China’s Aircraft Carriers Will Give It Multiple Floating Bases in Africa

Experts have been arguing for years about what China has in mind by acquiring aircraft carriers, but instead of using them to confront the US’ Indian ally, it’s much more likely that the People’s Republic will rely on them as floating bases for providing “Lead From Behind” assistance to its African partners as they confront …

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Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Tehran on November 1, 2017. Photo: AFP/Iranian Supreme Leader's website

Eurasia Torn Between War and Peace

Two summits – the cross-border handshake that shook the world between Kim and Moon in Panmunjom and Xi and Modi’s cordial walk by the lake in Wuhan – may have provided the impression Eurasia integration is entering a smoother path. Not really. It’s all back to confrontation: predictably the actual, working Iran nuclear deal, known …

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Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the BRICS Summit in Xiamen on September 4, 2017. Photo: AFP/Fred Dufour

It’s BRI Against Indo-Pacific All Over Again

All bets are off on the outcome of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s potentially ground-breaking meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this Friday and Saturday in Wuhan. Things have not exactly started in auspicious mode. After a meeting in Beijing of foreign ministers represented at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), India, once again refused to support …

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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a press conference in Beijing on January 9, 2018. Photo: AFP/Ludovic Marin

Why Europe is Afraid of the New Silk Roads

It came out as a sort of minor scandal – considering the ’24/7 post-truth news cycle.’ Of the 28 EU ambassadors in Beijing, 27, with the exception of Hungary’s, signed an internal report criticizing the New Silk Roads as a non-transparent threat to free trade, allegedly favoring unfair competition by Chinese conglomerates. The report was …

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US Decries Chinese High-Speed Rail in Laos

China’s plans to build high-speed rail connecting Kunming in its Yunnan province with the rest of Southeast Asia are already underway. In the landlocked nation of Laos, tunnels and bridges are already under construction. The United States has, in general, condemned China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) sweeping infrastructure programme, with US and European policy circles …

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Caspian Games: Central Asian ‘stans’ Vie for Connectivity Market

Azerbaijan held a presidential election this month. Predictably, incumbent leader Ilham Aliyev won his fourth consecutive term with a Kim dynasty-esque 86% of the votes. International monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) stressed “widespread disregard for mandatory procedures, numerous instances of serious irregularities and …

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Why Even a Trade War Won’t Derail Made in China 2025

Designed to calm down fears of an ominous US-China trade war, President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Boao Forum, crammed with Chinese metaphors, was the logical extension of his landmark address to Davos early last year – when he established China at the vanguard of globalization 2.0. At the Boao Forum, Xi stressed a “new …

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The rise of the petro-yuan may depend on China's domination of the gold market. Photo illustration: iStock

China Taking the Long Road to Solve the Petro-Yuan Puzzle

Few geoeconomic game-changers are more spectacular than yuan-denominated future crude oil contracts – especially when set up by the largest importer of crude on the planet. And yet Beijing’s media strategy seems to have consisted in substantially play down the official launch of the petro-yuan at the Shanghai International Energy Exchange. Still, some euphoria was …

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Chinese People's Liberation Army personnel attend the opening ceremony of China's new military base in Djibouti. Photo: AFP

Why Borrowers on China’s Belt and Road Will Go From Euphoria to Depression

Until very recently, the dusty African territory of Djibouti was best known to the wider world for its inhabitants’ habit of chewing khat. Each day, as the heat of the afternoon mounts, the men of Djibouti gather in sociable groups, wad a few leaves of the East African shrub Catha edulis into their cheeks, and …

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