Monday, July 31, 2017

China starts building $590m naval port at Djibouti

The poor African nation of Djibouti lies at the junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a crucial shipping route leading to the Suez Canal (Google Maps)

China starts building $590m naval port at Djibouti

26 February 2016 China has started building a naval port in Djibouti, the tiny African country located at the crucial junction of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, as it continues expanding its international influence.
Its first military supply depot in Africa, the base at Doraleh will support the Chinese Navy’s operations in the Indian Ocean and establish China’s presence on one of the world’s busiest waterways leading to the Suez Canal.
“The Djibouti port will fulfil multiple purposes, including handling bulk commodities, containers and other goods. The Chinese Navy would use one of the berths”
Upon completion of the base, the Chinese Navy will become neighbours with the American and French forces who already have a base in the country.
“The construction of infrastructure and facilities has begun, and we have sent some people to work on that,” said Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian on 26 February, reports South China Morning Post.
China will fund most of the project, which Reuters reported would cost $590m. China is the biggest investor in Djibouti, one of Africa’s poorest nations.
The Djibouti port will fulfil multiple purposes, including handling bulk commodities, containers and other goods. The Chinese Navy would use one of the berths, Reuters reported.
Chinese naval vessels have been active in the Gulf of Aden since they conducted anti-pirate operations in the region in 2008.
After taking Djibouti as a transition port to evacuate nearly 900 people from Yemen last year, China started negotiations to build a permanent base in the country.
China is seeking to increase its military’s presence and security influence abroad to safeguard its growing international interests, which cover strategic areas along the “One Belt, One Road” route.
China is also building facilities at the port of Gwadar, situated at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Strait of Hormuz in Pakistan’s western province of Balochistan.
The naval outpost, which is due for completion next year, is expected to feature weapons stores, ship and helicopter maintenance facilities and possibly special forces.
China naval base in Djibouti on Horn of Africa
A satellite image taken on August 7 shows advanced construction at China’s first overseas naval base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa
China naval base on Djibouti Horn of Africa
This satellite image taken on November 23 last year shows how the base was just patch of scrubland only a few months ago
Camel herders first spotted Chinese troops staking out a patch of coastal scrubland, around eight miles from the largest U.S. military base in Africa.
The new cluster of buildings and shipping containers, some flying the Chinese flag, now offers the first real sign of China’s ambition to extend its military reach across the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Experts say that expansion would compromise Western Security partnerships that have underpinned the world order since 1945, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal.
It also comes as world tensions mount over Beijing's island-snatching in the South China Sea which has seen it build military bases in the hotly contested waters despite a UN tribunal ruling.
China builds new naval base in Djibouti
China’’s navy conducted its first joint maritime exercises with Djibouti in 2015 (above)
Djibouti locator
Experts say that expansion in Djibouti could challenge Western security partnerships that have underpinned the world order since 1945
Admiral Sun Jianguo, the deputy chief of the joint staff department and likely future naval chief, signalled China’s intentions in April.
Writing in a Communist Party magazine, he said steadily advancing overseas base construction’ was one of President Xi Jinping’s foreign-policy priorities.
Only a few countries have bases beyond their borders: the U.S. has the most with 42 followed by Britain, France and Russia with around a dozen.
China builds new naval base on Horn of Africa
This picture taken on May 5 2015 shows Chinese workers building railway infrastructure on new tracks linking Djibouti with Addis Ababa
China says the Djibouti base is just a ‘support facility’ and denies plans to build large-scale U.S-style military hubs.
But it has spoken about negotiating more overseas outposts, with the Pentagon predicting China will establish several more in the next decade.
One likely spot is Oman’s port of Salalah, where Chinese navy ships often stop for rest and resupply, say defence experts.
Other possibilities include the Seychelles and Pakistan’s port of Karachi.

China’s Landbridge Army to Takeover Darwin Port

China’s Landbridge Army to Takeover Darwin Port

Landbridge Group has formally established armed forces

The USA is stunned that the control of Port Darwin, a major link in their security of northern Australia that has been in place for decades, being ‘leased’ to China by the Northern Territory government for 99 years. This allows a Chinese private company LandBridge, with ties to their government and military, complete with a fully trained private armed militia to protect that port. There was no consultation with the US government.
turnbull-china president-apex 2015
Two peas in a Pod- how comfortable
Malcolm Turnbull just shrugged off a “please explain” from President Barack Obama at their official meeting during the Apec summit in Manila.
Australia’s latest Prime Minister fresh off the PM conveyor belt has snubbed his nose at our major ally concerning the military assets the USA has deployed as part of the Obama foreign policy “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region, which is a strategic posture concerned with countering China’s growing power in the region. This is of major concern for all Australians who should be very worried .
The USA armed forces might is sourced from some 320 million people hosting 120 million military ready personnel. Australia with 23 million people hosting just 56,000 military ready personnel. There are more cab drivers in Australia than soldiers.

Landbridge Private Army

August 8th 2014, Lan Bridge Group Armed Forces inaugural meeting was held in the Group of 101 meeting rooms.
landbridge army-1
Military sunshine Gao Yong, political commissar, chief of staff Wang Hao, Party Secretary of Lanshan cover satellite, Deputy Mayor Wang Jijun, Lanshan District People’s Armed Forces Department, political commissar Liu Yusong Minister Zhang Feng Jun, chairman Ye Lan Bridge Group, party secretary of Ho Chao Qing attended the meeting.
landbridge army-2
Rizhao and Lanshan Military District Department agency personnel, members of the Department Landbridge Group armed militia emergency unit and some of the staff groups participated in the meeting.
landbridge army-3
The meeting was chaired by the Ministry of People’s Armed Arashiyama district political commissar Colonel Liu Yusong. At the meeting, Minister of People’s Armed Forces Department Lanshan District Colonel Zhang Feng Yun announced the “Landbridge Group Limited on the establishment of an armed unit of approval” and “Ho Chao Qing serving command.” Military sunshine and Party Secretary Gao Yong, political commissar of the lid satellite Landbridge Group Armed Forces inaugurated.
landbridge army-4
After the meeting, Group Chairman Ye, party secretary of Ho Chao-Qing Gao Yong, political commissar of the Military sunshine, accompanied by Chief of Staff Wang Hao, Party Secretary of Lanshan cover satellite deputy mayor and other leaders visited the group.
landbridge army-5
Landbridge Group, as large-scale private enterprises in Shandong Province, after 20 years of unremitting efforts, now has petrochemicals, logistics, real estate tourism, international trade four plates, the total assets of nearly 17 billion yuan. Lan Bridge Group has been, and always adhere to the “strong enterprises not forget their country, Societe Generale did not forget the defense” concept, and actively carry out cultural support the military, science and technology to support the military, to the TSC troops, sunshine garrison solve problems, backed by the TSC Forces Group awarded the “Arashiyama love, love note Iron” support model designation, the chairman, Comrade Ye in 2013 by the provincial government of Shandong Province in recognition of national defense interest “Top Ten individual.”
Landbridge Group of Armed Forces was established to achieve a strong corporate real convergence Landbridge Group and Xing Wu for national defense and Lanshan District Rizhao City poured fresh blood.
With the USA considering their options now rotecting Australia’s north as the flow rate of Muslims gains momentum into the country enhancing the welfare budget and national security, we wonder what happen to that “lucky country” we allowed silky smooth mandarins following their own policies outside of government controlling the political machine to maintain perpetual salvation of power above the people.

Landbridge Group Sign Gas Agreement

November 17, 2014 Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra, the two leaders decided to enhance the Sino-Australian relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia, announced the end of substantive negotiations on China-Australia free trade agreement.
Landbridge came to Australian public attention in mid-2014 with its share offer and purchase of Brisbane-based gas producer Westside Corporation.
lanbridge-Abbott- Agreement signing
After the talks, Xi Jinping with Abbott witnessed the signing held at Parliament House. Lanbridge Group chairman Ye Cheng  and Western Australia Energy CEO Mike Hughes signed a natural gas production base investment agreement.

China's New Silk Road becomes the World Land-Bridge: China's Global Colonisation You Say

China's New Silk Road becomes the World Land-Bridge



The “Eurasian Landbridge” or New Silk Road — a vision first proposed and drafted by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche over two decades ago to fully develop the entirety of the Eurasian continent — is now the active, official policy of the government of China, supported also by other key Asian nations. On September 7, 2013, Chinese President Xi Jingping visited Kazakhstan where he first announced the adoption of a policy he called the “New Silk Road Economic Belt” stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
Chinese President Xi Jingping speaking in Astana, Kazakhstan on September 7, 2013 announces his poilicy of creating a Silk Road Economic Belt for the development of Eurasia to deepen cooperation and forge closer economic ties among the nations.
“To forge closer economic ties, deepen cooperation and expand development in the Euro-Asia region, we should take an innovative approach and jointly build an ’economic belt’ along the Silk Road. This will be a great undertaking benefiting the people of all countries along the route... We must expand the development of Eurasia, creating an economic belt along the Silk Road. China and the Central Asian countries are at a crucial stage; we need a broader vision for cooperation. The peoples of this ancient Silk Road together can compose a wonderful new chapter in the much-told story. Now is a golden opportunity for development.”
— Xi Jingping, Sept. 7, 2013
Astana, Kazakhstan
Less than a month later, President Xi Jingping augmented his program for the Silk Road Economic Belt by also calling for the creation of a ‘Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century’ during a speech in Indonesia.
“Southeast Asia has since ancient times has been an important hub along the ancient Maritime Silk Road. China will strengthen maritime cooperation with ASEAN countries to vigorously develop maritime partnership in a joint effort to build the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century. China is ready to expand its practical cooperation with ASEAN countries across the board, supplying each other’s needs and complementing each other’s strengths.”
Xi Jingping, October 3, 2013 · Indonesian Parliament
Below, we present an interactive map of the World Landbridge, an extended version of the Eurasian Landbridge plan for the economic development of the entire planet. This planetary development program — an integrated system of the most crucial projects in transportation, water management, power generation, resource development, agricultural production, and city building — will be the cornerstone of a new international system of common benefit among nations for mutual cooperation and progress, a new system which is already emerging with the historic agreements for a new international economic order among the BRICS nations and others.

Tightening debt could put overseas firms at risk

Tightening debt could put overseas firms at risk

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/30 17:33:39

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

Image result for Chinese owned Landbridge's global expansion
Image result for Chinese owned Landbridge's global expansion

Chinese privately owned Landbridge Group has been in the headlines in Australia recently. In 2015, the Chinese company paid A$504 million ($402.52 million) for a large number of terminals, land and facilities at the Port of Darwin, including a 99-year lease on the port. According to media reports, Landbridge pledged to spend more than A$1 billion expanding the Darwin port and reclaiming land so as to establish a logistics center and to build the port as a gateway between Australia and Asia.

Local critics believe that Landbridge's global expansion in Australia and Panama is highly consistent with China's opening-up strategy. Landbridge also bought a port in Panama for $900 million in 2016. A Financial Times report on July 18 cited one of the critics as saying that Landbridge can get favorable government financing by "aligning closely" with China's "Belt and Road" initiative. Moreover, the company may face financial risk as a result of its highly leveraged acquisition of overseas assets. According to an article of the Financial Review published on July 4, Landbridge has struggled to make interest payments on loans for the Darwin lease. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a local think tank, alleged that after a number of failed bond issuances in 2015 and 2016, Landbridge is now making efforts to secure funding from the China Export-Import Bank.

What Landbridge has encountered is not uncommon for Chinese companies in overseas expansion. There are also other Chinese companies subject to similar questions. Since 2008, the number of Chinese companies investing abroad has increased rapidly. With outbound direct investment by China's non-financial companies surpassing $100 billion, China has become one of the major countries investing overseas in the world. According to data collected by Anbound, against the background of the sluggish global economy, China's outbound direct investment surged 44 percent year-on-year to $183 billion in 2016, making it the second-largest global investor after the US. During the same year, China's net outward direct investment was $49 billion.

It should be pointed out that the financing convenience is an important reason behind the rapid overseas expansion of Chinese companies. In previous years, against the backdrop of the continuous appreciation of the Chinese yuan and policy encouragement, both State-owned and privately owned companies relied heavily on financing. If overseas investment projects could be linked to China's national strategy, they were often able to receive loans or credit lines from State-backed policy financial institutions (such as the China Development Bank and the China Export-Import Bank) and several commercial lenders. The convenient financing of Chinese companies is the competitive edge envied by many foreign companies. In many cases, while competing for overseas acquisitions or investment, financing can even beat technology or a well-known brand as an advantage.

However, convenient financing has come at the cost of debt expansion. If debt grows beyond a certain extent, banks will be concerned about risk. Another important variable is that Chinese companies' overseas investment and cross-border capital transfer can be easily influenced by policy factors. Over the past two years China's policies on foreign investment and financing have changed. This is because of an accelerated capital outflow, the yuan's depreciation against the dollar and the considerable drop in foreign exchange reserves. With tightening control over cross-border capital transfer, Chinese companies, especially private ones, started to feel increasing pressure from debt and financing. In particular, since April 2017, the relevant policy tightening has become an overhaul in financial regulation, restraining the foreign investment of some large groups. Anbang Insurance, HNA Group, Fosun Group, Wanda Group and other companies interested in overseas investment have been subject to different degrees of restriction.

For a long time, the rapid growth in China's overseas investment and China's seemingly limitless financing ability have formed the impression that Chinese companies are rich. While such an impression could help companies win overseas projects, quite a number of the projects may face financing problem due to the current policy tightening. If the subsequent funding cannot keep up, then many of overseas projects will inevitably face debt risk. And if a group of Chinese companies failed in overseas expansion due to debt and financing problems, it will lead to another round of skepticism toward Chinese companies in the international market.

Encouraged by the "going out" policy, Chinese companies have become a fresh force in global investment over the past decade. But the massive foreign investment and acquisitions are based on convenient financing and debt expansion. Now things have changed, and if the government tightens the policy too much, it may trigger growing debt risk for Chinese companies in overseas investment.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

RCMP deals with China, UN as fentanyl deaths surge in Canada

RCMP deals with China, UN 

as fentanyl deaths surge in Canada



Fentanyl pills
Fentanyl pills are shown in an undated police handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams)

VANCOUVER -- The RCMP is working with the United Nations and China to dampen the influx of the dangerous opioid fentanyl onto Canada's streets, but one high-level investigator expects the overdose problem to increase.
That information comes as health officials across Canada urge jurisdictions to collaborate to combat the drug linked to at least 655 deaths. A bulletin released by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse says fentanyl was determined to be a cause or contributing cause of the deaths between 2009 and 2014.
Fentanyl is a white powder that's easily disguised, tough to expose and in high demand by those with addictions, said Cpl. Luc Chicoine, the RCMP's national drug program co-ordinator.
Chicoine said it's being smuggled into the country in many ways, from inside shaving kits on passenger planes, to couriers, to gangs importing shipments in commercial containers.
Police have been unable to confirm the drug's primary origin.
All the while the death toll climbs and could get worse, Chicoine said.
"That's why I'm going back into my speech of awareness, and understanding the long-term problem that we're slowly stepping into."
Sixteen people overdosed in Vancouver on Sunday alone -- including six in one hour -- from heroin that police suspect was laced with fentanyl. The drug has been linked to the deaths of 12 people, mostly in Metro Vancouver, since July 27.
"You need so little fentanyl, (that tracing) the chemical signature would be extremely difficult," Chicoine said. "I don't even know if the technology is there."
About 100 grams can be mixed with fillers to make one kilogram of street drug, while only a few salt-sized granules can be toxic, he warned.
Fentanyl is between 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug represents an entirely "different scale" than bad narcotic batches in the past, such as tainted ecstasy, add health experts in B.C.
Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling for a "national co-ordinated approach" to better predict how the overdose situation will evolve, while noting the problem has accelerated in recent years, leaving an "immense" impact.
"We're not all using the same data sources, we're not all looking for the same thing, not all of us are monitoring things in the same way," she said Tuesday.
Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe issued a statement Tuesday saying that nearly three-quarters of people in B.C. who died from using illegal drugs last year had no fentanyl in their system.
The RCMP is not conducting frontline investigations, but is leaving that work to local authorities. The force is working to identify sources.
China-based pharmaceutical-grade producers of the synthetic drug could be the fountainhead for organized crime groups, said Chicoine, who has raised the issue with his counterparts in China.
"What's happening in Vancouver at the moment, in the last few days, this is being compiled in our big picture of the Canadian situation," he said.
"When I sit down at the table with my counterparts at the U.N. and I'm sitting next to China ... we discuss those issues."
He spent two weeks meeting officials there last April discussing the problem, Chinese regulations and ways authorities in both countries can work together.
Broader discussions have been ongoing for at least three years, he said. Because the Chinese government's attitude has changed and the country is acknowledging its own social problem, he said he's noticed a difference in co-operation.
Global investigations have been initiated as part of a group involving 35 countries, he said.
Fentanyl's reach is being tracked by the United Nations, according to the organization's World Drug Report 2014, which found heroin is being replaced by the drug on the black market in some countries.
Police don't believe Canadian companies with legitimate import licences are involved. Instead, packages of raw powder may be smuggled inside goods shipped from China, Japan, Australia or Europe that eventually reach Canadian ports.
Customs agents need enough data before they'll make secondary and tertiary searches, he said.
In Canada, there has been only one small-scale bust of a laboratory making fentanyl from scratch -- in Surrey, B.C. in 2011, said Chicoine.
He said police have uncovered about 20 production facilities pressing imported powder into tablets. Illegal manufacturers were arrested in Vancouver, B.C.'s Lower Mainland, the B.C. Interior, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.