Constance

Saudi investment in Pakistan reflects inclusiveness of

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged $20 billi

on investment in Pakistan during his trip to the South Asian country over the we

ekend, the first leg of his Asian tour that also includes stops in neighboring India and China.

The unprecedented Saudi investment, half of which will support a refiner

y and petrochemicals complex in the port of Gwadar, is expected to shore up Pa

kistan’s economy hurt by widening current account and fiscal deficits and strengthen trade ties between the two countries.

Some observers are quick to compare the Saudi investment with the China-Pakistan Economic Cor

ridor (CPEC) project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But for Prime Minister Imran Khan, both are welcome.

“We have CPEC. We have links with China. So we welcome Saudi Arabia to participate with us,” he said.

The crown prince also stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.

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Modi’s visit to disputed region imperils thaw in ties

Recently, China and India were engaged in a jagged excha

nge of words over Modi’s visit to South Tibet, a mountainous region under substantial dispute b

etween the two Asian giants. Although China’s stance on the boundary issue is cons

istent and crystal-clear that it has never recognized the so-called “A

runachal Pradesh” and is firmly opposed to any Indian leaders’ presence there, it was Modi who has repeatedly touched the raw nerve.

Such exchange – though it has happened in the past during China’s Spring Festivals in February 2015 and February 2018 – is p

articularly noteworthy: Modi’s latest visit followed the in

formal leadership summit in Wuhan in April 2018 which was widely seen as the key effort

from both sides to improve diplomatic ties and rebuild trust since the 73-day-long armed standoff in Doklam.

Such actions by Modi would inevitably affect the progress

ade by both sides, further complicating the boundary issue and exacerbating mutual suspicion.

Modi’s recent presence in South Tibet was largely driven b

y electoral considerations, aimed at mobilizing support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahe

ad of the general elections, which are due in India in April and May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

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Second, out of expectations of politicians from powerful

countries, who claim their nations represent public interest, globalism is becoming a tool in the fight between capitalist forces an

d national will. As a result, state power is eroded by capital, leading to alienation and political strains in some countries.

It is believed that some countries cannot bear the negative effects of globalization. The main reason for t

his is that capital is equipped with increasingly powerful characteristics that weaken nations’ capa

bility to control their capital and eliminates sovereign states’ ability to embody the will of the people.

The hit on state power by capital not only leads to financial chaos, triggering financial and economic crise

s, but can also generate social and political woes. Western countries’ easing financial regulations resulted in the 2008 financial c

risis. In recent years, developed countries are experiencing increasing economic and political challenges, which a

ctually are extensions of the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them are yet to be addressed.

Economic liberalization faces challenges in the developed and developing world.

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Meanwhile, Japan continued signing agreements with other

one with the UK in 2017 and another with India the following year. By exploiting the power of these regional countries, Japan aims to secure military provisions for its SDF in t

he Indo-Pacific region from the US, Canada, Australia and India and in the North Atlantic region from the US, the UK, France and Canada.

This has laid the foundation for Japan to broaden its SDF activities and ensure military provision with its par

tners. It is a small-scale bilateral military alliance system centered on Japan. This shows Japan’s long-term strategic plan.

Since the 21st century, Japan has clearly labeled China as its biggest real and potential rival. Especially since Shinzo Abe took office, he spared no efforts at contai

ning China. During Abe’s first term, the Japanese government raised the idea of the “arc of freedom and prosperity.” When

he became prime minister for a second time, the policies advocated by his cabinet, including the values-based alliance, the alliance of

maritime democracies, the democratic security diamond and the freedom corridor, have all kept China in focus.

Because of the ACSAs with Australia and India, Japan can militarily constrain China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. In the A

tlantic, it can also exert forceful intervention in China’s policy in Europe, North Africa and West Africa.

In some areas where China’s military strength has not reached, Japan has crafted its military pla

n in advance by utilizing its bilateral alliance system, trap-falling China’s military strategy into a passive position.

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Thailand’s political changes mirror those of Southeast Asiawhich

 is a region in transition. Since the beginning of the 21st century, thi

s region has come across political struggle between new capitalistic groups and old b

ureaucratic factions, as well as political turmoil as a result of the huge gap between the rich and poor.

Indonesia is also going to hold a presidential election in April. These upcoming electi

ons have sent a clear signal that Southeast Asian countries long for political stability and development.

The Thai election can give confidence to other countries in the region. After all, with very few exc

eptions, the junta can return power to the people through elections.

As for China-Thailand relations, historically, no matter which

government came to power after several coups, the direction of bilateral ties has never chang

ed. The cooperation between China and Thailand has become the common  aspiration  of the  two peoples and is in their mutual interest.

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The US team expressed the willingness to make joint effor

rts with the Chinese team to strive for the conclusion of a deal that meets the interests of both sides.

“We bring the best wishes of President Trump. He’s asked us to state that

he also places great importance on his personal relationship with you,” Lighthizer said.

“We have had two very good days of negotiations. We feel that we have made headway on some very, very important and

very difficult issues,” he said. “We have additional work we have to do but we are hopeful.”

Xi asked Lighthizer and Mnuchin to extend his sincere greetings to President Trump, saying

that he cherishes their good working relationship and would like to keep in contact with him.

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he increased bank lending could match the real econom

The monetary authority has rolled out a series of policies in recent mont

hs to ensure adequate liquidity in the financial sector and accelerated loan issuance to co

mpanies. The measures include a new lending facility, called the targeted medium-term lending facility, which was in

troduced in December to encourage commercial banks to increase lending to small and private firms.

The central bank further cut the required reserve ratio for financial institutions by 1 percentage point in January and inj

ected another 800 billion yuan of capital into the market. That followed four reserve ratio cuts last year.

Supported by the liquidity, the average interest rate in financial mark

ets had already declined by January, which actually provided much cheaper funding t

o commercial banks and borrowers in the corporate sector, Sun said.

Accompanied by the credit boost, growth of the broad money sup

ply, or M2, accelerated in January to 8.4 percent from 8.1 percent at the end of December, t

he central bank said. Government bond issuance, meanwhile, has also picked up since the start of this year.

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Unexpected twist in Gui case embarrasses Swedish FM

There has been a new unexpected twist in the case of Gui Minhai, and this time, the Swedish Ambassador to China Anna Lindstedt is involved.

Gui Minhai was born in China and later became a naturalized Swedish citizen. He was a Hong Kong-based bookseller be

fore being sued in the Chinese mainland in 2015. That lawsuit strained relations between China and Sweden.

His daughter, Angela Gui, has recently detailed a bizarre account of her visit to Stockholm, which has

embarrassed the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Angela Gui, who grew up in Sweden, now live

s in Britain where she is studying for a PhD in history at university. She gave her account in a media interview last we

ek and made an announcement Wednesday on her blog. Gui said that Ambassador Lindstedt contacted her in mid-January, inviting her to go to Sto

ckholm to meet two Chinese businessmen, who Lindstedt trusted, to discuss a new approach to her father’s case.

Angela Gui said she went to Stockholm in late January where she met two Chinese businessmen in the presence of Lindstedt. In

her statement, she said that the two businessmen asked her to stop all media engagements and public comment in exch

ange for her father’s release or commutation. According to Gui, Lindstedt supported the plan and said t

hat if not, the relationship between Sweden and China would otherwise be further undermined.

Angela Gui said that after the meeting, she called the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for confirm

ation. “They told me they hadn’t had the slightest idea this whole affair was taking place. They hadn’t even been informed the amb

assador was in the country,” she wrote. In her account of what happened, she not only gave details of the meeting,

but also described how she was feeling threatened and how the whole arrangement seemed suspicious.

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chin, who are here for a new round of China-US high-level econ

hina would like to address the problems of economic and trade frictions with the United States in a co

operative way to promote the conclusion of a deal accepted by both sides, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi made the remark while meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mn

uchin in Beijing. The meeting came after the conclusion of two days of high-level economic and trade consultations.

Xi added that certain principles are necessary for cooperation.

Chinese and US consultation teams made important progress for the current stage, a

nd the two negotiating teams will meet again in Washington next week for fur

ther discussions, Xi said. He added that the both nations should make more efforts for a win-win deal.

The two countries’ economic and trade teams have had frequent and helpful consultatio

ns since December, Xi said. He has emphasized many times that cooperation is the best choice for China and the US.

Cooperation will bring benefits to the two countries while conflicts will injure both sides, he added.

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In addition, the global total amount of new data generat

China is expected to generate 48.6 zettabytes (48.6 trillion gigabytes) of data in 2025, while the number for the US is forecast to be

30.6ZB, according to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and data storage firm Seagate, a CNBC report said.

In addition, the global total amount of new data generated is set to grow from 33ZB in 2018 to 175ZB by

2025, with data collected from entertainment platforms, video surveillance footage, internet-co

nnected devices, productivity tools and metadata contributing to most of the growth, according to the report.

In the race for data, which, as IDC analysts put in their report, is

“at the heart of this digital world” and “a company’s most valuable intangible a

sset, which can create a competitive edge in digital transformation”, there is already a victory sign coming from China.

The country generated about 7.6ZB data last year, around 0.7ZB more than the US, the report said.

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