press conference after the 16+1 conference in Budapest, yesterday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that all European countries wish to take part in China’s enormous growth. Hungary exports annually $2.28 billion to China, making it the biggest exporter among the 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries with ties to China.
Giving examples of the agreements reached during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s official visit, following the Nov. 27 CEEC 16+1 summit, Orban said Hungary will export large amounts of honey and corn, according to Daily News Hungary. The Hungarian Eximbank has received a $500 million credit line to use in the domestic economy; BorsodChem, a chemical company, has obtained a $217 million investment loan; and an electric bus plant in Komarom has received a $20 million loan, he said. Orban pointed out that some of these projects exceed the ability of either the EU or Hungary to supply financing.
“We have agreed that Central and Eastern Europe has an enormous development potential, and that joint investment projects can propel economic growth well above 4%,” Orban said.
Chinese-Hungarian cooperation continued to improve in recent years, with a more than 10% increase in trade last year and a 20% growth in Hungary’s sales to China. Currently, bilateral trade shows a Hungarian surplus. Hungary has excellent farm products that are highly popular among Chinese consumers, Prime Minister Li Keqiang said.
U.S. POLITICAL & ECONOMIC
Presidents Trump and Xi Discuss North Korea in Telephone Dialogue
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—President Donald Trump held another telephone consultation with Chinese President Xi Jinping following the North Korean missile launch on Nov. 29. In the latest of many telephone consultations, Xi restated that China’s “unswerving goals” are “denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, maintaining international nuclear-nonproliferation regime and preserving peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” according to Xinhua. Xi also said that China would “keep up communications with the United States and all other related parties, and jointly push the nuclear issue towards the direction of peaceful settlement via dialogues and negotiations.”
After the call, Trump reported via Twitter, “Just spoke to President XI Jinping of China concerning the provocative actions of North Korea. Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!”
There was no mention of “additional major sanctions” in Xinhua’s report, but it did mention Trump saying that “Washington highly values China’s important role in solving the nuclear issue, and is willing to enhance communications and coordination with China in search for solutions to the issue.”
The Nov. 29 White House readout of the call states, “President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch. President Trump underscored the determination of the United States to defend ourselves and our allies from the growing threat posed by the North Korean regime. President Trump emphasized the need for China to use all available levers to convince North Korea to end its provocations and return to the path of denuclearization.”
On the issue of sanctions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to questions from reporters that, “We have a long list of additional, potential sanctions, some of which involve … financial institutions.” The Treasury Department, he said, “will be announcing those when they’re ready to roll out.”
President Trump Slams Britain’s Theresa May
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—The reality that U.S.-British relations are at their lowest point in decades, as the British Empire tries to overthrow President Donald Trump, is reflected in the Twitter war between the President of the United States and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump tweeted a rebuke to May over her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda.
“Theresa@theresamay, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom,” President Trump tweeted on Nov. 29. “We are doing just fine!”
His message was in response to criticism from the British Prime Minister’s spokesman over the President’s retweeting videos posted by the deputy leader of a British far-right group.
Britain’s Guardian reported that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who met May at Downing Street last week, rushed to defend her. He tweeted: “PM @theresa_may is one of the great world leaders, I have incredible love and respect for her and for the way she leads the United Kingdom, especially in the face of turbulence.”
The incident ostensibly started when Trump highlighted videos from the feed of Jayda Fransen of “Britain First” that purported to show a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof. The credibility of the last video was apparently undermined when the Dutch Embassy in Washington said the perpetrator of the violent act in the video was born and raised in the Netherlands—which of course has also been a safe haven for terrorists.
May’s spokesman responded by saying that it was “wrong for the President to have done this.” Boorish Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added his two pence: “U.K. has a proud history as an open, tolerant society & hate speech has no place here.”
Where was May while this was taking place? She was on tour of the Middle East where she will visit Iraq, Jordan, and, where else? Saudi Arabia of course, the world’s second biggest supporter of terrorism, after Britain itself.
The Guardian laments, “The feud marks a new, unexpected twist in the ‘special relationship’ that has benefitted from personal chemistry between leaders such as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.” But this “chemistry” obviously does not exist between Trump and May.
Speaking later in the day from Jordan, May insisted the disagreement with Trump would not affect the U.K.’s “long-term special relationship,” but refused to discuss Trump’s planned state visit to the U.K., beyond repeating that no date had been set. The incident has been used to drum up a campaign to denounce Trump in the British Parliament.
STRATEGIC WAR DANGER
UN Syria Envoy De Mistura Convenes Syria Peace Talks In Geneva
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura today convened the eighth round of peace talks on Syria, with both the government and opposition delegations in the same building, although not in the same room. According to video and transcripts posted by the UN, De Mistura told both delegations that “the subject we are going to address today is of fundamental importance for anything we do in the context of 2254 and the four baskets which are the fundamental principles.”
The four baskets for discussion to which De Mistura referred are: a new constitution, governance, elections, and combatting terrorism. De Mistura characterized today’s format as “close proximity parallel meetings” which meant that the two delegations were in separate rooms, but were across the corridor from each other, allowing De Mistura and his staff to quickly move back and forth between them, as opposed to previous rounds in which the two delegations were in separate buildings. Discussions are expected to address the issue of detainees, abductees and missing persons, along with the need for full humanitarian access in any besieged or hard-to-reach areas, such as Eastern Ghouta.
On Thursday night, De Mistura issued a statement calling on both sides to refrain from “statements aimed at delegitimizing other invitees.” Reuters reported that at the end of the day, the two delegations left separately, without making statements to the media.
It’s not clear what will happen if and when De Mistura brings the two delegations together in the same room. Elements of the opposition delegation, now called the Syrian Negotiating Commission (SNC), still are demanding, as its chief Nasr Hariri told reporters on Nov. 28, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down before a political transition can begin. Mohannad Dlykan, a member of the opposition who is associated with the Moscow Platform which is less rigid on that question, told Sputnik yesterday that “This is now the biggest difficulty and problem.”
SCIENCE & INFRASTRUCTURE
Peru’s San Gabán III Hydro Project Obtains Chinese Funding
Nov. 30 (EIRNS)—According to a news report by Global Legal Chronicle, Hydro Global Perú S.A.C. has secured a $365 million loan from China Development Bank, Hebei Branch that will be used to finance the construction of the 206 MW San Gabán III hydropower plant.
“Hydro Global Perú S.A.C. is a joint venture between China Three Gorges Corp. and Energías de Portugal. The company focuses on the investment and development of small and medium-sized hydropower facilities. In 2016, Hydro Global signed a contract with the state generator Empresa de Generación Eléctrica San Gabán (EGESG) to codevelop San Gabán III hydropower project in the Department of Puno,” the article reported.
San Gabán III is planned for the San Gabán district in Carabaya province, Puno region in southeastern Peru. It will be built downriver from EGESG’s 110 MW San Gabán II complex, which was completed in 1999. The development includes a powerhouse containing two vertical Pelton turbine-generator units and 220 kV transmission line connecting to the Onocora or Azangaro substations. It is expected to generate 1,263 GWh of electricity annually. The project, on the San Gabán River, is expected to cost $438 million to develop.