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China has been quite busy lately

An opinion from guest writer Nzinga Johnson.

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Nzinga Johnson | Opinion

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

In America, the Left and the Right are constantly laying the smackdown on one another via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc.

It’s FOX versus CNN, Cenk Uyger versus Stephen Crowder, Donald Trump versus Pelosi and Schumer, Ben Shapiro versus… Everybody! It’s literally a never-ending soap opera with juicy plots, backstabbings, and sex scandals!

The problem is the infighting that occurs in America is distracting us from a situation that is quickly maturing. China is steadily becoming a heavyweight in the global economy and America may not be fully prepared for it.

The Belt and Road Initiative was announced in 2014 by the President of China, Xi Jinping. Simply put, the Initiative has two parts: (1) The Overland (Belt) “trade route connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia to China.” (2) The “21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to connect China, South East, and South Asia with Africa.”

Essentially, China will cover 71 countries, 25% of the world’s GDP, and 50% of the world’s population according to The Guardian. China intends for those numbers to grow larger.

They reached South America last year and by 2027 China’s estimated spending on infrastructure in these connected countries is $1.3 trillion!

The deals with China are incredibly attractive because “countries get much-needed infrastructure improvements.”

For these developing nations, the Chinese are striking up deals with, their concern is that sooner or later they will be deeply indebted to China. It’s already happened in several countries.

Billions of dollars in loans are given to developing countries by China. Many of these countries are beginning to see that they cannot make payments.

When this happens China strikes up another deal, much like the one they struck with Sri Lanka.

According to the Guardian, in 2017 Sri Lanka “had to grant a 99-year lease on a strategic port to Beijing” when a loan of $1.4 billion dollars couldn’t be paid back. The lease covered the payment.

Clearly, China is playing a long game.

South China Morning Post reported that Mohamed Nasheed, ex-leader of the Maldives, said, “China’s actions in the Indian Ocean amounted to a ‘land grab’ and ‘colonialism’ with 80 per cent of its debt being held by Beijing.

Also, Pakistan is nervous about their inability to pay “the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.”

The list goes on…

The Center for Global Development reported that they are “concerned about the sustainability of sovereign debt in eight countries receiving Silk Road funds:- Pakistan, Djibouti, the Maldives, Mongolia, Laos, Montenegro, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.”

African countries were ready and willing to be involved economically with China. The Chinese investment in Africa grew 21.7% between 2010 and 2015; that number is still rising. 

China funded 85 per cent of Ethiopia’s contribution to the Djibouti Railway and 70 per cent of Djibouti’s contribution.

China even owns 10 per cent of Djibouti’s portion.

The Djibouti Railway is very important because it is the first transboundary railway on the African continent. The Chinese are also “responsible for building the Madaraka Express, which connects the Kenyan port of Mombasa to Nairobi.”

Beijing is making great investments in countries that are too poor to pay them back. There seems to be something else going on behind the scenes. Is it possible that these countries will be so indebted to China that they have no choice but to comply with every demand and request?

Possible expansion of the Chinese military is most definitely a concern for all Americans.

The Washington Post reported the Chinese saying, “Belt and Road is not for ‘military influence’ or to ‘exert undue political influence’ ”.

But, there still is cause for concern. Xi also assured that the Initiative is “a road for peace”. But, knowing the intricacies of the deals that have been made when indebted countries cannot pay up, it is almost impossible to not look twice into Chinese objectives in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Any American with half a brain knows that China is not to be trusted. It is possible that Xi is being honest about there being no intention for military expansion. However, questioning his intentions is a wise thing to do. 

If not military expansion now, what about the future? If the context of geopolitics changes will the Chinese influence in these 71 countries continue to be peaceful?

If not military expansion, then what? There may or may not be a sinister plot occurring in Beijing, but American infighting will not prepare for whatever may come whether good or bad.

Will China use their economic clout to force countries not to deal with America?

For short-sighted individuals (aka isolationists), it would seem that America has nothing to do with the problems of countries who willingly make deals with China. America does have an invested interest in what is occurring on the other side of the globe. Many questions aren’t answered.

If our leaders are not looking into the matter, they should be.


Image of China from Wikimedia Commons.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.
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Asia

Sri Lankra hit with multiple blasts, several killed on Easter Sunday

Several blasts and many killed or injured.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Asian island country of Sri Lankra was hit with at least six explosions on Sunday in three churches and three hotels, killing over 50 individuals and injuring some 160 in what appears to be a coordinated attack during the Easter celebration marked by Christians worldwide.

The churches of Kochikade, St. Sebastian and Batticaloa as well as hotels Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury were struck. Images and video of the scenes show chaos, bodies and damaged buildings.

At least 80 individuals have been admitted to hospital in the capital Colombo, AFP news agency reported. Local reports have suggested that the number could be much higher, but there has not been an official figure released yet.

Sri Lankan media report that foreign tourists may be among the casualties and the death toll could be higher than is being reported.

No individual or group has yet said they were responsible for the attacks.


Image of Kingsbury Hotel via Pramod Madhav on Twitter.
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Asia

Pakistan shoots down dual Indian jets

Tensions are rising between the pair.

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Eli Ridder | Report

During what many military analysts are citing as the worst tensions in two decades, Pakistan said on Wednesday morning that it had shot down two India air Force warplanes and arrested one pilot on the ground — and India says it struck one Pakistani aircraft.

The strike came after Indian jets bombed militants in Pakistani-controlled territory of the disputed region of Kashmir. The bombing came just short of two weeks after 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed in a suicide bombing on Feb. 14, in Kashmir.

The suicide attack was hailed as the deadliest attack in the insurgency that has raged for some 30 years in the contested Himalayan region between the pair of countries.

Both countries have gone to war over the Kashmir region before, in 1999, but now they are equipped with nuclear weapons.

International observers have largely predicted the United States, Russia and China would not get involved in a conflict should a full-scale war occur.

News 24, a pro-Indian government news agency, says that “Pakistan is stooping low and breaking all rules” as well as “getting desperate and getting involved in actions against law”.

International flights that transit between Indian and Pakistani airspace now being affected. Some flights returning to origin, while others appear to be seeking alternate routing, Flight Radar 24 reported, and several airports have been shut down in at least India.

The Pakistan government confirmed that the India Air Force crossed into their territory over the Line of Control and that two aircraft were shot down.

The Pakistan Air Force shot the two aircraft, a top Pakistani military official said, detailing that one of the aircraft fell inside Pakistani territory “while other fell inside IOK” — confirming that “one Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.”

Pakistan said it had “taken strikes at [a] non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage.


Image of India Air Force aircraft from India. ■

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Russia

Russia follows U.S. in suspending arms control pact

A Cold War-era treaty is all but finished.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Russian Federation on Saturday followed the United States in suspending their participation in the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in a move that threatens to raise tensions.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Friday that the U.S. would suspend the arms control treaty that bans certain ground-launched cruise missiles.

The move was expected for several months, as Washington blamed Moscow for not following the 1987 INF pact — with the official suspension set for Saturday.

Pompeo’s announcement started a 180-day clock to complete the withdrawal unless Russia returns to compliance to the pact beforehand.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday his country was following their “American partners” in the withdraw and would start developing new missiles.

“All of our proposals in this sphere, as before, remain on the table, the doors for talks are open,” he added.

U.S. President Donald Trump was considering suspending the INF treaty as Washington and European powers have accused Moscow of noncompliance since 2014.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization released a statement saying its members “fully support” the U.S. suspension of their participation in the treaty.

However, some conflict analysts and military observers fear the U.S. leaving the treaty could trigger another Cold War arms race.

“Make no mistake. The dissolution of the #INFTreaty will result in a nuclear arms race unlike anything we’ve seen since the late cold war era,” one analyst for the non-partisan Strategic Sentinel said on Twitter, adding that “every step backwards is a step closer.”

Canada is one of the founders of the post-World War 2 NATO alliance, which we founded to counter Russian aggression and to solidify the allies in 1949.


Image of Vladimir Putin from previous files. ■

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