BRI-Related Information Released and Activities by SIRONET Member Organisations (August to December 2020)

2021-01-26

 On August 3, according to a paper released by theObservatorio de la Politica China, China is shaping up to be a technology superpower in terms of the number of technology companies, R&D investment, technology competition and talent training. Although the U.S. remains ahead, China is a formidable rival with fast-growing advantages. The measures taken by the U.S. to secure its technological dominance exactly indicate that China, which is developing by leaps and bounds, is likely to overtake the U.S. in innovation and competitiveness.

On August 10, Observatorio de la Politica China noted in an article that China has established over 500 Confucius Institutes around the globe, greatly boosting its international influence. A study shows that 89% of the respondents believe that Confucius Institutes will not pose a threat to freedom of thought and speech.

On August 12, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) jointly organised an online seminar themed “International Strategic Environment, Regional Security and China-Pakistan Cooperation”. The participants discussed a range of topics such as the changes in the international strategic environment, changes in China-U.S. relations, the regional security situation, and how to advance China-Pakistan cooperation. The seminar was co-chaired by Chen Dongxiao, President of the SIIS, and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of the ISSI.

On August 14, the АСОЦІАЦІЯ УКРАЇНСЬКО-КИТАЙСЬКОГО СПІВРОБІТНИЦТВА announced that the Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meetings China (IT&CM China) and CTW China 2021 will be held in Shanghai from March 23 to 25, 2021.

On August 16, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that China refuses the imitation of the political systems of Western countries and former Soviet Union and has been actively exploring a system befitting its own development. Despite the criticism from the West, what China has achieved fully reflects that this system fits China, and China never imposes its model on any other country.

On August 16, the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) pointed out in an article that maintaining friendly ties with Vietnam and a strong partnership with China are of vital importance to Cambodia. Cambodia should pursue a policy of neutrality and non-alignment. China has enhanced its influence in Cambodia through preferential loans and donations, trade and investment, as well as educational and cultural exchanges. Cambodia should join hands with other countries to safeguard a rule-based international order while adopting pragmatic and flexible foreign policies to accommodate the fast-changing regional security landscape.

On August 17, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that in the process of globalisation, China’s Belt and Road Initiative provides a stable and reliable benefit sharing strategic option for other countries and regions, and its positive effects far outweigh any potential negative impact. In contrast, the U.S. policy shows obvious characteristics of extremism and instability.

On August 27, the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) held an online seminar themed “China-U.S. Rivalry: Regional Impact”. Nearly 100 scholars from think tanks and representatives from social organisations across the world participated in the seminar and discussed the factors causing tensions between the world’s two biggest powers. The attendees believed that whoever is the next U.S. president, the China-U.S. rivalry is set to intensify, and ASEAN countries may mitigate the consequent impact through cooperation with the two great powers.

On August 28, Observatorio de la Politica China noted in an article that a series of Taiwan-related incidents in the last few months put a strain on China-U.S. relations. Should tensions rise to the boiling point, the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea may become “the kindling”, and some incidents between China and the U.S. are likely to occur at any time.

On August 28, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that in today’s international relations, it is praiseworthy that China emphasizes peace and harmony, pursues stable multilateral relations and maintains economic relations for win-win results. However, the U.S. is tilting toward unilateralism.

On September 1, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that the U.S. has used every means to keep China down to maintain its own global hegemony. However, China knows this well. The best strategy for China is to underpin its own development and strengthen its own capabilities.

On September 4, the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in India claimed in an article that India has made great strides in opening up its manufacturing sector as part of its trade liberalisation initiative. If India seeks reconciliation with China, it will undoubtedly benefit from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

On September 4, the Sino-Israeli Global Network Leadership (SIGNAL) launched the Teachers Training Programme led by Professor Paula Kabalo, an established Israeli scholar. The Chinese teachers participating in the programme will take well-designed courses in Israel, observing how the schools are run, experiencing the Israeli culture, and gaining a deeper understanding of Israel, so that they can guide students to have a better understanding about Israel after they return to China.

On September 5, the Jinnah Institute in Pakistan held an online seminar themed “Out of the Mire: Afghanistan’s Power Sharing and Governance Future”. The seminar brought together several experts on international issues. Noting the greater attention to the rise of China in U.S. foreign policy, the participants asserted that the U.S. should instead put more energy into addressing regional challenges, such as the Afghanistan issue, as soon as possible.

On September 12, the Jinnah Institute in Pakistan held an online seminar themed “The Future of Kashmir: A Test for Global Multilateralism and Peace”. The seminar brought together several experts on issues related to South Asia. Among them, Sultan Kurkani, an expert on India, said that instead of resorting to brute force to solve the Kashmir issue, we should look for a multilateral solution among India, Pakistan and China.

On September 13, the China Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) said in an article that HiSilicon’s chips reflect Huawei’s resilience and technical strengths. However, the latest U.S. chip ban still puts great pressure on Huawei’s smartphone business.

On September 21, Observatorio de la Politica China pointed out in an article that the stability and continuity of strategies are crucial to the China-U.S. competition for global leadership. The U.S. is at a disadvantage in this regard, since it has repeatedly deviated from the strategic track in the last two years. For example, it is completely unnecessary to take military action against Iran. In contrast, China’s strategy is more stable and restrained.

On September 21, the Bangladesh Institute of Peace & Security Studies (BIPSS) noted in an article that the U.S. government sees China as a potential opponent on the global arena. When it comes to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the U.S. emphasizes the high interest rates of Chinese loans and potential political and security risks in Chinese investment. While the U.S. hopes Bangladesh would participate in its Indo-Pacific strategy, the Bangladesh government remains silent over this issue.

On September 21, the Antall József Knowledge Centre (AJKC) in Hungary said in an article that due to global climate change, the Arctic is playing an increasingly important role in the international political landscape. The melting of icebergs brings more development opportunities related to untapped natural resources and new sea routes. With the continuous environmental changes, the great power competition in the region is bound to intensify.

On September 22, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan held an online seminar themed “Future of China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation: Opportunities & Challenges”. The participants exchanged views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of China and Pakistan, the status and role of the CPEC in the Belt and Road Initiative and the future of economic cooperation between the two countries.

On September 23, Luxman Siriwardana, Executive Director of the Pathfinder Foundation in Sri Lanka, said in an interview that participating in the Belt and Road Initiative is the most logical development strategy for Sri Lanka. The U.S. is pursuing unilateralism and protectionism, posing a barrier to global economic development. Against this backdrop, the Belt and Road Initiative, which is more inclusive and encompassing, is well positioned to help the world tide over the COVID-19 pandemic.

On September 23, the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) pointed out in an article that in view of the achievements in China-Cambodia Belt and Road cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative has boosted the development of Cambodia in three aspects. First, it has helped Cambodia solidify its comprehensive competitiveness and infrastructure connectivity, further diversifying its sources of growth. Second, it has enhanced the regime legitimacy under the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party through economic development. Third, it has helped enhance Cambodia’s international influence through multilateral forums and partnerships.

On September 24, the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies released China’s Activities in the South Caucasus Issue 3. It gives an overview of China’s political, economic, diplomatic and other activities in the South Caucasus in the last month, as well as its exchanges with South Caucasus countries.

On October 2, Dr. Jeff Mankoff, a distinguished research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, published an article titled How Will Russia Respond to the U.S.-China Cold War? on the website of The National Interest (TNI), an American media outlet. The article holds that on the most basic level, the interests of Putin’s Russia are more aligned with those of China than with those of the U.S., and the prospect of a deeper and more enduring U.S.-China confrontation will enhance the importance of that entente in both Beijing and Moscow.

On October 8, the Bangladesh Institute of Peace & Security Studies (BIPSS) reposted an article stating that during a meeting with Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr. A. K. Abdul Mmen, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming showed his concern for the Rohingya who had not returned to Rakhine state.

On October 19, the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel said in an article that the signing of the Abraham Accords among Israel, the UAE and Bahrain at the White House would cool down the relationship between Israel and China. Israel must learn how to better deal with its relations with China and the U.S. and keep itself as far away from the superpower rivalry as possible.

On October 21, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Indonesia held an online seminar themed “Responding to the China-U.S. Competition: Views from Indonesia and South Korea”. Several experts from South Korea and Indonesia conducted in-depth discussions on the international situation and cooperation between the two countries.

On October 23, the Central and Eastern European Center for Asian Studies noted in an article that in the past decade, Serbia and China have forged close cooperation in the political, economic, security and military fields. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, the ties between the two countries have become even closer. The visit of Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, is set to further consolidate the China-Serbia relations.

On October 26, the China-Ukraine Cooperation Association announced that the Ukrainian Ambassador to China Sergey Kamyshev paid a visit to Shaanxi and attended the 27th China Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Fair. The Ambassador said in an exclusive interview that China is the most important trading partner of Ukraine, and Ukraine has maintained closer economic and trade cooperation with Shaanxi. He looked forward to more cooperation opportunities with Chinese enterprises in agricultural research and large-scale agricultural machinery production and trade.

On October 26, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that given the changes in the international situation, China, instead of relying on export-led models for any longer, must transform its economic development mode in order to sustain its economic growth and even create another economic miracle.

On October 26, the Antall József Knowledge Centre (AJKC) in Hungary held a series of online seminars themed “New Geographical Economic Prospects between Asia and Europe”. The participants discussed the role of ASEAN in global politics, its status and influence in the East Asian economy and the prospects for cooperation between ASEAN and the EU.

On October 26, the Brunei Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) said in an article that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the global industrial chain and supply chain, causing the global economy to further contract in the second quarter of 2020. The U.S. output in the second quarter fell by 9.1%, hitting a record low. In contrast, China’s output rebounded rapidly and grew by 3.2% thanks to its effective pandemic control measures.

On October 27, the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel said in an article that the U.S. has distanced itself from the UN, and the Trump administration has arbitrarily withdrawn from various UN organisations or international agreements in recent years. In contrast, China has put greater emphasis on the status and role of the UN in international affairs, deepened its cooperation with the UN, and supported it in playing a greater role on the international arena.

On October 30, Observatorio de la Politica China published an article elaborating on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and long-term goals for 2035 proposed at the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. The article highlighted the great significance that innovation, the real economy, a strong domestic market, rural revitalisation and green development hold for China’s future growth.

On November 2, the Bangladesh Institute of Peace & Security Studies (BIPSS) said in an article that the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), an influential think tank in Bangladesh, held an online seminar themed “Bangladesh-China Cooperation: Experience and Prospects”. A cohort of government officials, think tank scholars, and chiefs of social organisations from Bangladesh and China attended the seminar. The participants discussed the economic development, scientific and technological cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries. Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Munir Muniruzzaman, Major General, Mahbub Uz Zaman, Ambassador of Bangladesh to China, and Li Jiming, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, attended the seminar and delivered speeches.

On November 4, Observatorio de la Politica China issued an article discussing China’s economic development in the past 50 years and digging into the “dual circulation” strategy proposed by the Chinese government lately. The last part of the article quoted the famous comment made by Deng Xiaoping -- “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice”, and criticised the Brazilian government’s economic policy, saying that “in Brazil, the government and its supporters are obsessed with the colour of cats.”

On November 10, Observatorio de la Politica China published an article analysing the China-Chile relations in the political, economic, historical and diplomatic fields. The article also discussed the relations between China and Latin American countries and the prospects of cooperation between them.

On November 14, Observatorio de la Politica China pointed out in an article that a rising China will undoubtedly have profound impact on the new world order, which is unlikely to change with the U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

On November 15, the Sino-Israeli Global Network Leadership (SIGNAL) reposted an article saying that thanks to its highly competitive technology sector, Israel has become one of the few beneficiaries in the China-U.S. competition. As the U.S. has imposed restrictions on export of sensitive technologies involving semiconductors, China hopes to introduce advanced semiconductor technology from Israel, which contributes to closer cooperation between the two countries.

On November 16, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan pointed out in an article that Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are more interested in geo-economics than geopolitics, which is in fact in our expectation. Hence, under a Joe Biden administration, the U.S. will definitely re-engage with China.

On November 17, the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies released China’s Activities in the South Caucasus Issue 4. This issue mainly contains the following articles: Azerbaijan highly values all-round development of relations with China: President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev; President of Armenia looks forward to technology cooperation with China; Azerbaijan University of Languages holds China Week in celebration of China’s National Day; China and Armenia to forge closer cooperation in the post-COVID era: Chinese acting diplomatic representative; Hong Kong and Georgia ink tax pact; China is Georgia’s third largest trading partner; Azerbaijani Ambassador to China hopes for closer exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.

On November 17, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that innovation is always at the centre of China’s development philosophy, and its well-designed sci-tech development plan is set to put the country on a bright path in alignment with its specific conditions. There is every reason for China to believe that it will serve as an example for other countries, so there is no need to worry about its bright future.

On November 17, the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel pointed out in an article that the Trump administration’s demand for a “protection fee” from its allies in the Asia-Pacific region would make it hard for the U.S. to “maintain long-term friendly ties” with its allies. The U.S. global alliance should be a strategic starting point for its engagement with China since China, unlike the former Soviet Union, is unlikely to be isolated, contained or excluded from the regional and international order. Therefore, a challenge for the Biden administration is how to leverage the role of its allies to gain the upper hand in the competition with China rather than simply taking measures to contain China.

On November 24, the 6th Jewish/Israeli Study Paper Competition was held at Yunnan University. Pan Liwen, Consul General of Israel in Chengdu, was in presence. The competition hosted by the Sino-Israeli Global Network Leadership (SIGNAL) attracts hundreds of Chinese students to write essays about all aspects of Israeli society every year.

On November 26, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan held an online seminar themed “China’s Influence and Role in the Middle East and Africa”. A number of government officials and scholars from think tanks and universities in Pakistan and China participated in the seminar. They exchanged views on the role of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East and Africa. As they agreed, African countries see China as a great investor, but intense competition exists between China and the traditional partners of Africa. Energy is the main driving force of the relations between China and the Middle East. Pragmatism and flexibility are two important features of China’s foreign policy. China and India could be caught in the geostrategic tensions from South Asia to the Middle East. Although China upholds the policy of non-interference and maintains its cooperation with the Middle East in the purely economic dimension, China shall play a greater role in security and politics sometimes. Nonetheless, China is looking forward to a shared future of prosperity for its partners in Africa and the Middle East. The seminar was covered by THE NATION under the title “China wants a shared future of prosperity for its partners: Experts”, and by Bulletin Observer under the title “The Role of China in the Middle East & Africa”.

On November 28, Observatorio de la Politica China released an article describing China’s eradication of extreme poverty and hunger as a historic achievement. Noting China’s remarkable results in poverty alleviation, the article said that China’s success further amplifies the failure of capitalist countries in this regard, and China has accomplished the historic task thanks to a powerful government.

On December 1, Observatorio de la Politica China said in an article that through a comparison between the policies of China and those of India on sensitive regions, it can be seen that China pursues more restrained policies for Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and other areas, while India has deployed heavy troops in Kashmir and given them special powers allowing them to act without reservation. This indicates the double standards Western countries have towards China and India on the same issue.

On December 5, Gen Muniruzzaman, President of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace & Security Studies (BIPSS), participated online in the Jinjiang Eastern Forum 2020 organised by Sichuan University and delivered a keynote speech. In his speech, he discussed the “potential biosafety threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and its global security impact”.

On December 6, the Antall József Knowledge Centre (AJKC) in Hungary held an online seminar themed “King in the North”. A cohort of experts from relevant think tanks such as the PAGEO Geopolitical Research Institute, the Austrian Polar Research Institute and Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno participated in the event. As they pointed out, Arctic sea ice has been steadily shrinking due to our planet’s rising average temperatures. Today, the region is becoming a development hot spot, with world powers like Russia, the U.S. and China seeking control of resources and transport routes, which has significant economic and geopolitical implications. The development of the region has strategic security implications for the whole of Europe, and the EU needs to take a more active approach to the Arctic.

On December 7, Xulio Ríos, Director of Observatorio de la Politica China, issued a statement congratulating China on the successful launch of Chang’e 5 lunar probe. In his statement, he reviewed the country’s efforts and achievements in space science since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, noting China’s growing influence in the field of international space exploration. He pointed out that live streaming of the launch of Chang’e 5 demonstrates China’s “high confidence in its (space technology) capabilities and qualifications and the significant progress China has made in a short period of time”.

On December 12, the Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) published an article saying that according to a report by the Japan Centre for Economic Research (JCER), China has stood out in the combat against the COVID-19 pandemic and achieved rapid economic recovery. It is estimated that China may overtake the U.S. in GDP in 2028 or 2029. Although its economic growth has slowed down due to various factors such as the lower growth rates of population and investment in recent years, China’s economy is still expected to grow at an annual rate of about 3% by 2035.

On December 17, the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies released China’s Activities in the South Caucasus Issue 5. This issue mainly contains the following articles: Georgian Airways to launch regular cargo flights from China to Europe; Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan holds a seminar on the impact of Chinese culture on the Karabakh region; China’s international status on the rise amid COVID-19 pandemic: Georgian Ambassador to China; First China-bound freight train departs on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway; China is one of Armenia’s major partners: Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia; China is ready to further cooperation with Azerbaijan: Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan; Georgia and China discuss the importance of strengthening cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

On December 23, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in Pakistan held an online seminar. A number of experts from the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), the Pakistan International Security Association (PISA), China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) at Fudan University participated in the event. The attendees delved into the current international situation, regional developments and the Pakistan-China friendship. Khalid Mahmood, President of PISA, said that maintaining friendly ties with China is the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, and Pakistan will continue to work closely with China to safeguard regional peace and stability. The seminar was covered by Pakistani media News and The Daily Mail under the title “China-Pakistan friendship is essential to peace in South Asia” and “Experts discuss China-Pakistan relations to promote regional peace” respectively.