Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina. Dopo 30 anni di crescita ambirebbe alla leadership mondiale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-12-18.

2018-12-18__Cina__001

Mentre negli ultimi trenta anni l’Occidente ha proseguito a baloccasi con le ideologie, la Cina è passata da un pil procapite di 349$ nel 1990 agli 8,663$ del 2017: è aumentato di venticinque volte.

Ma se si desse una sbirciata al futuro prossimo, le sorprese sarebbero ancora maggiori.

International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (October – 2017)

Le proiezioni al 2022 danno la Cina ad un pil ppa di 34,465 (20.54%) miliardi di Usd, gli Stati Uniti di 23,505 (14.01%), e l’India di 15,262 9.10%) Usd. Seguono Giappone con 6,163 (3.67%),  Germania (4.932%), Regno Unito 3,456 (2.06%), Francia 3,427 (2.04%), Italia 2,677 (1.60%). Russia 4.771 (2.84%) e Brasile 3,915 (2.33%).

I paesi del G7 produrranno 46,293 (27.59%) mld Usd del pil mondiale, mentre i paesi del Brics renderanno conto di 59,331 mld Usd (35.36%).

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La ricetta economica messa in opera da Mr Deng Xiaoping è di una semplicità sconcertante:

«“What the government needs to do is to remove the straitjacket still stifling entrepreneurs. There are still too many rules, stupid rules. The going is getting tougher. Hopefully that would shake off some of the bureaucratic complacency.”»

Deng Xiaoping era la quintessenza del pragmatismo cinese, cui non interessa il colore del gatto, purché acchiappi i topi. Ciò che interessa è il ritorno prestazione/costo. Così convivono proficuamente azioni che per gli occidentali sarebbero contrastanti perché ascrivibili ad ideologie differenti ed opposte.

«Deng Xiaoping restarted university entrance examinations in late 1977, allowing all students to compete for a college place».

Nello stesso anno fece internare nel Laogai circa 600,000 insegnati assunti nella scuola per meriti politici. Scuola epurata, scuola funzionante.

Con la stessa nonchalance lasciava totalmente libere le persone con l’ordine di arricchirsi più che potessero, e nel contempo procedeva a nazionalizzare delle aziende: azioni anche questa per gli occidentali fuori dal ben del’intelletto.

Ma quello che l’occidente non può costituzionalmente comprendere è che in Cina la politica la si fa in quella scuola mandarinica ora denominata partito comunista cinese. Il termine ‘comunista‘ ha in occidente un senso del tutto differente da quello che ha in Cina.

Altre cose che fanno impazzire gli occidentali?

Cina. L’Islam sarebbe una patologia psichiatrica, e così la si cura.

Cinesi, gente pratica. Risolto il problema dell’integralismo islamico.

«Chinese authorities in the far-northwestern region of Xinjiang on Wednesday revised legislation to permit the use of “education and training centers” to combat religious extremism.»

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«In practice, the centers are internment camps in which as many as 1 million minority Muslims have been placed in the past 12 months»

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Sorriso e bonomia di Mr Xi potrebbero trarre in inganno: non si scambi la tradizionale semplicità e cortesia cinese per mancanza di polso. Gli uiguri ed i kazaki non vogliono essere ragionevoli?

Nessun problema.

Resteranno nel laogai fino a tanto che non parleranno fluentemente il cinese mandarino.

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L’Occidente però non ha proprio imparato nulla dalla Cina.

«Deng’s reforms, officially launched 40 years ago on Dec. 18 at a meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, precipitated one of the greatest creations of wealth in history, lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty.»

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«But the changes also sowed the seeds of many of the problems China faces today»

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«Two decades of growth at any cost under Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao starting in 1993 saddled the nation with polluted rivers and smoggy skies, plus a mountain of debt»

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«But while Deng wanted his market-based reforms to make China rich, Xi has reasserted the control of the state in an effort to turn the country into a political and technological superpower»

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Da un personaggio che ha trovato semplicemente logico mettere in campo di lavoro un milione di persone non ci si aspetterebbero grossi scrupoli per i problemi ecologici che così stanno a cuore agli Occidentali: Xi vuole solo il dominio del mondo, e, come si dice, Parigi val bene una Messa.


Bloomberg. 2018-12-17. China Built a Global Economy in 40 Years. Now It Has a New Plan

Deng’s 1978 reforms gave China economic might. Now Xi wants more.

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Fred Hu will never forget the terror in his science teacher’s eyes when the man was dragged away to a Chinese jail during Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Then a 12-year-old peeping into the classroom, his dream of escaping rural poverty to become a journalist or teacher seemed hopeless.

Two years later, his hope was rekindled when incoming leader Deng Xiaoping restarted university entrance examinations in late 1977, allowing all students to compete for a college place.

“For the first time there was a clear path in front of us,” said Hu, who went on to earn masters degrees at Tsinghua and Harvard, work for the International Monetary Fund, and lead Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in China. “The turmoil was behind us. A new era had come,” said the founder of Primavera Capital Ltd., a private-equity fund based in Beijing.

In the years that followed, Hu and hundreds of millions of others left the countryside and set up businesses in cities or went to work in factories that propelled China to become the world’s second-largest economy. Deng’s reforms, officially launched 40 years ago on Dec. 18 at a meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, precipitated one of the greatest creations of wealth in history, lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty.

But the changes also sowed the seeds of many of the problems China faces today. Two decades of growth at any cost under Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao starting in 1993 saddled the nation with polluted rivers and smoggy skies, plus a mountain of debt. During that time, China became deeply integrated into the global economy, a trend that accelerated after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

When President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013, many hoped he’d turn out to be a leader in Deng’s reformist vein. But while Deng wanted his market-based reforms to make China rich, Xi has reasserted the control of the state in an effort to turn the country into a political and technological superpower. 

“One of Xi’s overarching goals in terms of economic management is to effectively, if not formally, declare the end of the era of reform a la Deng Xiaoping,” said Arthur Kroeber, a founding partner and managing director at research firm Gavekal Dragonomics. Whereas Deng and subsequent leaders bolstered the role of private businesses in the economy and reduced that of the state, Xi seems to think the balance is now about right, Kroeber said.

Flouting Deng’s advice for China to lie low and bide its time, Xi went head to head with U.S. President Donald Trump and other world leaders, who were frustrated by years of Beijing stalling in opening its markets to foreign firms. China’s critics say domestic companies that are now aspiring for global dominance in technology and trade were raised on state subsidies or cheap loans while being protected from foreign competition. 

The standoff has dealt Xi some of his first policy setbacks and an unusual upswing in public criticism in China. Even Deng’s son leveled a veiled rebuke in a speech in October, urging China’s government to “keep a sober mind” and “know its place.”

The confrontation comes at a critical moment for China as it tries to avoid falling into what economists call the middle-income trap, where per-capita income stalls before a nation becomes rich. Usually that happens because rising wages and costs erode profitability at factories that make basic goods like clothes or furniture, and the economy fails to make the jump to higher-value industries and services.

Only five industrial economies in East Asia have succeeded in escaping the trap since 1960, according to the World Bank. They are Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

To join them, Xi must oversee a transformation in China’s markets, injecting more competition in financial services, upgrading technology, and tightening corporate governance, while waging a trade war with a U.S. administration bent on containing the Asian nation’s rise. Xi’s challenge is compounded by an aging workforce, the mountain of corporate and local government debt, and an environmental clean-up that will take decades.

“No major economy that is not democratic has managed to surpass the middle income trap, so the odds are not in China’s favor even without the trade war,” said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London. “Abandoning the Dengist approach has raised alarm bells in the West, particularly in the U.S. This makes the task much more difficult.”

Whether China makes it will depend on the legacy of those migrants and entrepreneurs who took advantage of Deng’s opening and set up private companies and conquered one manufacturing industry after another. Today, China’s private sector generates 60 percent of the nation’s output, 70 percent of technological innovation and 90 percent of new jobs, according to Liu He, Xi’s top economic adviser.

Shadow Banking

Many of those companies are feeling the brunt of Xi’s campaigns to deleverage the economy and battle pollution. A crackdown on shadow-bank financing has stifled a major source of funding during the boom years, while hundreds of thousands of small enterprises have been shuttered for despoiling the environment.

Their plight prompted an unprecedented push by policymakers this year to cajole banks into lending more to non-state companies, a campaign Xi endorsed by proclaiming his “unwavering” support for the private sector.

The policy response isn’t robust or effective enough and there’s a risk of a further weakening of business and investor confidence that triggers a vicious cycle, Hu said Sunday in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television. Policies toward the private sector are “incoherent ” with lip service in support of it and then more stringent regulations imposed on it, he said.

“What the government needs to do is to remove the straitjacket still stifling entrepreneurs,” he said. “There are still too many rules, stupid rules. The going is getting tougher. Hopefully that would shake off some of the bureaucratic complacency.”

Nowhere are the successes and challenges of China’s entrepreneurs more apparent than in Shenzhen, which over the course of the four decades evolved from fishing village to factory town to export hub and into the gleaming technology hub it is today.

Andy Yu, a native of Wuhan in central China, is typical of the people who made the immigrant city a success. He came to Shenzhen in 2003 to work at a technology company and set up his own mobile phone maker, Shenzhen Garlant Technology Development Co., a few years later.

“Some people say China can only make cheap junk but that’s not true,” Yu said.  “China can make really good products and that’s why companies like Apple have factories here. China has the best price-to-quality ratio anywhere.”

Yu believes that combination of good quality at low prices will allow his company to shrug off Trump’s tariffs. About a fifth of Shenzhen Garlant’s $150 million in annual sales come from the U.S. and are subject to a 10 percent duty that could rise to 25 percent next year. Yu said he can pass on the increased cost to customers because his Western competitors sell at much higher prices while rival manufacturers in Southeast Asia and Latin America lag far behind in technology.

Shenzhen Garlant’s trajectory shows how the beneficiaries of Deng’s reforms have had to adapt to survive. The company still designs and markets its products from Shenzhen, but its 300-worker factory is now in Hubei province in Central China where wages are lower. Yu is considering increasing automation and building a new plant in the west of the country on the border with Myanmar, which he could staff with migrant Burmese who earn half the amount that Chinese workers do.

To achieve Xi’s goal of dominating the key technologies, outlined in his “Made in China 2025” blueprint, the nation will need to do more than make high-spec phones and laptops. Yet Xi’s model of more government control coupled with tighter restrictions on lending could inhibit innovation. 

“This year, the golden era for startups has ended,” said Wang Gaonan, one of the new generation of entrepreneurs who are driving change in China’s economy. “It’s almost impossible to find investors. The runway has vanished. If I had graduated in 2015 instead of 2012, it would be too late for me.”

Wang, who holds a masters degree in industrial engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, heads Capstone Games, creator of the third- and fourth-ranked soccer games in Apple’s China app store. Founded in 2013, the Beijing company’s annual revenue has more than doubled every year to reach about 150 million yuan ($21.8 million). 

Tighter controls on new game releases in China, where the government is concerned about the effects of device addiction on children, along with a slowing economy, have spurred Wang to look abroad for growth. Capstone plans to launch an app in the U.K. in March. 

Tighter Control

Xi has also clamped down on activities from online posts to the free-wheeling private businesses that grew up as a result of Deng’s policies, reasserting the control of the party on businesses and through regulations, state-run companies and government-owned banks. The economic impact of those controls shows up only after a time, so it’s hard to assess the effect now, said Nobel laureate economist Michael Spence, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “Taken too far that could create headwinds for innovation,” he said.

Yet even with the political and trade headwinds, the new digital economy, services and higher value producers could keep China on track to join the ranks of wealthy nations, said Spence. “A trade war expanding to technology and cross border investment will slow China down — and not just China — but not probably derail this progress,” he said.

The economy expanded 6.5 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2009. But if China can keep the rate above 5 percent well into the 2020s, per capita income levels will close the gap on developed nations, said Kroeber, who is the author of “China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know.” 

Still, average income levels only tell part of the story. Back in the small, rural town of Xintang in Hunan province, where Fred Hu saw his teacher arrested more than half a century ago, the inequality created by China’s boom is plain to see. 

The paint on the walls of the Middle School Hu attended is peeling. Heating is minimal, which is why on a cold December day students sit at their desks wearing winter jackets. Education standards lag those in cities, said Senior Teacher Pan Yuezhong, 60. About 80 percent of students are “left-behind kids” — children whose parents left for higher-paying jobs, usually on the industrial east coast, and who are looked after by grandparents, relatives or friends.

“China has failed to invest in its single most important asset: its people,” said economist Scott Rozelle at Stanford University. “It has one of the lowest levels of education.”

According to the country’s own 2015 microcensus, only 30 percent of the labor force has finished high school. That puts China behind all other middle-income countries, including Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. While that has not deterred the country from becoming a manufacturing powerhouse, it will no doubt hinder its evolution into a more advanced, knowledge-based economy.

In China’s cities, colleges churned out more than 8 million graduates this year. But the problem lies in China’s neglected hinterlands, according to Rozelle. Rural workers are only one-fourth as likely as urban ones to have a high school education. But rural areas account for 64 percent of China’s overall population and more than two-thirds of its children.

Worse still, one in five people in Miluo, a county-level city that oversees Xintang, is over 60 years old, a demographic trend that pervades most of the country and one that will become an increasing burden on the economy in medical costs and care.

Still even in Xintang, things are better than in the dark days of the Cultural Revolution, when people used kerosene lamps for light, bound rags for shoes and rice was so precious it was often saved for the elderly, children or the sick, said Hu Fuxin, whose local dialect was translated by Pan, the teacher. Wearing a thick coat and a quilt over his legs to keep warm in the living room of his modest home, the 78-year-old former teacher remembered Fred Hu as a model student.

Hu’s Primavera Capital invests in new economy companies such as online financial services platform Ant Financial Services Group and cloud  service provider Xunlei Ltd. He said the creativity, innovation and vision of Chinese entrepreneurs is equal to those in Silicon Valley and other tech hubs and believes China can still ascend to developed-world status. Yet he’s become increasingly worried about the country’s policy direction under Xi.

“China’s on the right track, but everyone wants to know if they will speed up the reform process Deng initiated 40 years ago or will they slow down or backtrack,” he said. “A lack of reform may prevent China from fully realizing its economic potential.”

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Economia e Produzione Industriale, Geopolitica Mondiale, Medio Oriente, Problemia Energetici

Qatar. Esce dall’Opec e si concentra sul gas naturale.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-12-03.

2018-12-03__Qatar__001

«Qatar has announced it is pulling out of the Opec oil producers’ cartel, just days before the group meets in Vienna»

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«Qatar produces around 650,000 of barrels of oil a day, compared with Russia’s 11.37 million barrels a day.»

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«The Gulf state, which joined Opec in 1961, said it would leave the cartel in January and would focus on gas production»

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«Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquified natural gas, has been boycotted by some Arab neighbours over allegations that it funds terrorism»

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«Opec is expected to cut oil supply at this week’s meeting»

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«We don’t have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic. Our potential is gas»

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«Expectations are high that there will be agreement on output after Russian President Vladmir Putin said at the weekend that he and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “have agreed to extend our agreement” to limit production»

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Il braccio di ferro è evidente.

Da una parte i paesi produttori vorrebbero poter spuntare prezzi alti, e quindi sono favorevoli ad una riduzione della estrazione; dall’altra parte i paesi consumatori vorrebbero poter ottenere i prodotti petroliferi a basso costo.

Recentemente Mr Trump aveva constato come un basso costo del petrolio fosse equivalente negli Stati Uniti ad una riduzione delle tasse, ma i produttori avevano obiettato che il ragionamento era corretto, ma che loro non erano sicuramente di accordo nel dover pagarne il costo per conto degli gli americani.

Per quanto riguarda il mercato del gas naturale liquefatto, gli osservatori fanno notare che, essendo gli americani degli esportatori, avrebbero tutto da guadagnare da prezzi elevati. Da questo punto di vista il Qatar si sarebbe trovato un socio di non poco peso.


Bbc. 2018-12-03. Qatar pulls out of Opec oil producers’ cartel

Qatar has announced it is pulling out of the Opec oil producers’ cartel, just days before the group meets in Vienna.

The Gulf state, which joined Opec in 1961, said it would leave the cartel in January and would focus on gas production.

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquified natural gas, has been boycotted by some Arab neighbours over allegations that it funds terrorism.

Opec is expected to cut oil supply at this week’s meeting.

Explaining Qatar’s decision, Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi said: “We don’t have great potential (in oil), we are very realistic. Our potential is gas.”

He said geopolitics was not factor in the decision.

Since June 2017, Qatar has been cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia, over its alleged support for terrorism.

Production cuts

Qatar’s withdrawal from Opec may not have any lasting impact on the price of oil as it a relatively small producer.

But this week’s meeting of Opec is being closely watched by markets for any agreement over cuts to production after the oil price fell sharply in November.

Expectations are high that there will be agreement on output after Russian President Vladmir Putin said at the weekend that he and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “have agreed to extend our agreement” to limit production.

Russia is not a member of Opec but is the biggest oil producer outside the group.

Mr Putin’s comments pushed oil prices higher. In early trading on Monday, Brent crude was $2.60 higher at $62.06 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate oil rose $2.42 to $53.35 a barrel.

However, prices are down sharply from September when Brent crude was at $81.16 a barrel.

Qatar produces around 650,000 of barrels of oil a day, compared with Russia’s 11.37 million barrels a day.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Trump

Trump. Il G20 si avvia a diventare un G2, meglio, un G1.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-12-01.

G7 Leaders Summit in Canada

È passata un’epoca. Invece di Mr Trump è scomparsa Frau Merkel.


Mr Trump si sta portando avanti con il lavoro.

Non ne vuole più sapere del politicamente corretto e dei temi che tanto stettero a cuore ai liberal di tutto il mondo.

Il ‘guasto‘ all’Airbus 340 di Frau Merkel è stato così provvidenziale per Mr Trump che i soliti malignassi professionisti sibilano tra i denti che sia stato un sabotaggio. Ma per fortuna dopo diciassette minuti e mezzo di indagini l’intelligence tedesca ha concluso e smentito tale ipotesi: chi mai avrebbe potuto pensare di fare un attentato a quel candido fiordaliso?

«E’ già braccio di ferro per il comunicato finale del G20, con la delegazione Usa guidata dal falco John Bolton pronta a chiamarsi fuori»

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«O accettate il nostro linguaggio o noi non aderiremo alla dichiarazione»

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«Siamo impegnati …. a lavorare per un consenso sul comunicato ma ci opporremo con forza a un linguaggio che pregiudichi le nostre posizioni e siamo pronti a tirarci fuori se necessario»

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«- nessuna menzione al libero commercio senza affiancarla alla definizione di “commercio equo”»

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«- no al passaggio sulla necessità di un rafforzamento delle istituzioni commerciali internazionali (a partire dal Wto)»

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«- nessun riferimento all’accordo sul clima di Parigi, quello da cui gli Stati Uniti si sono ritirati»

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Forte della vittoria elettorale che gli ha garantito il controllo del Senato e la maggioranza dei Governatori, Mr Trump ha ora mano libera a bonificare le organizzazioni internazionali che supportavano i liberal democratici.

A questo G20 la voce dell’Unione Europea non si è fatta sentire. Mr Macron è insolitamente silenzioso e non ha ancora rilasciato una delle sue solite dichiarazioni al fulmicotone, che tanto lo rendono amabile e popolare. Frau Merkel è arrivata in ritardo per essersi ostinata a voler usare un vetusto Airbus 340 della sua aviazione militare, sì, proprio quello che la aveva piantata già due volte.

Adesso Mr Trump mette il veto sia al Wto sia al ‘clima’.

Cina. Carbone. Davos. Fallito il piano Al Gore da 90,000 mld Usd.

E per fare buon peso, via anche il politicamente corretto.


Ansa. 2018-12-01. G20: commercio e clima priorità Brics

BUENOS AIRES, 1 DIC – I leader dei cinque Paesi del gruppo Brics (Brasile, Russia, India, Cina e Sudafrica) si sono riuniti oggi a Buenos Aires, a margine del Vertice G20, respingendo il protezionismo e sostenendo l’Accordo di Parigi sui mutamenti climatici. In un documento diffuso al termine della riunione, il Brics ha espresso il suo sostegno all’Organizzazione mondiale del commercio (Wto) quale garante di buone pratiche e del rispetto delle norme nelle transazioni globali. “Le regole del Wto – recita il documento – sono contrarie alle misure unilaterali ed al protezionismo, rivolgiamo quindi la richiesta ai suoi membri di opporsi a quelle pratiche”. La presa di posizione è avvenuta proprio mentre due dei principali protagonisti del G20 in Argentina, Usa e Cina, sono impegnati in un duro confronto.

Sul piano politico il Brics ha indicato di ribadire “il nostro impegno di lavorare insieme per rafforzare il multilateralismo e per promuovere un ordine internazionale giusto, egualitario, democratico e rappresentativo”.


Ansa. 2018-12-01. Il G20 appeso a Trump, Usa pronti a sfilarsi dal comunicato

E’ già braccio di ferro per il comunicato finale del G20, con la delegazione Usa guidata dal falco John Bolton pronta a chiamarsi fuori. “O accettate il nostro linguaggio o noi non aderiremo alla dichiarazione”. “Siamo impegnati – spiega una fonte della Casa Bianca – a lavorare per un consenso sul comunicato ma ci opporremo con forza a un linguaggio che pregiudichi le nostre posizioni e siamo pronti a tirarci fuori se necessario”. Le condizioni che Bolton avrebbe messo sul tavolo sarebbero almeno tre: nessuna menzione al libero commercio senza affiancarla alla definizione di “commercio equo”, no al passaggio sulla necessita’ di un rafforzamento delle istituzioni commerciali internazionali (a partire dal Wto), nessun riferimento all’accordo sul clima di Parigi, quello da cui gli Stati Uniti si sono ritirati. Secondo le fonti dell’amministrazione Trump il presidente americano sarebbe in stretto collegamento con Bolton e ha chiesto di seguire direttamente, passo passo, gli sviluppi del negoziato, per evitare sorprese come avvenne al G7 canadese.

Intanto, è lite con Mosca sull’incontro con Putin cancellato dalla Casa Bianca a causa della crisi con l’Ucraina, mentre secondo i russi, ‘la vera ragione è la situazione politica interna negli Stati Uniti’. Resta alta la tensione anche tra Russia e Ucraina dopo la decisione di Kiev di vietare a tutti gli uomini russi tra i 16 e i 60 anni l’ingresso nel Paese. Lo ha reso noto su Twitter il presidente ucraino Petro Poroshenko. Le restrizioni, sottolinea, sono state decise per impedire ai russi di formare distaccamenti di “eserciti privati” che rispondano alle forze armate russe. 

Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Ong - Ngo, Problemia Energetici

Cina. Carbone. Davos. Fallito il piano Al Gore da 90,000 mld Usd.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-12-01.

2018-11-25__Davos 001

Tradizionalmente, a fine gennaio si teneva nella ridente cittadina di Davos il World Economic Forum.

«Il principale evento organizzato dal Forum economico mondiale è il forum che si tiene con cadenza annuale a fine gennaio presso la cittadina sciistica di Davos, nel Cantone dei Grigioni in Svizzera. L’incontro è a inviti e si tiene a porte chiuse, sebbene venga diffusa la registrazione di specifici eventi, come la sessione plenaria. In occasione dell’incontro, i vertici delle imprese associate alla fondazione incontrano una ristretta platea di leader politici e di organizzazioni non governative, esponenti della comunità scientifica, leader religiosi e giornalisti. Nei cinque giorni dell’evento sono oltre 200 gli eventi in programma, sui temi chiave del dibattito mondiale, quali conflitti internazionali, povertà e problemi ambientali» [Fonte]

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Business Insider. 2015-01-21. There’s A Plan Floating Around Davos To Spend $90 Trillion Redesigning All The Cities So They Don’t Need Cars


United Nations. 2015-01-22. Al Gore Explains in Davos What’s Next for Climate in 2015


Cnn. 2018-01-25. Al Gore: ‘We have a subprime carbon bubble’

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Per il 2019 il Meeting di Davos si sta movendo sussurrato: si fatica a trovarlo nei motori di ricerca.

Cgiar. World Economic Forum Annual Meeting – Davos 2019

«The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year. For over four decades, the World Economic Forum’s mission – improving the state of the world – has driven the design and development of the Annual Meeting objectives. Annual Meeting participants will come together to address the most pressing issues on the global agenda. They will do so in an exceptional atmosphere – the “Spirit of Davos” – based on interdisciplinary, informal and direct interaction among peers.»

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Non si parla più del piano di Mr Al Gore di ricostruire tutte le città senza automobili.

Era un piano da 90,000 miliardi di dollari: avete letto bene, novantamilamiliardi di dollari. Tutto grasso che sarebbe colato nele tasche dei liberal socialisti.

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«As levels of greenhouse gases reach a new record, concerns are growing about the role of China in global warming»

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«For years, the increase in the number of Chinese coal-fired power stations has been criticised»

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«China is also backing dozens of coal projects far beyond its borders»

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«The Chinese-supported coal projects are under way or planned as far afield as South America, Africa, southeast Asia and the Balkans»

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«Contracts and financing for these facilities are often not fully transparent»

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«In Serbia, one of the country’s largest coal-fired power stations is being expanded with the help of a loan from a Chinese bank and with the work being led by one of China’s largest construction companies»

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«In the next few months a lot of Chinese will come here and this will be a big challenge, …. With Chinese workers and Serbian workers, at the beginning we had some cultural problems but we have overcome them and there is now very good cooperation»

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Alcune considerazioni.

– Nel suo intervento al Meeting di Davos del 2015 Mr Al Gore aveva chiaramente riportato come il business attorno al ‘clima‘ si aggirasse attorno ai 90,000 miliardi di dollari americani. Un volume di affari mostruoso.

– La allora dirigenza liberal al governo negli Stati Uniti e nei paesi europei si proponeva di stornare dai bilanci statali cifre di questa entità verso realtà ‘amiche‘, quali per esempio le agenzie, sottratte al controllo elettorale.

– L’elezione di Mr Trump pose fine a questo progetto , attirandogli addosso l’odio mortale dei liberal.

– Con la successiva caduta dei governi liberal socialisti in Europa il ‘clima’ è restato privo di appoggio politico, e sta semplicemente morendo.

– Il comportamento cinese è maieutico: a parole sostiene il ‘clima’, ma nei fatti viaggia a carbone.


Bbc. 2018-11-23. China-backed coal projects prompt climate change fears

As levels of greenhouse gases reach a new record, concerns are growing about the role of China in global warming.

For years, the increase in the number of Chinese coal-fired power stations has been criticised.

Now environmental groups say China is also backing dozens of coal projects far beyond its borders.

Coal is the most damaging of the fossil fuels because of the quantity of carbon dioxide it releases when it’s burned.

Last year, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached its highest level for the past 3-5 million years, according to the latest research by the UN’s weather agency, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

And last month the UN’s climate science panel said that coal must be phased out by 2050 if the world is to have any chance of limiting the rise in temperatures.

Greenhouse gas levels at new record high

Final call to halt ‘climate catastrophe’

What is climate change?

The Chinese-supported coal projects are under way or planned as far afield as South America, Africa, southeast Asia and the Balkans.

Contracts and financing for these facilities are often not fully transparent but campaign groups including Bankwatch have tried to keep track.

“You cannot be a world leader in curbing air pollution and at the same time the world’s biggest financier of overseas coal power plants,” the group’s energy coordinator Ioana Ciuta told the BBC.

According to Ms Ciuta, efforts to tackle the dirty air of Chinese cities have led many power companies to limit their ambitions for coal-fired power stations in China itself and to target their technology and labour overseas instead.

“By having China invest in over 60 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, it’s perpetuating a source of pollution that has been demonstrated to be harmful not just to the climate but also to economies,” she said.

No carbon capture

In Serbia, one of the country’s largest coal-fired power stations is being expanded with the help of a loan from a Chinese bank and with the work being led by one of China’s largest construction companies.

An hour’s drive east of the capital Belgrade, in the coal-rich Danube valley, construction has already started at the site, known as Kostolac B3.

An existing power station towers over the rolling landscape, a steady stream of pollution twisting from a massive smokestack, and conveyor belts ferry coal from a nearby open-cast mine at Drmno.

The power station is run by the national Serbian electricity company, EPS, which provides about 70% of the country’s power by burning coal – the rest comes from hydro-electric schemes.

Now, under a $715m (£560m) contract agreed by the Serbian government and Chinese President Xi Jinping, an extra unit is being added, which will bring 350MW of additional capacity with the latest “super-critical” technology.

When we visit, we catch a brief glimpse of a group of Chinese workers wearing hard hats on their way from the construction site to a vast set of accommodation blocks – by next year, some 1,500 Chinese staff will be here.

Safety signs and notice boards are written in Serbian and Chinese. Equipment and shipping containers carry Chinese labels.

I ask the EPS official running the project, Zeljko Lazovic, what he feels about such a large and important venture being in the hands of Chinese engineers and workers.

“In the next few months a lot of Chinese will come here and this will be a big challenge,” he says.

“With Chinese workers and Serbian workers, at the beginning we had some cultural problems but we have overcome them and there is now very good cooperation.”

When asked about the environmental cost of the new project, Mr Lazovic insisted it would meet all the EU’s standards on pollution by dust, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur.

However, the new unit will not be fitted with any carbon capture technology so it will fit into a pattern of Chinese-backed projects that will add to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

‘Locked into high emissions’

Christine Shearer is an analyst with the group CoalSwarm, which tracks coal developments, and she is scathing about the implications.

“These projects are not compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5C or 2C,” she said, referring to the two targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

She says that Chinese financial institutions are filling a gap left by Western banks and agencies deciding to limit their involvement in coal.

“These projects, if completed, will lock the countries into high carbon-emitting infrastructure and volatile coal imports precisely at a time when prices for clean energy are starting to fall below that of coal power.”

We tried to contact the Export-Import Bank of China, which is providing the loan, and the China Machinery Engineering Corporation, which is leading the construction, but did not hear back.

For the Serbian power company, EPS, the attraction of a local supply of coal has combined with a cheap Chinese loan and the prospects of valuable exports of electricity.

Respiratory diseases

About 3,500 jobs depend on the Kostolac complex but some local people have become increasingly outspoken about the pollution in the area.

Momir Savic showed me how the conveyor belts carrying coal run close to the villages and he fears a further expansion of the operation.

“The quality of our air and water is very poor. We cannot grow fruit and vegetables. There is also a lot of noise. All this affects the health of people living here, many of whom have respiratory diseases,” he said.

EPS says it is spending hundreds of millions of euros on environmental protection but its track record clearly does not inspire trust.

Pera Markovic, a lawyer with Cekor, an environmental group, is critical of the company’s failure to limit pollution in the local area.

But he concedes that Serbia is heavily dependent on coal for its power.

For how long? “Decades,” Mr Markovic says.

That’s likely to be the same in many other countries too, whatever climate scientists say is needed.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale, Putin, Russia, Stati Uniti, Trump

Russia ed Ukraina. Qualcuno vorrebbe sabotare il summit Putin – Trump.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-11-29.

Trump Macron 010

Giorni fa tre navi ukraine si sono avvicinate alle acque territoriali russe al largo di Kerc: i russi le hanno cannoneggiate e quindi catturate.

È scoppiato il finimondo.

Mr Macron e Frau Merkel avrebbero voluto invadere immediatamente la Russia, poi hanno dovuto desistere non disponendo di esercito. Si sono limitati a parole grevi, minacciando l’ulteriore inasprimento delle sanzioni, salvo restando che la Russia continui a far arrivare in Europa il gas naturale.

Il commento migliore è stato quello del presidente Trump.

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«President Trump said Wednesday that he “didn’t like” Russia’s capture of three Ukraine naval vessels and called on European leaders to “get involved” — but stopped short of leveling any criticism at Vladimir Putin for ratcheting up tensions in the region»

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«We’re going to see, we’re going to find out what happened. I didn’t like the incident and we’re getting a report on what’s going on»

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«”Angela, let’s get involved Angela!” he added, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, exaggerating the pronunciation of her first name»

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«The president said that France should also get involved, but didn’t elaborate on what actions the two countries»

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«There was a question — was a warning given? Did they [the Ukranian vessels] let them know they’re coming through? Because they have a system I guess. It’s been working»

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«Ci sarebbe una domanda da porsi. È stato dato un avvertimento? L’Ukraina aveva fatto sapere ai russi che stanno arrivando? Perché hanno un sistema, credo. »

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Questo è il vero quesito da porsi.

L’Ukraina aveva o meno avvisato i russi che delle sue navi da guerra, in realtà tre vecchie carrette, si sarebbero avvicinate a Kerc?

I soliti malpensanti potrebbero anche malignare che tutto ciò che è successo sia stato fatto a posta al solo fine di impedire oppure rendere più difficile il summit in programma tra Mr Trump e Mr Putin.


The New York Post. 2018-11-29. Trump ‘didn’t like’ Russia’s capture of Ukrainian naval vessels

President Trump said Wednesday that he “didn’t like” Russia’s capture of three Ukraine naval vessels and called on European leaders to “get involved” — but stopped short of leveling any criticism at Vladimir Putin for ratcheting up tensions in the region.

“We’re going to see, we’re going to find out what happened. I didn’t like the incident and we’re getting a report on what’s going on,” Trump told The Post during a 36-minute Oval Office interview.

”Angela, let’s get involved Angela!” he added, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, exaggerating the pronunciation of her first name.

The president said that France should also get involved, but didn’t elaborate on what actions the two countries — which have both criticized Russia, as has UN Ambassador Nikki Haley — should take.

“It shouldn’t happen, it shouldn’t happen,” Trump said.

But at the same time he noted: “There was a question — was a warning given? Did they [the Ukranian vessels] let them know they’re coming through? Because they have a system I guess. It’s been working.”

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Wednesday it still expects a meeting between Putin and Trump to go ahead as planned despite a suggestion from the president that it could be canceled.

Trump said Tuesday that he may cancel the sit-down with Putin at the G-20 meeting in Argentina following Russia’s seizure of the three Ukrainian ships last weekend.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the meeting was on and that Russia has not received “any other information from our US counterparts.”

Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, noted that the meeting, which is set for Saturday, has been prepared through official channels and Moscow expects Washington to notify it of any changes in the same way.

“This meeting is necessary for both sides,” Ushakov said. “It’s important in view of the developing situation in the world.”

The long-simmering conflict between Russia and Ukraine burst into the open on Sunday, when Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian vessels and seized the ships and the crew.

Trump said he would be receiving a “full report” from his national security team on Russia’s recent actions in eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea, and would decide afterward.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump, Unione Europea

Germania. Come la valuta e la percepisce la White House.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-11-16.

White House Gatto 001

Il 26 aprile di questo anno la White House aveva steso per il presidente Trump una sintetica nota sullo stato della Germania. Il Deutsche Welle riferisce di esserne entrato da pochi giorni in possesso e la pubblica.

Piaccia o non piaccia quanto riportato, questo sarebbe il punto di vista americano.

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2018-11-13__Deutsche Welle 001jpg

Per comprenderlo al meglio, comprendere non significa condividere, occorrerebbe ricordare come le cancellerie considerino gli altri stati sono due ottiche complementari, ma totalmente differenti: una è la visione dei problemi attuali, contingenti, e l’altra è l’inquadramento strategico, nel lungo termine.

2018-11-13__Deutsche Welle 002

Il Deutsche Welle ne resta perplesso ma anche atterrito: la White House ha correttamente indicato il punto di vista strategico che rende la Germania particolarmente vulnerabile:la demografia. Se al momento questo aspetto è appena percepito, nel lungo termine sarà la causa efficiente della disgregazione della Germania, e di questo l’America non può non tener conto. Non perché ami in modo particolare i tedeschi, quanto piuttosto perché in un futuro più o meno lontano, più o meno vicino, l’America dovrà intervenire in una situazione europea tumultuosa, molto tumultuosa.

«The paper focuses on Germany’s demographic challenges»

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«The age of Germany’s population augurs a demographic crisis against the backdrop of rising immigration. Nearly 45% of Germany’s population is aged 55 and older, with 22 percent of population 65 and older. The elderly dependency ratio – the number of individual older than 65 for every 100 persons of working age – was 34.8 in 2015 and is forecast to be 59.2 in 2050.

Meanwhile … German women are not having enough children to keep the population growing or even steady. In 2017, the birth rate was 8.6 births per 1,000 residents, much lower than the death rate of 11.7 deaths per 1,000 residents. In 2016, 18.6 million residents in Germany had an immigrant background — a record high for the country — mostly attributable to the influx of refugees. While some immigrants come from the Middle East and Africa, most of the immigrant population has come from fellow European nations»

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Le conseguenze strategiche sono semplici.

La Germania non è, né potrà essere, un alleato strategico su cui contare entro un futuro abbastanza ravvicinato.

La sempre più rapida diminuzione della popolazione autoctona porterà a breve alla paralisi politica ed alla regressione economica.

Alla fine l’America dovrà decidere se intervenire o meno se non altro per difendere quel territorio avanzato.


Deutsche Welle. 2018-11-11. How the Trump White House views Germany

A briefing document for Trump’s last meeting with Angela Merkel, obtained by DW, underscores the White House’s view of Germany. The paper focuses on Germany’s demographic challenges and includes some trivial “tidbits.”

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The Daily Economic Briefing compiled by US President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers the day before he received Chancellor Angela Merkel for a highly anticipated meeting in the White House in April frames Germany in a way that seems to be in line with the president’s widely perceived negative view of the country.

“Germany has the world’s largest current account surplus and its second oldest population, as well as one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union,” reads the headline — underlined and in caps — of the two-page document, dated April 26, 2018.

Testy ties

Trump and Merkel held a comparatively cordial working meeting on April 27. The get-together, while friendlier than some of their previous encounters, did nothing to solve the deep disagreements between both leaders, particularly on trade and economic issues.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out against Germany’s large trade surplus with the United States, which he has routinely linked with what he views as the country’s meager defense spending — well below NATO’s spending goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

After his meeting with Merkel, Trump reiterated that “all member states must honor their commitment to 2 percent, and hopefully much more, of GDP, on defense. It is essential our allies increase so everyone is paying their fair share.”

The document, which has not previously been reported, also addresses Germany’s immigration policy — another key point of contention between Merkel and Trump since the beginning of his presidential campaign.

‘Demographic crisis’

“The age of Germany’s population augurs a demographic crisis against the backdrop of rising immigration,” according to the Daily Economic Briefing.

As the country’s population ages, reads the document, “German women are not having enough children to keep the population growing or even steady. In 2017, the birth rate was 8.6 births per 1,000 residents, much lower than the death rate of 11.7 deaths per 1,000 residents. In 2016, 18.6 million residents in Germany had an immigrant background — a record high for the country — mostly attributable to the influx of refugees. While some immigrants come from the Middle East and Africa, most of the immigrant population has come from fellow European nations.”

The document’s focus on Germany’s demographic challenges, and its emphasis on the large number of immigrants that came to the country as a result of the Merkel government’s decision to suspend joint European Union rules to allow in refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war in 2015, appear to support Trump’s long-held view that immigration is detrimental for Germany.

Glühwein and zoos

On a lighter note — perhaps geared towards a president who is not known for being bookish — in a section called “Interesting tidbits about Germany,” White House economists list what they apparently consider curious factoids about the country.

The list includes claims that Germany was the first country to institute daylight saving time, that running out of fuel on the German Autobahn is illegal, that “Glühwein,” or mulled red wine, is one of the most popular drinks in the country and that Germany is not only home to more than 2,100 castles, but also has more zoos (over 400) than any other country in the world.        

Asked for their take on the briefing paper, US scholars on Germany and trans-Atlantic politics said that, while the document appears to be largely correct factually, it provides a somewhat skewed view of German-American economic ties.

‘Odd take’

The paper offers “a rather odd take on the German economy,” said Jeffrey Anderson, a professor at Georgetown University and the former director of its Center for German and European Studies. “I think it’s fair to say that the briefing plays to Trump’s concerns and prior judgments about Germany.” 

“The emphasis seems to be on vulnerabilities, both political — unhappiness with the country’s current account surplus,” he said, “and structural — the demographic trends, which are actually old news and not unique to Germany.”

What’s more, noted Anderson, the “one-sided picture” presented in the briefing extends to trade as well, “insofar as there is no mention of German foreign direct investment in the United States, the value of which, in aggregate dollar amounts as well as jobs created, dwarfs the annual current account deficit the US runs with Germany.”

‘Funny and irrelevant’

Put differently, said Anderson, the US is not as it may appear in the paper, “a ‘loser’ in this relationship, but actually benefits greatly from our German economic partners.”

For Mark Hallerberg, the dean of research and faculty at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance, the briefing fails to accurately reflect the broad economic ties between the US and Germany.

Not only is trade absent in the paper, he said, but “I would also expect something on foreign direct investment in both countries.” While German automakers have a strong presence in the US, “the US tech sector has interests in Germany.” 

Having said that, added Hallerberg, “the comments on Glühwein, zoos and the autobahn are pretty funny — and largely irrelevant, though, given that Trump does not drink.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked for a response, a German government spokeswoman said, “We generally don’t comment on briefing papers of other countries.”

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti

America. I montacarichi della portaerei Ford non funzionano. – Bloomberg.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-11-14.

2018-10-05__Portaerei Ford1

Alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale gli Stati Uniti si ritrovarono ad essere l’unica superpotenza navale. Cosa questa del tutto evidente, dato il fatto che gli interessi strategici coprivano l’orbe terracqueo.

A quella data fu messa a punto una strategia costruttiva che prevedeva varo ed allestimento di una nuova portaerei ogni circa cinque anni, e rimpiazzo di un’altra avviata al disarmo. In questa maniera si mantenevano sempre in attività progettisti e cantieri in grado di lavorare sempre allo stato dell’arte: non solo navale in senso stretto, ma anche per tutto l’armamento di bordo, aerei ed elettronica inclusi.

Così agendo tutta l’industria collegata a questa tipologia di costruzioni restava aggiornata, allo stato dell’arte.

Una conseguenza è del tutto pacifica.

Anche se le portaerei realizzate seguono i canoni costruttivi di una classe, in effetti ogni nuova portaerei è un caso singolo, e le novità implementate sono soggette ad un piuttosto lungo periodo di messa a punto operativa. In altri termini, tra il varo e la messa in linea intercorre un lungo lasso di tempo. Poi, le innovazioni installate sottostanno al vaglio operativo e le versioni ragionevolmente definitive formano il substrato costruttivo degli ulteriori scafi messi in cantiere.

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Alla luce di quanto detto non desta meraviglia che la portaerei Gerald Ford presenti dei problemi.

È una nave da 104,000 tonnellate, lunga 337 metri e larga 78, spinta da due reattori nucleare A1B che consentono una velocità di 30 nodi. A pieno carico dovrebbe essere dotata di circa 75 aeroplani. Per la difesa ha sistemi antimissile Vulcan Phalanx, Rim-116 e Sea Sparrow. Tuttavia la vera contraerea è supportata dalle navi di appoggio che fanno squadra con la portaerei.

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Al momento attuale i più pericolosi nemici delle portaerei sono i missili ipersonici, quali i russi Zircon e Kinžal, oppure il cinese CM-302. In linea generale, questi missili hanno una portata di 100 – 300 km, possono volare rasente la superficie marina a circa cinque metri di altezza, sono in grado di mutar rotta ed eseguire manovre di disimpegno, nonché una velocità di Mach 5 / 6. Se queste caratteristiche fossero effettivamente vere, il missile raggiungerebbe la nave in circa due – tre minuti primi, consentendo all’avversario tempi minimi di risposta.

Lo sviluppo di queste armi anti nave obbliga i costruttori e manutentori delle portaerei ad incrementare gli armamenti anti – missile e la corazzatura.

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«Huntington Ingalls ship lacked 11 elevators needed for warfare»

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«Futuristic elevator’s ‘uncommanded movements’ among problems»

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«The $13 billion Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, was delivered last year without elevators needed to lift bombs from below deck magazines for loading on fighter jets»

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«Previously undisclosed problems with the 11 elevators for the ship built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. add to long-standing reliability and technical problems with two other core systems — the electromagnetic system to launch planes and the arresting gear to catch them when they land»

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«The Advanced Weapons Elevators, which are moved by magnets rather than cables, were supposed to be installed by the vessel’s original delivery date in May 2017. Instead, final installation was delayed by problems including four instances of unsafe “uncommanded movements” since 2015»

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«While progress was being made on the carrier’s other flawed systems, the elevator is “our Achilles heel,”»

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«The elevator system is “just another example of the Navy pushing technology risk into design and construction — without fully demonstrating it»

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L’innovazione tecnologica ha un acerrimo nemico mortale: gli entusiasti della tecnologia.

Costoro sopravvalutano in modo quasi fanciullesco la potenza della nuova tecnologia e, soprattutto, la sua affidabilità. Ma un sistema non completamente affidabile può diventare causa primaria di disastri.


Bloomberg. 2018-11-04. U.S. Navy’s Costliest Carrier Was Delivered Without Elevators to Lift Bombs

– Huntington Ingalls ship lacked 11 elevators needed for warfare

– Futuristic elevator’s ‘uncommanded movements’ among problems

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The $13 billion Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, was delivered last year without elevators needed to lift bombs from below deck magazines for loading on fighter jets.

Previously undisclosed problems with the 11 elevators for the ship built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. add to long-standing reliability and technical problems with two other core systems — the electromagnetic system to launch planes and the arresting gear to catch them when they land.

The Advanced Weapons Elevators, which are moved by magnets rather than cables, were supposed to be installed by the vessel’s original delivery date in May 2017. Instead, final installation was delayed by problems including four instances of unsafe “uncommanded movements” since 2015, according to the Navy.

While progress was being made on the carrier’s other flawed systems, the elevator is “our Achilles heel,” Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters in August without providing details.

Technology Risk

The elevator system is “just another example of the Navy pushing technology risk into design and construction — without fully demonstrating it,” said Shelby Oakley, a director with the U.S. Government Accountability Office who monitors Navy shipbuilding.

Problems with the elevators add to questions about the Navy’s plan to bundle the third and fourth carriers in the $58 billion Ford class into one contract. It’s part of the service’s push to expand its 284-ship fleet to 355 as soon as the mid-2030s.

Congress gave the Navy permission for the two-at-once contract in this year’s defense spending and policy bills despite the unresolved technical issues and the lack of a Navy estimate so far of how much money it would save the service. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan continues to review the contracting plan.

The Navy says that the first carrier will be fully combat-capable, including the elevators, by July — the end of its current 12-month pier-side shakedown period in Virginia.

Navy weapons buyer James Geurts cited what he called “considerable progress” on the Ford, including on the elevators, in a July 6 memo to Pentagon acquisition head Ellen Lord.

The Navy in May requested permission from Congress in May to increase the Ford’s cost cap by $120 million, partly to fix elevator issues “to preclude any effect on the safety of the ship and personnel.” The safety issues related to the uncommanded movements, the Navy said in an email.

‘First-in-Class Issues’

Beci Brenton, a spokeswoman for Newport News, Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls, said “all the elevators are installed.” She said the weapons elevator is among “the most advanced technologies being incorporated into” the carrier and “its completion has been delayed due to a number of first-in-class issues,” Brenton said.

“We are committed to working through the remaining technical challenges,” she said.

William Couch, a spokesman for the Naval Sea Systems Command, said the elevators are “in varying levels of construction and testing.”

Six are far enough along to be operated by the shipbuilder, and testing has started on two of those, he said. All 11 “should have been completed and delivered with the ship delivery,” according to Couch.

He said the contractor has corrected “all issues,” including the “four uncommanded movements over the last three years that were discovered during the building, operational grooming, or testing phases.”

‘Elevator of Tomorrow’

A November 2010 program on PBS’s “Nova” science series extolled the “Elevator of Tomorrow” being developed by Federal Equipment Co., a Cincinnati-based subcontractor to Huntington Ingalls.

“In the not-too-distant future the Advanced Weapons Elevator will be lifting bombs to the flight deck of a new aircraft carrier,” the narrator said. “If it survives the rigors of Navy life, someday we might all be passengers on elevators powered like this one.”

Doug Ridenour, president of Federal Equipment Co., said the elevator’s key technologies “have been consistently demonstrated for years” in a test unit in the company’s plant and any programming or software-related issues have been fixed.

But “shipboard integration involves many other technology insertions not controlled by” his company, he said.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina. Il piano strategico di costruzioni navali la conta lunga.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-08-28.

Pechino-Cina

«Without firing any shots, aircraft carriers would help rebuild regional order with China in a leading position.»


Il piano strategico navale cinese potrebbe essere facilmente comprensibile considerando i loro programmi cantieristici. Infatti, tra progettazione, costruzione ed armamento delle moderne navi da guerra, massimamente le portaerei, intercorrono tra gli otto ed i dodici anni di tempo. Questo fattore implica per necessità la esigenza di avere un ben preciso progetto strategico nella mente.

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China’s New Aircraft Carrier Shows All the Signs of a Killer. Here Is What We Know.

«China’s next aircraft carrier is likely to boast a lot more combat power.

According to the aforementioned SCMP article, Chinese engineers believe they solved this problem by developing an integrated propulsion system (IPS), which would generate enough power to use EMALS. “The obstacle … was whether a conventionally powered carrier would be able to support EMALS,” a source whom SCMP said was close the PLA’s equipment department told the paper. “Now that problem has been solved.”

China’s next aircraft carrier is likely to boast a lot more combat power.

On June 20, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the firm that makes China’s aircraft carriers, posted an image on its social media accounts showing three aircraft carriers. On the right and left were the Liaoning—China’s first carrier, which was built by Ukraine—as well as China’s first domestically-built carrier.

Unlike those carriers, which have a ski-jump launch systems, the mysterious third carrier in the middle of the image had a flat flight deck with three catapult-like devices. This suggests it relies on a catapult launch system.

Nonetheless, Chinese state-run media outlets, including the People’s Liberation Army Daily (the military’s newspaper), ran stories about the photo. This suggests that Beijing’s third carrier is almost certain to have a catapult launch system.

If China’s third carrier uses a catapult launch system—making it a Catapult Assisted Take-Off, Barrier Assisted Recovery (CATOBAR) carrier— it will boast far more combat power than Beijing’s current vessels. This type of launch system allows the carrier to launch and recover larger and much heavier aircraft.»

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Will China have aircraft carrier that can match US Navy’s?

«The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is regarded as the world’s most-advanced warship — but for how much longer?

A story published Thursday on the English website of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said the country’s top shipbuilding company is working on an aircraft carrier with an electromagnetic catapult aircraft launch system, something featured exclusively aboard the US Navy’s most expensive carrier ever, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Aircraft launched by electromagnetic catapults can get airborne quicker and with greater quantities of fuel and ammunition, giving them an advantage over planes launched by standard steam catapult.

For decades, US carriers have used steam catapult systems, where steam explodes into a piston attached to the plane’s landing gear, powering it off the deck. Besides the Ford, the other 10 carriers in the US fleet use steam catapults.

Currently, Chinese carriers launch planes using a use a different, less advanced system, known as the ski-jump, meaning planes rely on their own power when lifting off.»

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China unveils its newest aircraft carriers – and they’ve left experts shocked at how advanced they are

«It could use the 70,000-tonne CV-17 aircraft carrier to assert its dominant in the disputed South China Sea»

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«There are unconfirmed reports of a J-15A catapult compatible fighter being tested on an Electromagnetic (EMALS type) catapult. This is thought to likely have occurred at the Huangdicun facility»

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China is working on a new fighter jet for aircraft carriers to replace its J-15s

«China is developing a new fighter jet for aircraft carriers to replace its J-15s after a series of mechanical failures and crashes, as it tries to build up a blue-water navy that can operate globally, military experts and sources said.

The J-15 was based on a prototype of the fourth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engined air superiority fighter, a design that is more than 30 years old. It was developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, a unit of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

With a maximum take-off weight of 33 tonnes, the aircraft is the heaviest active carrier-based fighter jet in the world, used on China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.»

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How China could move closer to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – with Russia’s help

«Beijing is expected to use its first home-produced nuclear-powered icebreaker to develop its own nuclear reactors for future aircraft carriers, and its relationship with Russia may help its progress, military experts have said. ….

On June 8, China and Russia signed a deal worth more than 100 billion yuan (US$15 billion) to build four Russian reactor units during a ceremony in Beijing attended by presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, in what was the biggest ever nuclear pact between the two countries.»

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Cerchiamo di fare il punto della situazione.

– Ad oggi la principale preoccupazione cinese consiste nel rendere saldo il controllo sul Mare Cinese del Sud, per evidenti motivi di difesa. In questa ottica, le portaerei di attacco servirebbero ben poco.

– In un futuro prossimo, l’obbiettivo strategico è il controllo dell’Oceano Indiano. Per questo oceano passano ogni anno quasi quattro trilioni di dollari di merci cinesi: è una linea di comunicazione marittima di somma importanza per la Cina. In questo scacchiere allora saranno necessarie le portaerei di attacco, dotate anche di aerei ben più efficienti dell’attuale J-15. Ma questo obbiettivo sarebbe irraggiungibile senza aver sviluppato un efficiente sistema di catapulte per il lancio degli aerei e di adeguati reattori atomici.

– Lo sviluppo di una flotta oceanica presuppone però il contemporaneo progetto di tutte le navi a corollario della portaerei, nonché dei sistemi di comunicazione e sorveglianza dallo spazio.

– Nel prossimo decennio la Cina sembrerebbe non essere interessata al controllo globale dei mari. Di conseguenza, i paragoni con la flotta americana sarebbero impropri, avendo queste due forze navali obbiettivi differenti.


The Diplomat. 2018-08-18. How China’s New Aircraft Carriers Will Shape Regional Order

Rather than confronting other major navies, these big new ships will go to work boosting China’s prestige.

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The sea trials of China’s first domestically-constructed aircraft carrier have sparked a fresh debate about Chinese naval power. Some have argued that the carriers, while still vulnerable in a clash of major powers, would cement Chinese leadership if the United States withdraws from the region. Others have pointed to growing Chinese amphibious capabilities as being the naval point to watch.

It would be better to expect that China’s new aircraft-carrying fleet need not await a major conflict to be valuable – indeed it may be most valuable in the absence of war. Rather than confronting other major navies, these big new ships will go to work instead boosting China’s prestige and standing in the Indo-Pacific regional order. This may happen in two ways: as the peacetime deployment of such a fleet lets China, without direct conflict, dilute U.S. influence in the region; and as the signals sent by aircraft carriers allow a clean break in regional perceptions of China’s status.

China’s 2015 Defense White Paper embraced a combination of “near seas defense” and “far seas protection,” likely giving China by 2030 a “limited expeditionary” capability encompassing natural disasters, evacuations, counterterrorism, and the security of sea lanes. As a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officer stated: “The second carrier will mainly do what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do: running combat patrols and delivering humanitarian aid.” The key is that the humanitarian role is much more than mere rhetoric and deserves close attention.

Humanitarian activities are important because China, along with all the major states of the region, is competing for relative status. This ranking in the regional order is adjusted through competition, including contestation in regional institutions, assertion of responsibilities, and, if not armed conflict, then potentially diplomatic coercion and the threat of force. This process is important because it lets states establish common beliefs about each other’s rights, responsibilities, and the hierarchy of deferense. Using naval power for humanitarian assistance is ideal for this, because it lets states demonstrate raw strength, establish practical international links, and show off moral leadership.

A major instance of this status-building in action was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which was met by a multinational relief effort led by the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Scholars such as Robert Ross argue that the disaster helped set off the popular mood in China in favor of an aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, Andrew Erickson and A.R. Wilson see the incident as a key turning point in the Chinese leadership’s assessment of aircraft carriers’ value. They have pointed to Chinese military publications enviously describing Japan as a “great power of disaster relief,” while the political implications of the disaster response showed the importance of navies not just in conflict, but in “national construction, disaster relief, and rebuilding.”

Beijing is likely to see humanitarian operations in a ruthlessly pragmatic light for at least three reasons. First, humanitarian operations reinforce China’s regional status claims because they are an excellent demonstration of real operational capability. As an adjunct to this, as the United States, Japan, and Australia have found, humanitarian assistance is an excellent avenue for “defense diplomacy.” The need to prepare for such contingencies provides a versatile pretext for gaining access and bilateral cooperation with local partners, irrespective of traditional alliances, while a track record of humanitarian assistance can also justify establishing access rights or even bases overseas.

Second, humanitarian assistance yields quantifiable soft-power dividends. Pew Research Center figures show a measurable improvement in attitudes toward the United States after natural disasters such the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Similarly, Japan gained diplomatic kudos in ASEAN after it made its largest postwar naval deployment after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, while China suffered media criticism for its meager donation.

A third aspect of humanitarian assistance of specific importance to China is the scope for expeditionary naval forces to assist in the evacuation of Chinese nationals from crises abroad. This has long been seen as a key point on which Beijing demonstrates the legitimacy of the Communist Party regime. One study has noted that while there would be practical benefits to air cover, Beijing is also keenly aware of the diplomatic potential of stationing a carrier group near a country where Chinese citizens are under threat.

These strategic motivations indicate the way humanitarian assistance by a rising power can erode the role of established actors, and allow China increased status in the regional order. On the other hand, it will take sustained effort, ongoing funding streams, and the diversion of considerable technical and professional expertise to develop a fully operational carrier force.

Additional factors might for Beijing justify the immense expense – estimated at around $10 billion – of constructing a carrier group.

One of these is the fact that the very expense of aircraft carriers reflects makes them a form of conspicuous consumption. This status symbol argument holds that aircraft carrier construction, like China’s space program and hosting of the Olympic Games, shows off not only a wealthy country, but one with leading technical and organizational capacities.

In addition to this, there is growing research in international relations scholarly circles about the importance of sending clear and dramatic messages in order to boost status. Unlike other status symbols, aircraft carrier deployments carry greater potential to shift observers’ attitudes. As Jonathan Renshon argues, events that are highly visible to all, that are relevant enough to attract the concern of decision-makers, and that convey unambiguous information, are more likely to shift established beliefs about national status. Aircraft carriers are such a widely accepted symbol that they generate immediate mutual awareness – if Beijing deploys one overseas, it can expect that not only will everyone pay attention, but everyone will understand the kind of power being displayed.

The implication is that we could expect Chinese aircraft carriers to appear as soon as possible in nontraditional security roles around the region. This could still be compatible with Beijing reducing expenses by stretching the carrier construction program out to 2050 or beyond. The big unknown is how operational the carrier (or indeed, large amphibious ship) will be, as its role may well be largely symbolic at first. The key is to be aware that the aircraft carrier is there to construct the image that China is a major power. Without firing any shots, aircraft carriers would help rebuild regional order with China in a leading position.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti

Cina – Sri Lanka. Belt and Road e basi navali. – NYT e China Org.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-07-15.

2018-07-06__Cina_Porti__001

Il The New York Times dedica un mastodontico articolo ai rapporti tra Cina a Sri Lanka: la sua lettura è parte integrante di questo articolo.

Questo articolo è stato espressamente citato da un editoriale di China Org, organo di stampa del Governo cinese.

«China will continue to work with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and continuously promote the pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives»

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«A spokesperson in the Embassy said that China has always been pursuing a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka, firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country»

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«continuously promote the pragmatic cooperations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives following the “golden rule” of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,”to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples,”»

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«The spokesperson further said that the Embassy had noticed the recent New York Times’ article as well as the clarifications and responses by various parties from Sri Lanka, saying the article is full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact»

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«The New York Times article published on June 25, accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes. It however has drawn flak from Sri Lankan leaders, who have stated that the article fell under the “fake news” category»

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La presa di posizione del Governo cinese riassume in poche righe i concetti base che ispirano la sua politica estera.

– “pragmatic cooperation“: nei rapporti internazionali bilaterali la Cina promuove una cooperazione sociale ed economica al di fuori di ogni possibile schema mentale ideologico o preconcetto. I partner si accettano senza tentativo alcuno di modificarne tradizioni e comportamenti. Cooperazione implica un reciproco guadagno da questo rapporto: “to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples …. shared benefits“.

– “firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country“. Per meglio chiarire il concetto, Cina Org ricorda il rispetto della indipendenza, della sovranità, della integrità territoriale, ed infine la assoluta non interferenza degli affari interni dei paesi. In altri termini, l’esatto opposto del modo di pensare e comportarsi degli occidentali ed in particolar modo degli europei.

– “accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes“. China Org riporta in modo molto diplomatico come questa notizia sia stata smentita dallo Sri Lankan. Non avendo detto nulla la China, si potrebbe dedurre che se le cose evolvessero, la essa non si opporrebbe.

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Larga quota delle merci cinesi attraversano lo Stretto di Malacca  e si dirigono in gran parte sulla rotta per Suez. È semplicemente evidente come il controllo dello spazio marittimo del nord Oceano Indiano sia essenziale per i cinesi.

Una ultima precisazione a nostro parere importante.

L’articolo edito dal The New York Times è mastodontico, inusitatamente lungo e dettagliato: da al problema del dominio dell’Oceano Indiano la corretta importanza strategica. Dopo il Mare Cinese Meridionale gli Stati Uniti corrono il serio rischio di perdere anche il controlla navale dell’Oceano Indiano.

Tuttavia, a nostro sommesso parere, l’articolo del NYT non riporta quella che è l’attuale posizione politica e militare degli Stati Uniti, bensì cosa e come ne pensano i liberal democratici. Opinione che deve essere valutata con cura, ma che non è al momento al governo dell’America.


China Org. 2018-07-01. China to continue promoting pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka under Belt and Road: Chinese embassy

China will continue to work with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and continuously promote the pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said in a statement Saturday.

A spokesperson in the Embassy said that China has always been pursuing a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka, firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country.

“Despite any interference from a third party, China would like to work together with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and concentrate unwaveringly on our fixed goals, continuously promote the pragmatic cooperations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives following the “golden rule” of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,” to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson further said that the Embassy had noticed the recent New York Times’ article as well as the clarifications and responses by various parties from Sri Lanka, saying the article is full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact.

The New York Times article published on June 25, accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes. It however has drawn flak from Sri Lankan leaders, who have stated that the article fell under the “fake news” category.


The New York Times. 2018-07-01. How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka — Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes.

Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa.

Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted. With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012.

And then the port became China’s.

Mr. Rajapaksa was voted out of office in 2015, but Sri Lanka’s new government struggled to make payments on the debt he had taken on. Under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, the government handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years in December.

The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of a rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.

The case is one of the most vivid examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect.

The debt deal also intensified some of the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending program amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fueling corruption and autocratic behavior in struggling democracies.

Months of interviews with Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Western officials and analysis of documents and agreements stemming from the port project present a stark illustration of how China and the companies under its control ensured their interests in a small country hungry for financing.

  • During the 2015 Sri Lankan elections, large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Mr. Rajapaksa, who had agreed to Chinese terms at every turn and was seen as an important ally in China’s efforts to tilt influence away from India in South Asia. The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation seen by The New York Times.

  • Though Chinese officials and analysts have insisted that China’s interest in the Hambantota port is purely commercial, Sri Lankan officials said that from the start, the intelligence and strategic possibilities of the port’s location were part of the negotiations.

  • Initially moderate terms for lending on the port project became more onerous as Sri Lankan officials asked to renegotiate the timeline and add more financing. And as Sri Lankan officials became desperate to get the debt off their books in recent years, the Chinese demands centered on handing over equity in the port rather than allowing any easing of terms.

  • Though the deal erased roughly $1 billion in debt for the port project, Sri Lanka is now in more debt to China than ever, as other loans have continued and rates remain much higher than from other international lenders.

Mr. Rajapaksa and his aides did not respond to multiple requests for comment, made over several months, for this article. Officials for China Harbor also would not comment.

Estimates by the Sri Lankan Finance Ministry paint a bleak picture: This year, the government is expected to generate $14.8 billion in revenue, but its scheduled debt repayments, to an array of lenders around the world, come to $12.3 billion.

“John Adams said infamously that a way to subjugate a country is through either the sword or debt. China has chosen the latter,” said Brahma Chellaney, an analyst who often advises the Indian government and is affiliated with the Center for Policy Research, a think tank in New Delhi.

Indian officials, in particular, fear that Sri Lanka is struggling so much that the Chinese government may be able to dangle debt relief in exchange for its military’s use of assets like the Hambantota port — though the final lease agreement forbids military activity there without Sri Lanka’s invitation.

“The only way to justify the investment in Hambantota is from a national security standpoint — that they will bring the People’s Liberation Army in,” said Shivshankar Menon, who served as India’s foreign secretary and then its national security adviser as the Hambantota port was being built.

An Engaged Ally

The relationship between China and Sri Lanka had long been amicable, with Sri Lanka an early recognizer of Mao’s Communist government after the Chinese Revolution. But it was during a more recent conflict — Sri Lanka’s brutal 26-year civil war with ethnic Tamil separatists — that China became indispensable.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who was elected in 2005, presided over the last years of the war, when Sri Lanka became increasingly isolated by accusations of human rights abuses. Under him, Sri Lanka relied heavily on China for economic support, military equipment and political cover at the United Nations to block potential sanctions.

The war ended in 2009, and as the country emerged from the chaos, Mr. Rajapaksa and his family consolidated their hold. At the height of Mr. Rajapaksa’s tenure, the president and his three brothers controlled many government ministries and around 80 percent of total government spending. Governments like China negotiated directly with them.

So when the president began calling for a vast new port development project at Hambantota, his sleepy home district, the few roadblocks in its way proved ineffective.

From the start, officials questioned the wisdom of a second major port, in a country a quarter the size of Britain and with a population of 22 million, when the main port in the capital was thriving and had room to expand. Feasibility studies commissioned by the government had starkly concluded that a port at Hambantota was not economically viable.

“They approached us for the port at the beginning, and Indian companies said no,” said Mr. Menon, the former Indian foreign secretary. “It was an economic dud then, and it’s an economic dud now.”

But Mr. Rajapaksa greenlighted the project, then boasted in a news release that he had defied all caution — and that China was on board.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority began devising what officials believed was a careful, economically sound plan in 2007, according to an official involved in the project. It called for a limited opening for business in 2010, and for revenue to be coming in before any major expansion.

The first major loan it took on the project came from the Chinese government’s Export-Import Bank, or Exim, for $307 million. But to obtain the loan, Sri Lanka was required to accept Beijing’s preferred company, China Harbor, as the port’s builder, according to a United States Embassy cable from the time, leaked to WikiLeaks.

That is a typical demand of China for its projects around the world, rather than allowing an open bidding process. Across the region, Beijing’s government is lending out billions of dollars, being repaid at a premium to hire Chinese companies and thousands of Chinese workers, according to officials across the region.

There were other strings attached to the loan, as well, in a sign that China saw strategic value in the Hambantota port from the beginning.

Nihal Rodrigo, a former Sri Lankan foreign secretary and ambassador to China, said that discussions with Chinese officials at the time made it clear that intelligence sharing was an integral, if not public, part of the deal. In an interview with The Times, Mr. Rodrigo characterized the Chinese line as, “We expect you to let us know who is coming and stopping here.”

In later years, Chinese officials and the China Harbor company went to great lengths to keep relations strong with Mr. Rajapaksa, who for years had faithfully acquiesced to such terms.

In the final months of Sri Lanka’s 2015 election, China’s ambassador broke with diplomatic norms and lobbied voters, even caddies at Colombo’s premier golf course, to support Mr. Rajapaksa over the opposition, which was threatening to tear up economic agreements with the Chinese government.

As the January election inched closer, large payments started to flow toward the president’s circle.

At least $7.6 million was dispensed from China Harbor’s account at Standard Chartered Bank to affiliates of Mr. Rajapaksa’s campaign, according to a document, seen by The Times, from an active internal government investigation. The document details China Harbor’s bank account number — ownership of which was verified — and intelligence gleaned from questioning of the people to whom the checks were made out.

With 10 days to go before polls opened, around $3.7 million was distributed in checks: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Mr. Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two checks totaling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, his official residence.

Most of the payments were from a subaccount controlled by China Harbor, named “HPDP Phase 2,” shorthand for Hambantota Port Development Project.

China’s Network

After nearly five years of helter-skelter expansion for China’s Belt and Road Initiative across the globe, Chinese officials are quietly trying to take stock of how many deals have been done and what the country’s financial exposure might be. There is no comprehensive picture of that yet, said one Chinese economic policymaker, who like many other officials would speak about Chinese policy only on the condition of anonymity.

Some Chinese officials have become concerned that the nearly institutional graft surrounding such projects represents a liability for China, and raises the bar needed for profitability. President Xi acknowledged the worry in a speech last year, saying, “We will also strengthen international cooperation on anticorruption in order to build the Belt and Road Initiative with integrity.”

In Bangladesh, for example, officials said in January that China Harbor would be banned from future contracts over accusations that the company attempted to bribe an official at the ministry of roads, stuffing $100,000 into a box of tea, government officials said in interviews. And China Harbor’s parent company, China Communications Construction Company, was banned for eight years in 2009 from bidding on World Bank projects because of corrupt practices in the Philippines.

Since the port seizure in Sri Lanka, Chinese officials have started suggesting that Belt and Road is not an open-ended government commitment to finance development across three continents.

“If we cannot manage the risk well, the Belt and Road projects cannot go far or well,” said Jin Qi, the chairwoman of the Silk Road Fund, a large state-owned investment fund, during the China Development Forum in late March.

In Sri Lanka’s case, port officials and Chinese analysts have also not given up the view that the Hambantota port could become profitable, or at least strengthen China’s trade capacity in the region.

Ray Ren, China Merchant Port’s representative in Sri Lanka and the head of the Hambantota port’s operations, insisted that “the location of Sri Lanka is ideal for international trade.” And he dismissed the negative feasibility studies, saying they were done many years ago when Hambantota was “a small fishing hamlet.”

Hu Shisheng, the director of South Asia studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that China clearly recognized the strategic value of the Hambantota port. But he added: “Once China wants to exert its geostrategic value, the strategic value of the port will be gone. Big countries cannot fight in Sri Lanka — it would be wiped out.”

Although the Hambantota port first opened in a limited way in 2010, before the Belt and Road Initiative was announced, the Chinese government quickly folded the project into the global program.

Shortly after the handover ceremony in Hambantota, China’s state news agency released a boastful video on Twitter, proclaiming the deal “another milestone along the path of #BeltandRoad.”

A Port to Nowhere

The seaport is not the only grand project built with Chinese loans in Hambantota, a sparsely populated area on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast that is still largely overrun by jungle.

A cricket stadium with more seats than the population of Hambantota’s district capital marks the skyline, as does a large international airport — which in June lost the only daily commercial flight it had left when FlyDubai airline ended the route. A highway that cuts through the district is traversed by elephants and used by farmers to rake out and dry the rice plucked fresh from their paddies.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s advisers had laid out a methodical approach to how the port might expand after opening, ensuring that some revenue would be coming in before taking on much more debt.

But in 2009, the president had grown impatient. His 65th birthday was approaching the following year, and to mark the occasion he wanted a grand opening at the Hambantota port — including the beginning of an ambitious expansion 10 years ahead of the Port Authority’s original timeline.

Chinese laborers began working day and night to get the port ready, officials said. But when workers dredged the land and then flooded it to create the basin of the port, they had not taken into account a large boulder that partly blocked the entrance, preventing the entry of large ships, like oil tankers, that the port’s business model relied on.

Ports Authority officials, unwilling to cross the president, quickly moved ahead anyway. The Hambantota port opened in an elaborate celebration on Nov. 18, 2010, Mr. Rajapaksa’s birthday. Then it sat waiting for business while the rock blocked it.

China Harbor blasted the boulder a year later, at a cost of $40 million, an exorbitant price that raised concerns among diplomats and government officials. Some openly speculated about whether the company was simply overcharging or the price tag included kickbacks to Mr. Rajapaksa.

By 2012, the port was struggling to attract ships — which preferred to berth nearby at the Colombo port — and construction costs were rising as the port began expanding ahead of schedule. The government decreed later that year that ships carrying car imports bound for Colombo port would instead offload their cargo at Hambantota to kick-start business there. Still, only 34 ships berthed at Hambantota in 2012, compared with 3,667 ships at the Colombo port, according to a Finance Ministry annual report.

“When I came to the government, I called the minister of national planning and asked for the justification of Hambantota Port,” Harsha de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, said in an interview. “She said, ‘We were asked to do it, so we did it.’ ”

Determined to keep expanding the port, Mr. Rajapaksa went back to the Chinese government in 2012, asking for $757 million.

The Chinese agreed again. But this time, the terms were much steeper.

The first loan, at $307 million, had originally come at a variable rate that usually settled above 1 or 2 percent after the global financial crash in 2008. (For comparison, rates on similar Japanese loans for infrastructure projects run below half a percent.)

But to secure fresh funding, that initial loan was renegotiated to a much higher 6.3 percent fixed rate. Mr. Rajapaksa acquiesced.

The rising debt and project costs, even as the port was struggling, handed Sri Lanka’s political opposition a powerful issue, and it campaigned heavily on suspicions about China. Mr. Rajapaksa lost the election.

The incoming government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, came to office with a mandate to scrutinize Sri Lanka’s financial deals. It also faced a daunting amount of debt: Under Mr. Rajapaksa, the country’s debt had increased threefold, to $44.8 billion when he left office. And for 2015 alone, a $4.68 billion payment was due at year’s end.

Signing It Away

The new government was eager to reorient Sri Lanka toward India, Japan and the West. But officials soon realized that no other country could fill the financial or economic space that China held in Sri Lanka.

“We inherited a purposefully run-down economy — the revenues were insufficient to pay the interest charges, let alone capital repayment,” said Ravi Karunanayake, who was finance minister during the new government’s first year in office.

“We did keep taking loans,” he added. “A new government can’t just stop loans. It’s a relay; you need to take them until economic discipline is introduced.”

The Central Bank estimated that Sri Lanka owed China about $3 billion last year. But Nishan de Mel, an economist at Verité Research, said some of the debts were off government books and instead registered as part of individual projects. He estimated that debt owed to China could be as much as $5 billion and was growing every year. In May, Sri Lanka took a new $1 billion loan from China Development Bank to help make its coming debt payment.

Government officials began meeting in 2016 with their Chinese counterparts to strike a deal, hoping to get the port off Sri Lanka’s balance sheet and avoid outright default. But the Chinese demanded that a Chinese company take a dominant equity share in the port in return, Sri Lankan officials say — writing down the debt was not an option China would accept.

When Sri Lanka was given a choice, it was over which state-owned company would take control: either China Harbor or China Merchants Port, according to the final agreement, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, although it was never released publicly in full.

China Merchants got the contract, and it immediately pressed for more: Company officials demanded 15,000 acres of land around the port to build an industrial zone, according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations. The Chinese company argued that the port itself was not worth the $1.1 billion it would pay for its equity — money that would close out Sri Lanka’s debt on the port.

Some government officials bitterly opposed the terms, but there was no leeway, according to officials involved in the negotiations. The new agreement was signed in July 2017, and took effect in December.

The deal left some appearance of Sri Lankan ownership: Among other things, it created a joint company to manage the port’s operations and collect revenue, with 85 percent owned by China Merchants Port and the remaining 15 percent controlled by Sri Lanka’s government.

But lawyers specializing in port acquisitions said Sri Lanka’s small stake meant little, given the leverage that China Merchants Port retained over board personnel and operating decisions.

When the agreement was initially negotiated, it left open whether the port and surrounding land could be used by the Chinese military, which Indian officials asked the Sri Lankan government to explicitly forbid. The final agreement bars foreign countries from using the port for military purposes unless granted permission by the government in Colombo.

That clause is there because Chinese Navy submarines had already come calling to Sri Lanka.

Strategic Concerns

China had a stake in Sri Lanka’s main port as well: China Harbor was building a new terminal there, known at the time as Colombo Port City. Along with that deal came roughly 50 acres of land, solely held by the Chinese company, that Sri Lanka had no sovereignty on.

That was dramatically demonstrated toward the end of Mr. Rajapaksa’s term, in 2014. Chinese submarines docked at the harbor the same day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was visiting Colombo, in what was seen across the region as a menacing signal from Beijing.

When the new Sri Lankan government came to office, it sought assurances that the port would never again welcome Chinese submarines — of particular concern because they are difficult to detect and often used for intelligence gathering. But Sri Lankan officials had little real control.

Now, the handover of Hambantota to the Chinese has kept alive concerns about possible military use — particularly as China has continued to militarize island holdings around the South China Sea despite earlier pledges not to.

Sri Lankan officials are quick to point out that the agreement explicitly rules out China’s military use of the site. But others also note that Sri Lanka’s government, still heavily indebted to China, could be pressured to allow it.

And, as Mr. de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, put it, “Governments can change.”

Now, he and others are watching carefully as Mr. Rajapaksa, China’s preferred partner in Sri Lanka, has been trying to stage a political comeback. The former president’s new opposition party swept municipal elections in February. Presidential elections are coming up next year, and general elections in 2020.

Although Mr. Rajapaksa is barred from running again because of term limits, his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former defense secretary, appears to be readying to take the mantle.

“It will be Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call. If he says it’s one of the brothers, that person will have a very strong claim,” said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the central bank governor under Mr. Rajapaksa’s government, who still advises the family. “Even if he’s no longer the president, as the Constitution is structured, Mahinda will be the main power base.”

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Cina, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Geopolitica Mondiale

Aiib. Infrastrutture asiatiche necessitano 1.7 trilioni Usd ogni anno fino al 2030.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-07-05.

Pechino-Cina

«Xinhua News Agency or New China News Agency is the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China. Xinhua is the biggest and most influential media organization in China, as well as the largest news agency in the world in terms of correspondents worldwide. Xinhua is a ministry-level institution subordinate to the Chinese central government, and is the highest ranking state media organ in the country alongside the People’s Daily. Its president is a member of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party.»

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Aiib,( Asian infrastructure investment bank) è la banca di sviluppo dei Brics nata nell’ottobre 2014, a sostegno dell’Obor (nuova via della seta). C’è poi il Silk Road Fund.

Progetto cinese Obor, One belt One Road, coinvolge più di un terzo del pil mondiale, per ora.

«Obor coinvolgerebbe fino a 65 nazioni: più della metà della popolazione mondiale, tre quarti delle riserve energetiche e un terzo del prodotto interno lordo globale, rappresenterebbe il più grande progetto di investimento mai compiuto prima, superando, al netto dell’inflazione odierna, di almeno 12 volte l’European Recovery Program, il celebre Piano Marshall»

Obor. Progetto cinese su di un terzo del pil mondiale, per ora.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

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«The third annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) kicked off in India’s financial hub Mumbai on Monday with the theme “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration.”»

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«At AIIB Governors’ seminar during the event on Monday, AIIB President Jin Liqun stressed the need to increase the private-sector investment in financing the infrastructure in developing countries of Asia»

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«We are trying to work with the private sector to do infrastructure projects and investments in other productive sectors so that we don’t have to put pressure on the balance-sheet of the government»

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«I believe that we are not just financers, we are problem solver for the government, for the private sector»

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«Lean, clean and green is the way we work. We invest in sustainability and are guided by those priorities. Our bank is apolitical and all projects have to pass our test on sustainability»

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«According to the latest AIIB annual report, the bank has financed 23 projects worth 4.2 billion U.S. dollars, a significant increase from 2016»

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«It was estimated that Asia’s infrastructure needs will be over 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars per year till 2030»

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Aiib è uno dei tanti veicoli finanziari tramite i quali la Cina finanzia il suo piano di infrastrutture asiatiche.

Nella sua globalità, questo progetto abbisogna di circa 1,700 miliardi Usd ogni anno: sono cifre da capogiro.

L’approccio cinese è linearmente semplice ed empirico.

Finanziano progetti che abbiano immediate o future ricadute in termini di resa economica: alimentano soltanto investimenti produttivi, che producano guadagni sia per la Cina sia per i paesi coinvolti. Tutti devono guadagnare qualcosa.

Non solo.

Nello stipulare gli accordi, i cinesi trattano su scala paritetica, non pongono vincoli politici e ben si guardano da vincoli etici e/o morali. Tanto meno la Cina gradisce intromettersi nei problemi di gestione interna degli stati partner.

Non solo.

Come detto, ma sembrerebbe opportuno ripeterlo data la importanza, mentre gli occidentali contraggono debiti sempre più consistenti per alimentare il loro welfare, i cinesi investono quasi soltanto nel comparto produttivo, dando al welfare solo il minimo indispensabile alla dignitosa sussistenza. E questa è la strategia vincente.

Pil 2018 – 2022. – Previsioni dell’IMF. Grandi sorprese in arrivo.


Xinhua. 2018-06-25. Spotlight: AIIB meeting kicks off with focus on private sector investment in infrastructure

MUMBAI, June 25 (Xinhua) — The third annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) kicked off in India’s financial hub Mumbai on Monday with the theme “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration.”

Over 3,000 delegates from over 80 members as well as varied multinational organizations are attending the two-day event, which will see brainstorming sessions on how to mobilize finance for huge infrastructure needs in developing countries in Asia and beyond.

Policy-makers, officials from AIIB members, and participants from partner organizations, private sector and civil society organizations will share their insights on addressing the huge infrastructure-deficit in a sustainable, environment and society-friendly manner.

At AIIB Governors’ seminar during the event on Monday, AIIB President Jin Liqun stressed the need to increase the private-sector investment in financing the infrastructure in developing countries of Asia.

“We are trying to work with the private sector to do infrastructure projects and investments in other productive sectors so that we don’t have to put pressure on the balance-sheet of the government,” said Jin.

He called upon all the governments in Asia in particular to clear hurdles in the way of private-sector investment for building infrastructure.

He also hoped that the private sector will be more than willing to pour money into infrastructure projects if government clears practical hurdles in the way of investment.

He said that AIIB wants to work as a bridge between private sector and governments.

Jin also shared the best practices adopted by the Chinese government in clearing hurdles for building massive infrastructure across China. “We must be innovative and we must be responsive to the needs of the (local) people,” he said.

He also termed the Beijing-based bank as a problem-solver in order to forge a win-win partnership. “I believe that we are not just financers, we are problem solver for the government, for the private sector,” he said.

At a media-briefing during the event, AIIB Vice President Danny Alexander also enumerated priorities and lending norms of the AIIB. “Lean, clean and green is the way we work. We invest in sustainability and are guided by those priorities. Our bank is apolitical and all projects have to pass our test on sustainability and environment,” he said.

He also said that AIIB would consider investing in projects outside Asia as long as they serve to benefit Asian regions too.

This year, AIIB also launched an inaugural Asian Infrastructure Forum during the Mumbai meeting, drawing investors from private companies around the globe. Speakers at the forum called upon multinational companies to follow public-private partnership model in order to build cross-country connectivity in Asia.

On the sidelines of the AIIB meeting, an “India Infrastructure Expo 2018” was also organized by the host country to highlight the tremendous scope of building infrastructure in India.

While inaugurating the expo on Sunday, India’s Finance Minister Piyush Goyal welcomed AIIB guests from around the world. “We’re extremely delighted at the progress that the Bank has made,” he said.

The indian minister has also lauded AIIB for its achievements in a short time-span of three years.

“The Asian Infrastructure Investment bank has really matured in a short period of time, and is rapidly progressing to become one of the most important infrastructure financiers across the world,” said the minister, who is also on the board of governors at AIIB.

Various private companies and international agencies are showcasing their latest solutions, advanced technologies and other offerings in the arena of infrastructure development at the India Infrastructure Expo.

Among others, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency headquartered in Rome is also ready to join hands with AIIB in the area of rural-infrastructure in countries like India and China.

Alexander Boehm, IFAD’s representative and technical specialist at the Global Engagement Knowledge and Strategic Division, told Xinhua at the sidelines of the meeting that China and India share the responsibility to lead new international institutions.

“Given their size, given their market size and enormous potential, it only makes sense to these countries to be more active internationally,” he said, while highlighting the potential scope in building rural-infrastructure in India and China as well as other developing nations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the gathering on Tuesday.

During the annual AIIB meeting, 22 seminars focusing on building infrastructure in Asia and beyond, gender and infrastructure and finding ways to fund infrastructure are being organized.

According to the latest AIIB annual report, the bank has financed 23 projects worth 4.2 billion U.S. dollars, a significant increase from 2016.

It was estimated that Asia’s infrastructure needs will be over 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars per year till 2030.

India has emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the multilateral bank with the country already garnering 1.2 billion U.S. dollars of funds. Another 1.9 billion U.S. dollars of fund to finance various projects in India has also been approved by the bank.

While 75 percent of the bank’s capital comes from Asia, some members from non-Asian regions like Europe, North America, and East Africa, among others, have also joined the bank.