Connect with us

World

US railway plan in Middle East will be another case of ‘much said, little done’: Chinese experts

FI

Published

on

As the US announced its Middle East railway plan during the Group of 20 (G20) Summit over the weekend in India, Chinese experts expressed doubts about its credibility and feasibility, saying that it is not the first time for Washington to make empty pledges to various countries and regions.

The experts noted that the true purpose of the Biden administration is trying to “isolate China” in the Middle East, a region where Chinese cooperation with the region has constantly gained momentum in recent years.

The comment followed an announcement by US President Joe Biden and India regarding a multinational railway and port deal linking the Middle East and South Asia. The announcement came on Saturday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

Biden said it was a “real big deal” that would bridge ports across two continents and lead to a “more stable, more prosperous and integrated Middle East,” according to a Reuters report.

The idea of the rail and port network initially emerged at the I2U2 Business Forum, launched in 2021 by the US, India, Israel and the UAE to discuss infrastructure projects in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia joined the discussions later.

Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Saturday that the US lacks both the genuine intention and the capability to follow through on its pledge to build up the transportation network in the Middle East.

“It is not the first time that the US has been involved in a ‘much said, little done’ scenario,” Zhou said.

During the Obama administration, then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton announced that the US would sponsor a “New Silk Road” that would emerge from Afghanistan to link the country with its neighbors to increase its economic potential, but the initiative never materialized.

“The Biden administration’s Middle East infrastructure plan is an apparent effort to counter the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is entering its 10th year in 2023 with brought fruitful projects to partnering countries and regions. The Biden administration is again engaging in bloc politics in order to slow down China’s development,” Zhou said.

The recent moves by the US in the Middle East are more reactive than proactive, given China’s stronger presence, Liu Zhongmin, a professor at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

China has been engaging with the Middle East through the BRI for years. Its peacemaker role in the Saudi-Iran detente is lauded by the international community, the countries in the region in particular, which has injected stability into the region.

In areas such as infrastructure construction, cooperation between the Gulf countries and China has advanced significantly in recent years. “It is impossible for the US to create a hedge in the short term,” Liu said.

Zhou described the US plan as “more of a symbolic gesture.” From a technical perspective, the US decision to focus on transport infrastructure, an area where it lacks expertise, in a bid to salvage its declining influence in the region, suggests that the highly touted plan is unlikely to be realized.

“In terms of the technology and costs of building railways, no country in the world than China has a more prominent advantage. What the Middle Eastern countries want from the US is not just a railway, but also security. However, the US has neither provided nor been able to bring security to the region; instead, it has complicated the security situation there. This is the dilemma the US is facing in the Middle East,” Ding Long, a professor with the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times.

For Middle Eastern countries that will participate in the US-led railway initiative, there is no concern that their ties with China will weaken just because of the deal, instead, they will continue maintaining close cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy, Zhou said.

“In fact, the US’ ability to influence its allies in the Middle East is shrinking, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE have recently joined the BRICS cooperation mechanism. I think the two countries will exercise prudence in the issue,” Liu said.

“China welcomes all initiatives that can help pool synergy and promote global infrastructure development. Any calculation to advance geopolitics in the name of infrastructure development will win no support and will never succeed,” a spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Ministry said in June 2022 on the US’ plan to roll out a new infrastructure plan to counter the China-proposed BRI.

There are no such thing as different initiatives countering or replacing each other. The world needs more bridges to be built rather than torn down, more connectivity rather than decoupling or building fences, and mutual benefits rather than isolation and exclusion, the spokesperson said.

Source(s): Global Times

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

World

DPRK, Russia sign comprehensive strategic partnership agreement: KCNA

FI

Published

on

By

The top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the president of Russia on Wednesday signed the Treaty on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership following their summit in Pyongyang, state media reported on Thursday.

The treaty was the culmination of the state visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which also featured a bilateral summit meeting and private talks between him and Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and president of the State Affairs of the DPRK, as well as a welcoming ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square and a grand performance, among other high-profile events, according to multiple reports by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

In a joint statement, the DPRK top leader said the conclusion of the treaty put the relations of the two countries on a new higher stage – relations of alliance – calling it “the most powerful treaty in the history of the DPRK-Russia relations,” the KCNA reported.

The Russian president said the treaty is an “actual breakthrough document” reflecting the desire of the two countries to put bilateral ties on a new level, the report said.

The treaty includes a clause stipulating mutual support if one of the signatories to the treaty is invaded, and Russia “does not rule out military technical cooperation with the DPRK under the treaty,” the KCNA said.

The top leaders had a “tete-a-tete” which lasted for more than two hours, during which they reached a consensus on building a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and came to a “satisfactory” agreement on defending regional and global peace and international justice and on the matters of immediate cooperation, the KCNA reported.

Prior to the private conversation, the two sides held an extended bilateral meeting involving senior officials from both countries, where Kim hailed Putin’s visit as an event of strategic significance in developing the DPRK-Russia good-neighborly relations, and reaffirmed “the full support and solidarity of the DPRK government and people to the Russian government and people as regards the special military operations in Ukraine,” the KCNA said.

In addition to the treaty, the two governments signed agreements concerning the construction of a motorcar bridge over the River Tuman on their shared border and bilateral cooperation in the fields of public health, medical education and science, the KCNA said.

Also on Wednesday, the DPRK side awarded Putin the Order of Kim Il Sung, the highest medal of honor of the country, and hosted a banquet in his honor, the KCNA reported.

Putin concluded his state visit and left the DPRK capital on Wednesday night, as Kim took senior DPRK officials to Pyongyang International Airport to see him off, it added.

Source(s): CGTN

Continue Reading

World

The World Demands Justice for Palestine

FI

Published

on

By

In the latest conflict between Palestine and Israel which has consumed more than 36,000 lives in the ceaseless bombing and crossfire during the past eight months, the international community has shown unprecedented solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and dignity. From celebrities to politicians, from human rights activists to students, many around the world have expressed their support for the Palestinian people.

A subtle but powerful gesture of solidarity was made recently on the red carpet of the Palais des Festival in Cannes, France. Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett lifted the hem of her dress, the colors of which against the red carpet resembled that of the Palestinian flag. Blanchett, who is also a UNHCR goodwill ambassador, has been a vocal advocate for the rights of refugees. Last November, she spoke at the European parliament, “I am not from Israel or Palestine. I am not a politician. I am not even a pundit. But I am a witness, and having witnessed the human cost of war, violence and persecution visiting refugees from across the globe, I cannot look away.”

Her feelings and her conscience is shared by many. Indeed, countries around the world are choosing not to look away. Global support for Palestine was seen in the historic and courageous decision of Norway, Spain and Ireland to recognize the State of Palestine on May 22. This reflected the growing consensus among European

countries that the two-State solution is the only viable way to end the conflict and achieve peace. The three countries also called on other European countries to follow their example.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Israel have found themselves increasingly isolated and condemned by the international community for their aggression and violations of international law. The U.S. is facing a crisis of conscience within its own borders. Several U.S. officials resigned over the government’s policy on Gaza, which they considered to be biased and immoral. Lily Greenberg Call, the first Jewish appointee to resign from the Biden administration over the war in Gaza, wrote in her resignation letter that she could not “in good conscience continue to represent” the administration. Veteran State Department official Stacy Gilbert resigned because the administration is “twisting the facts” to justify continued U.S. military support to Israel. Annelle Sheline, a former State Department official, said she quit the agency because she thinks the President “must know what’s happening to people in Gaza, and yet the policy doesn’t change.”

Israel has been denounced by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Human Rights Council, and many countries for its war crimes and violations of international law. The prosecutor of the ICC has applied for arrest warrants for two senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, for their involvement in the military operations. The Human Rights Council has launched an investigation into the human rights violations committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory. Many countries have condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and some have imposed sanctions and boycotts on Israel, such as Türkiye, South Africa, and Malaysia.

In March this year, U.S. President Joe Biden set a red line by stating that if Israel goes into Rafah, “we’re not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used.” Then, when Israel bombed the Rafah refugee camp on May 26, the Biden administration decided that Israel did not cross the “red line”, keeping the greenlight on for U.S. military aid to Israel. Since October 7, a number of high-ranking U.S. officials have come out posturing on the issue, apparently raising concerns over Israel’s tactics but again repeating the rhetoric of “Israel’s right to defend itself” and paying lip service to “the need for a two-State solution” without taking any concrete action to stop Israeli aggression. Instead, they have vetoed or blocked U.N. resolutions that would hold Israel accountable, give Palestine full U.N. membership or facilitate an early ceasefire.

The world stands with Palestine in its quest for peace and justice. This is no longer a regional issue, but an issue of universal human values. The U.S. and Israel must face the consequences of their policies and actions, which have provoked the wrath and condemnation of the world. The time has come for the U.S. and Israel to change course and respect the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.

Source(s): see.news / Xin Ping

Continue Reading

World

Netanyahu disbands war cabinet as pressure grows on Israel’s north

FI

Published

on

By

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the six-member war cabinet, an Israeli official said on Monday, in a widely expected move following the departure from government of centrist former general Benny Gantz.

Netanyahu is now expected to hold consultations about the Gaza war with a small group of ministers, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer who had been in the war cabinet.

The move was announced as U.S. special envoy Amos Hochstein visited Jerusalem, seeking to calm the situation on the disputed border with Lebanon, where Israel said tensions with Hezbollah were bringing the region close to a wider conflict.

The Israeli military said on Monday it had killed a senior operative in one of Hezbollah’s rocket and missile sections in the area of Selaa in southern Lebanon.

The military also said its operations were continuing in the southern parts of the Gaza Strip, where its forces have been battling Hamas fighters in the Tel Sultan area of western Rafah, as well as in central areas of the enclave.

Hochstein’s visit follows weeks of increasing exchanges of fire across the line between Israel and Lebanon, where Israeli forces have for months been engaged in a simmering conflict with Hezbollah that has continued alongside the war in Gaza.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes on both sides of the so-called Blue Line that divides the two countries, leaving eerily deserted areas of abandoned villages and farms hit by near-daily bombardment.

“The current state of affairs is not a sustainable reality,” government spokesperson David Mencer told a briefing.

Netanyahu had faced demands from the nationalist-religious partners in his coalition, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, to be included in the war cabinet. Such a move would have intensified strains with international partners including the United States.

The forum was formed after Gantz joined Netanyahu in a national unity government at the start of the Gaza war in October. It also included Gantz’s political partner Gadi Eisenkot and Aryeh Deri, head of the religious party Shas, as observers.

Gantz and Eisenkot both left the government last week, over what they said was Netanyahu’s failure to form a strategy for the Gaza war.

Source(s): CGTN

Continue Reading

Trending