Global Review was invited by CCTV and CRI to comment on the 18th and 19th CPC Party Congresses as a guest commentator. Should you get involved with a dictatorship? What was interesting was that constructive criticism of the working conditions, values and ecological standards of the BRI was allowed to be expressed at the time, although the Chinese editorial team then added a passage stating that the greenness of the Red Culture was all-inclusive and syncretistic and in general global in all respects, whereby the exemplary character of China, in addition to its “ Global Community of shared Future”, which is initially accepted and perceived in a very multicultural way, especially since digital natives who only communicate on non-social media and cannot read texts over 140 lines since SMS anyway, if they are not forced to do so, but then they tend to be very Sino-centric instead of Euro- or US- or transatlantic-centric and after the role of the angry white old man, now the Chinese version of the angry yellow Chinese man and the other fat rocket man on a suicide mission seems to become the image of he world global peace dove and world peacemaker.
CRI also censored a guest commentary on the Xi- Trump summit because we thought that the assessment that Trump was just a non-ideological businessman who was hoping for a Great Deal that was as corrupt as possible instead of the Green Deal or New Deal was incorrect and that one should read his 100 days program and his readinessof not only questioning NATO or US nuclear umbrellas, but also the one-China principle with whisperers Pompeo and Bolton, who, if they had anything to say, would want to declare Taiwan independent tomorrow with US recognition as a state and believe the CCP would then not respond with war.
Above all, our article “Does BRI needs a Security Belt” was censored, which questioned how the PRC and Xi would secure the BRI in terms of security policy and military and whether a security belt would be needed for the BRI. That was doubly “wrong”: BRI is a purely win-win civilian project without any debt trap and anything like that, although they had apparently already thought through this idea themselves, although they had not yet brought it into the Global Security Initiative and then at all This question was seen as a doubt about Xi Jingping’s unshakable thoughts and that’s not possible. Now under Xi, CRI, CCTV and all other media, indirectly via the now replaced Jack Ma and Alibaba the SCMP, have been excluded from the Hong Kong Apple oligarch dissent. as regular columns in the Global Times, now „Xi’s Letters“ and sometimes „Hus Voice“, placed directly under a propaganda ministry and merged into an agitprop unit of the CCP and Xi, which is why we were no longer welcomed as guest commentators.
An interesting overview of China’s Security Belt along the BRI is provided today in an article by the DDP-affiliated Taipei Times, which briefly summarizes the „military diplomacy“ and thus the „Security Belt“ along the BRI and China:
„Sun, Oct 01, 2023 page8
China’s lagging military diplomacy
By Antonio Graceffo
On Sept. 13, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) concluded its fifth annual joint training exercise with Singapore’s armed forces. In March, the PLA conducted joint training with Cambodia’s army. In February, BRICS members China, Russia and South Africa conducted joint naval drills. These exercises were all part of Beijing’s military diplomacy campaign.
Military diplomacy deploys armed forces for foreign policy goals. Interaction between a nation’s military and foreign entities can achieve diplomatic goals and bolster security. China is increasingly leveraging its military for engagement and diplomatic advantages.
China’s exercises facilitate overseas training for its troops and provide practice in deploying and resupplying at distance. Military exchanges also foster alliances and enhance the PLA’s collaboration with foreign forces, boosting China’s global military presence.
China ranks third in firepower after the US and Russia, but aims to surpass the US as the dominant global military power by 2050. Apart from troop and weapon numbers, strengths of the US include its alliances and its ability to wage war from bases overseas. The US has 750 military bases across 80 countries. It is a leading member of the world’s largest military alliance, NATO, as well as AUKUS with Australia and the UK and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Australia, India and Japan.
Furthermore, the US has bilateral defense agreements with the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and others, while also providing security for nations such as Saudi Arabia.
Through military diplomacy, China hopes to emulate and overcome the US’ advantages.
In addition to joint exercises, China’s military diplomacy incorporates defense cooperation, overseas bases, private security companies, providing weapons and technology, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and regional security forums. Progress in these areas has varied, with some successes and some non-starters.
Defense cooperation is an area where China has been unable to make headway. Its only official defense agreement is with North Korea. The establishment of overseas bases has been slow: China has a base in Djibouti, air and naval facilities in Cambodia, as well as surveillance bases in Argentina, Cuba and on one of Myanmar’s islands in the Bay of Bengal. China has also obtained the right to deploy security forces to protect Chinese investments in more than 40 countries.
Chinese police, the PLA and private security companies have been sent to several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through a combination of military diplomacy and investment and trade agreements, China might yet be able to secure more overseas bases.
Beijing has had mixed success selling weapons and technology. It is one of the world’s top five arms exporters, but its weaponry lags behind Russian and US alternatives. Russia, despite needing weapons for its war in Ukraine, has overtaken China as the largest supplier of weapons in Africa. US-aligned nations such as EU states, the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam rarely buy Chinese arms, highlighting the link between diplomacy and arms sales.
Joint counterterrorism exercises, like the ones conducted with Singapore, are sometimes used as a less-threatening means of engaging with the security forces of another nation, which might be wary of hosting a Chinese base or participating in joint training. China has conducted similar exercises or training for local forces in Africa. In March, China led the China-Pakistan-Iran Trilateral Consultation on Counterterrorism and Security.
Humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations are a means of giving PLA troops operational experience in other countries, while enhancing China’s global standing. The PLA has participated in UN Blue Helmet peacekeeping and counterpiracy operations in Africa, as well as police operations in Haiti.
Regional security forums have had extremely mixed results for China. On the one hand, it has convinced other countries to participate in such events. On the other, no defense agreements have been signed and countries rarely agree to host Chinese bases. China participates in a number of regional security forums and organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. These platforms give it an opportunity to engage with neighboring countries and discuss regional security threats.
The irony is that China is the largest regional security threat.
Taiwan is threatened by a Chinese invasion and is often blocked from attending Chinese-led forums. Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have disputes with China in the South China Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration has found Chinese claims to be without merit.
India has fought two border conflicts with China in the past two years. Beijing’s most recent official map includes territory that belongs to Taiwan, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Russia, evoking official condemnations from its neighbors.
Manila has had numerous run-ins with Chinese maritime units. In April, it augmented its defense ties with Washington, specifically as a countermeasure to China. Most recently, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr ordered a barrier to be cut that China installed when laying claim to a Philippine fishing area.
In addition to the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 and an oil rig incident in 2014, Vietnam has ongoing disputes with China regarding the South China Sea and Mekong River water resources. These conflicts have pushed Vietnam deeper into the US’ sphere of influence. Hanoi and Washington this month upgraded their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership.” In 2016, the US lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam and is now one of its major arms suppliers. Following a recent attack on a Vietnamese fishing vessel by the Chinese Coast Guard, the US transferred two of its coast guard vessels to Vietnam and plans to send more.
Vietnam’s government has also expressed interest in obtaining F-16 jets and unarmed drones.
While China has made some headway in military diplomacy, and some countries are willing to accept weapons and training from it, few trust Beijing enough to sign bilateral defense agreements or host Chinese bases. Its aggression, particularly in the South China Sea, is undermining its military diplomacy and preventing it from building meaningful alliances.
Antonio Graceffo, a China economic analyst who holds a China-MBA from Shanghai Jiaotong University, studies national defense at the American Military University in West Virginia.
The following article also shows to what extent China is or wants to be able to secure its BRI project militarily, even if it cannot really do this in Central Asia instead of Russia. Consideration is also being given to the extent to which China could replace Russia as a military power in Central Asia, now that the CSTO has apparently become dysfunctional and it is unclear whether Putin could help Kazakhstan out of trouble again. At the moment this is considered rather unlikely, as it goes against China’s previous policy of not making military interventions in other countries, also in order not to have to experience such a disaster as the USA in the Iraq War or Afghanistan, also for image reasons, albeit beyond that Global Security Initiative through so-called private military and security companies and training of foreign militaries, as networks are already being set up along with so-called peace initiatives, but since China wants to become a world military power like the USA by 2049, this could perhaps change in the future:
“Why didn’t China send troops to aid Kazakhstan?
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 14, 2022 at 12:30 JST
BEIJING–China gave strong verbal backing to Kazakhstan’s leader for his deadly crackdown to quell violent unrest, but stood aside as Russia sent in special forces troops.
Resource-rich Kazakhstan, on China’s western border, has economic and strategic importance for Beijing and is an important link in its “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative to expand its global trade and political influence in rivalry with the U.S. and its allies.
China’s response to the crisis underscores how it prefers to influence outcomes with verbal assurances and offers of assistance, without committing troops.
“The growing closeness between Russia and China means we can expect more rhetorical support for Moscow’s overseas ventures, particularly when they go up against Western geostrategic aims,” said Rana Mitter, an Oxford University China expert.
“However, China remains extremely reluctant to deploy People’s Liberation Army troops outside its own territory, except in areas such as U.N. peacekeeping operations, as it would contradict its constant statements that unlike the U.S., China does not intervene in other countries’ conflicts,” Mitter said.
WHAT ARE CHINA’S GOALS IN CENTRAL ASIA?
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, China has steadily expanded its economic and political influence in a region that Russia considers its own backyard. As the largest and by far the wealthiest Central Asian state, Kazakhstan is key, acting as the buckle in China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and its authoritarian politics act as a bulwark against democratic movements in Ukraine and elsewhere that China derides as Western-engineered “color revolutions.”
China’s ruling Communist Party, which violently repressed its own pro-democracy challenge in 1989, views such movements, whether in Georgia or Hong Kong, as a threat to its own stability. In a message to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev amid the unrest, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said his country would “resolutely oppose external forces deliberately creating turmoil and instigating a ‘color revolution’ in Kazakhstan.”
China’s position dovetails with its strident opposition to outside criticism of its policies, whether its human rights record or its expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, as meddling in its internal affairs.
China’s influence in Central Asia still has limits, however, and Kazakhstan may feel uneasy about inviting in Chinese troops, given China’s harsh treatment of ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities within its borders, said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
“An important element of China’s foreign policy under Xi is to make the world safe for authoritarian states and stop color revolutions from spreading,” Tsang said.
WHEN DOES CHINA INTERVENE?
China frequently vows retaliation for any criticism of its policies, especially when the offenders are the U.S. and its allies. It is far friendlier with autocrats, pledging non-interference and cooperation with whomever is in power, regardless of their records on human rights and corruption.
That’s evidenced in its dealings with regimes that others criticize, from Myanmar’s military leaders to Hungary’s Viktor Orban. While not recognizing the Taliban, it is hedging its bets in Afghanistan by working with the country’s current rulers, despite their espousal of the form of radical Islam that Beijing has sought to keep from infiltrating its restive, largely Muslim region of Xinjiang, which shares a narrow border with Afghanistan and a much larger one with Kazakhstan.
China generally reserves action, military and otherwise, for cases in which its own security is perceived as threatened, as in the 1950-53 Korean War, or more recently, in violent incidents along its disputed border with India, and especially with Taiwan, which China threatens to invade if it doesn’t agree to unite. Beijing responded with ruthless trade and diplomatic retaliation against Lithuania when the tiny Baltic nation broke with diplomatic convention by allowing Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei.”
HOW DOES CHINA VIEW MILITARY ALLIANCES?
Troops, mostly from Russia, were deployed to Kazakhstan last week by the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a grouping of six former Soviet states, at the president’s request amid unprecedented violence. China officially eschews such security alliances, although The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Beijing dominates along with Moscow, has a security component, currently limited to joint training and other non-combat missions.
Unlike the CSTO, there is “no agreement about sending troops from member countries of the SCO,” Chinese international security expert Li Wei said. “In addition, China sticks to the fundamental principle of not using force in other countries.”
U.N. Peacekeeping Operations remain the rare exception, and China is quick to point out that it is the largest contributor of forces to such missions among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
Given the growing might of China’s military, some experts expect Beijing to become more amenable to military interventions in the future. Oxford’s Mitter also points to a growing “grey zone” of Chinese private security enterprises that can be used to protect Chinese interests “without any formal government intervention.”
Oh, interesting that Japan now wants to equip Ukraine with a Shinkasen. This seems to be the Japanese response to BRI.
„Ukraine looks to Shinkansen to build rails to Western allies
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
September 29, 2023 at 07:00 JST
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi examine an E5 series Shinkansen at a Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. facility in Kobe in November 2016. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Ukraine is eagerly looking to Japan’s super-safe Shinkansen system to bolster the war-torn nation’s recovery from the devastation of the Russian invasion.
This provides a ripe opportunity for Japan to publicize its high-speed train system as it has been stepping up efforts to export its railway technology abroad.
In late May, a Japanese government insider heard Ukrainian ambassador Sergiy Korsunsky request that “Japan’s Shinkansen be included as part of rebuilding support” after the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, who is in charge of infrastructure, reportedly also expressed interest in bullet trains in mid-June while he was visiting Japan for a meeting to discuss Ukraine’s economic reconstruction.
However, there are significant obstacles to clear before the project can become a reality.
MATTER OF RAIL WIDTH
In addition to making Ukraine’s transportation system faster with Japan’s Shinkansen technology, the rail reconstruction project also presents an opportunity for Ukraine to strengthen ties with Western Europe–and diminish Russian access.
Ukraine, as a member of the former Soviet Union, currently uses 1,520-millimeter-wide train tracks throughout the country, as is standard in Russia. This consistency has allowed Moscow to transport personnel and supplies to Ukraine smoothly during their invasion efforts.
On the other hand, Poland and other Western European countries rely on 1,435-mm-wide rails–as do Japan’s Shinkansen.
The difference in track standards forces passengers and cargo to change trains on trips between Ukraine and its Western neighbors.
In May last year, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced plans to change the country’s rail width to be consistent with the European criteria.
The decision to improve passengers’ accessibility to the Western states, and reduce Moscow’s clout, was seen as key to the envisioned rebuilding of Ukraine’s railway network–and makes Japan’s Shinkansen, running on its 1,435-mm tracks, ideal candidates for the project.
JAPAN EAGER TO EXPORT
The Japanese government has been beefing up infrastructure facilities exports as part of its economic growth tactics, wary of the shrinking domestic market and the dwindling birthrate within Japan.
The Shinkansen is viewed as one of the most promising offerings under the national endeavor–boasting an untarnished record of zero fatal accidents from derailments or collisions over the course of more than 50 years since the punctual, high-speed rail system’s opening.
In 2007, a high-speed transit network utilizing Japanese bullet train technology opened in Taiwan for the first time.
Japan is also looking to share its technology used for the Tokaido Shinkansen Line with the United States, in the hopes of linking Dallas with Houston in vast Texas.
A similar initiative is under way to build a Shinkansen line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand, while Vietnam is looking to connect Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with a bullet train line.
OBSTRUCTIONS ON THE TRACK
However, Japanese Shinkansen export efforts face growing competition from other nations.
Japan lost the bid to China to build a rapid rail network for the Jakarta-Bandung route in Indonesia.
The governments of Malaysia and Singapore have already dropped their plans to lay a Shinkansen track between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Local uncertainties can also present challenges that hamper the seamless launch of a bullet train line.
For example, the leaders of Japan and India agreed in 2015 to develop a Shinkansen line between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The intention was to export East Japan Railway Co. (JR East)’s E5 series, which is currently running in Japan on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line.
However, difficulty in acquiring land and other obstructions have delayed production so significantly that completion is predicted to be in 2028 rather than 2023.
Meanwhile, costs have ballooned to 3 trillion yen ($20.32 billion) from the initial estimate of 1.8 trillion yen.
The Japanese government extends loans that are to be repaid over 50 years at an annual interest rate of 0.1 percent to cover construction costs.
This extraordinarily generous assistance is part of the state’s comprehensive support to lessen the substantial risk of such large construction projects.
Despite this, some still question whether the Shinkansen service can turn a profit as a private business.
For Ukraine, the prolonged war makes even conducting an on-site survey, a necessary procedure before building rail tracks, unrealistic for the near future.
The United Nations Development Program list mine clearance, debris removal, energy supply support and other such initiatives as reconstruction priorities.
A Japanese government insider agreed, saying, “Utilities for power, water and heating have to be restored to their former state within one to two years.
„Reconstruction programs like one concerning Shinkansen should be weighed under a 10-year strategy following that.”
(This article was written by Shinkai Kawabe and Go Taka)
China expert Professor van Ess concluded:
“It’s interesting that they don’t seem to be interested in the ICE.”
The Ukrainians may have heard about the DB, German delays and accidents, then they prefer Japanese just- in-time and only the best of the best for Ukraine, maybe the EU will pay for it too. The only thing missing is the Transrapid, but it is now in Chinese hands and only runs from Pudong to Shanghai Airport as a Disneyland tourist attraction. It’s also interesting that a Shinkansen is supposed to run from Houston to Dallas. Make America Great Again. But it shouldn’t be a Chinese express high speed bullet train. Apparently it’s not just the test track in Florida that’s planned in the USA. Is the Shinkansen actually electric or diesel? If electrified, there might be a share for Siemens. I have to talk to Brad as CEO of Siemens Health in the USA, who allegedly knows Joe Kaeser and his successor. Great man! Make Germany Great again! What is good for Siemens is good for Germany and the world! Apparently the ICE is not for Europe, but Shinkasen for Ukraine and perhaps with Giorga Meloni and the British-Italian-Japanese fighter bomber project also for the European railway network, unless new austerity policies bring the second Delors Plan and a European Silk Road to their knees? The ICE and Siemens not for Europe, but Shinkasen for Ukraine and Europe and the rest of the ICE and Siemens/Krupp for Egypt and the Global South?
The new German Baghdad Railway from Siemens (like Deutsche Bank back then as with Trump and the Russian oligarch after the Herrhausen attack) is now pushing forward a high-speed rail network in Egypt under Al-Sissi. With German punctuality and precision and engineering technology like Berlin airport BER, why not the Japanese? But Al Sissi chose Siemens/Krupp. Shinkansen for Ukraine instead of ICE Siemens/Krupp, which is now taking 50% of its shares and voting rights from the Czech oligarch, along with personnel moves, and perhaps also one or another spectacular personnel change with cheap Temelin nuclear power prices, similar to what Trump did with the GOP. But that started before and then under George W. Bush Jr. with Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin as running mate of John McCain and the Tea Party movement? Also interesting is whether Giorgia Meloni will now resurrect and revive a European Silk Road initiated by Italy as a European train network like the Delors Plan of the 90s, which was canceled as a result of neoliberalism and anti-Keynesianism, especially since Giorgia wants also Berlin, Italy, Israel, SA and India as hubs of the India-EU-Middle East Economic Corridor and is designing a very large multilateral Mare Nostrum.
But, where we talk about Chinese, German and European Silk Road and infrastructure projects, Global Gateway and also B3W, and train and rail networks, the competition is already in the Douhetian sense in terms of air superiority in the next round by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezzoes and far from continental railway modelling. Hopefully after the ICE, not Arianne 6 as well. Otherwise there will be angry shitstorms for Musk and Bezzo again, complete with riot-red-green dismay that Musk now also blames the traffic light coaöition for the migration crisis. What about the Ukraine war-tested satellites that Musk now wants to launch into space against China’s new space satellite network of planned 35000 satellites to show that GPS, Arianne 6 and Gallileo and also the Chinese and the state-owned NASA are the backward losers , especially since they don’t have a Great Leader and one of the much-quoted narcissists and/or visionaries ( Be or not to be? That is the question) who brilliantly combines charisma and personality cult and who, like Trum on the department store and shoppimg mll escalator visited Homer Simpson in Springfield, initially in Moe’s Bar, where Elon got all his brilliant ideas from Homer’s beer bubbles and then drove the nuclear power plant boss Mr. Burns to despair and „abolished“ the city withhunger soup kitchens and unemployment queues, gold test hamsters vomiting after a hyperloop tuberide and solar-equipped birdhouses . In any case, Musk interfered in the migration crisis in Germany with an alleged call to vote for theAfD, interfered in internal GERMAN affairs, including with the so-called peace plans for Ukraine including the demand to stop arms deliveries. Accordingly, Annalena Baerbock’s AA has now made clear statements about Musk. Will Musk become the Soros of the Right? People thought that was what Victor Orban wanted with his Matthias Corvenius Center, or Putin wanted it with Yakunin’s Dialogue of Civilization, or Xi wants with the Global Xivilization Initiative?
And Xivilization is also expanding and encroaching through train and bridge networks. In addition to the increasing integration of the Greater Bay Area around Hong Kong, Fujian Province appears to be the bridgehead for the attempted economic infiltration. Firstly, the meeting with Taiwanese business people and students in Fujian Province, then new measures for economic penetration of the Taiwanese islands from Kinmen to Matsu. Next up is a high-speed train bridge that will also cross the Taiwan Strait in the future. That would probably be a 100 km bridge, and it could also be used to transport troops. China may soon offer Taiwan to become part of the BRI.
“China’s first 350km/h sea-spanning high-speed railway to open in E.China’s Fujian
By Tao Mingyang Published: Sep 27, 2023 10:06 PM
A Fuxing bullet train commences a test operation along the Fuzhou-Xiamen high-speed railway on September 4, 2023. Photo: VCG
China’s first sea-spanning high-speed railway capable of a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour is expected to start service in East China’s Fujian Province on Thursday. The line shortens the travel time between Fuzhou and Xiamen to at most 55 minutes in a bid to enhance the connectivity between the two major cities in the province, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.
With a total length of 277 kilometers, the railway starts from Fuzhou, passes through Putian, Quanzhou and Xiamen and ends in Zhangzhou.
The high-speed railway is yet another intelligent railway route to enter commercial service following the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway and Beijing-Xiong’an high-speed railway, demonstrating new progress in the intelligentization of China’s high-speed railway technology.
The railway was designed using the latest modeling technology based on digital information, which realized the integrated management of high-speed railway’s design, construction and operation.
The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, intelligent robots and environmentally friendly materials were adopted to facilitate the construction of cross-sea bridges. An intelligent command and dispatch system is used to ensure trains stay on schedule and operate efficiently. A big data analysts system can monitor and report all potential weather disasters, ensuring the safe operation of each train on the route.
The opening of the railway connects multiple cities along Southeast China’s coast and forms a belt full of tourism sites. It will also form a high-quality traffic channel connecting Ningbo in East China’s Zhejiang Province and Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province with other high-speed railway routes that have already been completed or are still under construction.
Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University in Fujian Province, told the Global Times that the opening of the Fuzhou-Xiamen high-speed railway shows China has the technological ability to build a cross-Straits railway.
„What’s more, it also offers expectations for people on the both sides of the Straits that the railway will be the foundation of a cross-Straits railway in the future,“ said Wang.
China expert Professor van Ess said:
“First of all, it was probably about better connecting the cities on the coast with each other. Fujian is rugged and individual cities are traditionally difficult to reach (although I drove from Fuzhou to Quanzhou 4 years ago. That went very well back then). From Quanzhou to Taichung that would be a bridge of well over 200 kilometers. That will take a while.”
Reminds a little bit of Sicily. For decades, politicians have always promised to build a bridge from Italy to Sicily, most recently under Berlusconi. Do the Sicilians and the Mafia want it that way? But it was also always promised that southern Italy and the Mezzogiorno would be industrialized and developed, but the gap remained different than in Germany, where the Southern states Bavaria and Baden-Wurtemberg surpassed the Ruhr area and North Rhine-Westphalia, left them behind and basically swapped roles, including the Ruhr area – Bloggers “Ruhr Barons” always know how to complain.
But that’s not all, China and not Japan/Shinkansen, Amtrak-USA or ICE-Germany is building the first high-speed line in Southeast Asia – from Indonesia’s Jakarta to Bandung, as a project of the Chinese Silk Road BRI.
“Indonesia set to launch S.E. Asia’s first high-speed railway
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 1, 2023 at 13:00 JST
A high-speed train is parked during a test ride at Halim station in Jakarta on Sept. 18. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim
JAKARTA–Indonesia is launching Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway, a key project under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that will cut travel time between the capital and another major city from the current three hours to about 40 minutes.
The project has been beset with delays and increasing costs, and some observers doubt its commercial benefit, but President Joko Widodo has championed it and will be inaugurating the 142.3-kilometer railway as it begins commercial operations Oct. 2.
The Chinese-made bullet train, called “Whoosh,” will connect Jakarta with Bandung, the heavily populated capital of West Java province. Widodo, along with other high-ranking officials, is expected to ride the Whoosh from its first station, Halim KCBJ in eastern Jakarta to Bandung’s Tegalluar station, the last of the line’s four stations.
The $7.3-billion project, largely funded by China, was constructed by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, known as PT KCIC, a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state-owned companies and China Railway International Co. The joint venture said the trains will be the fastest in Southeast Asia, with speeds of up to 350 kph.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime and investment, said China Railway has agreed to transfer its technology to Indonesia so that in the future the country’s high-speed trains can be made domestically.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang took a test ride early last month while visiting Jakarta for three days of talks with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations and other countries.
Li rode the train from Halim KCBJ station to the next station ,in West Java’s Karawang city, a 40-kilometer ride that took about 11 minutes. He then returned on the same train.
Widodo took a 25-minutes test ride on the train a week later and told reporters that he felt comfortable sitting or walking inside the bullet train even at its top speeds.
He urged people to switch from cars to mass transportation to reduce congestion and pollution, adding that congestion in Jakarta and Bandung is estimated to cost the economy more than $6.5 billion a year.
PT KCIC has also been running a two-week, free-of-charge public trial prior to the inauguration.
Indonesia broke ground on the project in 2016. The line was originally expected to begin operations in 2019, but was delayed by disputes over land acquisition, environmental issues and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was planned to cost 66.7 trillion rupiah ($4.3 billion), but the amount ballooned to 113 trillion rupiah ($7.3 billion).
The trains have been modified for Indonesia’s tropical climate and are equipped with a safety system that can respond to earthquakes, floods and other emergency conditions. The 209-meter train can carry 601 passengers.
Ticket prices had not been finalized as of Sept. 30, but PT KCIC estimated one-way prices per passenger would range from 250,000 rupiah ($16) for second class to 350,000 rupiah ($22.60) for VIP seats.
Passengers going to downtown Bandung need to take a feeder train from the Padalarang station that will add a further 20 minutes, with an estimated cost about 50,000 rupiah ($3.20).
The rail deal was signed in October 2015 after Indonesia selected China over Japan in fierce bidding. It was financed with a loan from the China Development Bank for 75 percent of the cost. The remaining 25 percent came from the consortium’s own funds.
The project is part of a planned 750-km high-speed train line that would cut across four provinces on Indonesia’s main island of Java and end in the country’s second-largest city, Surabaya.
“I’m so happy and very excited that finally we can ride a bullet train in Indonesia,” said Christianto Nusatya, a Jakarta resident who joined a public test ride last week. “But still, I would prefer to choose a regular train or car, because Jakarta-Bandung is too short and not worth it to be reached by high-speed train.”
Deddy Herlambang, executive director of the Jakarta-based NGO Institute for Transportation Studies, said the public does not really need a high-speed train on the Jakarta-Bandung route because there were already many other ways of traveling between the two cities.
He said the bullet train would have a significant economic impact if it connected Jakarta and Surabaya. However, he was pessimistic that the railway project would make a profit in less than 30 years of operation.
“The high-speed train cannot replace the old transportation that previously existed,” Herlambang said, “People, of course, will prefer to use far cheaper modes of transportation for short distance trips.”
Turning point /Zeitenwende in Japan too. The infrastructure and airfields are being modernized and expanded, also with a view to military use and a Taiwan conflict. What does it actually look like in Germany? I haven’t heard of any such plans yet.
„Sun, Oct 01, 2023 page2
- Japan’s plans have Taiwan focus
RUNWAY UPGRADES: Airports and ports mainly scattered around southwestern Japan are being given major overhauls, primarily serving as civilian-use facilities
- By Lin Tsuei-yi and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter in TOKYO, with staff writer
Japan has chosen 33 airports and ports as candidates for improvement to enhance military capabilities, with a particular focus on infrastructure that could be utilized in a Taiwan emergency, according to a recent report in Japan’s Nikkei Shimbun.
Citing the Japanese government’s fiscal budget proposal for next year, the newspaper said Toyko is to name some facilities as essential bases and receive funding for upgrades in line with the revamped national security strategy published last year.
According to an unofficial policy document drafted last month and reviewed by the Nikkei, the Japanese government designated 14 airports and 19 ports for improvement, including 16 facilities in the Ryukyu Islands encompassing Okinawa, as well as Kyushu and Shikoku.
The selection of the sites suggests a concern with areas near China, a country of surging military capabilities that analysts say could become the focal point of a major conflict in Asia, it said.
New Ishigaki, Miyako and Naha in Okinawa, Kagoshima and Miyazaki in Kyushu, and Kochi in Shikoku are among the airports listed in the government’s plan, the Nikkei said.
These airports could be used as bases for the Japan Self-Defense Forces to deploy troops and supply Taiwan with fuel and food in case of a contingency, the newspaper said.
Yonaguni, New Ishigaki and Miyako airports with their 2,000m-long runways are difficult places to take off or land for heavy military transport aircraft including Japan’s Kawasaki C-2, capable of moving 100 people, it said.
The capability to accommodate heavy cargo planes would enable the evacuation of local residents if necessary, the newspaper said.
Other airports are being considered for runway extensions and installation of a variety of improvements encompassing new parking lots, taxiways and hangars that would allow their utilization by the Japan Self-Defense Forces and Coast Guard, according to the Nikkei.
A civilian runway of 2,500m or more that is easy to use for defense purposes is a security asset for Japan, a senior Japan Self-Defense Force official was quoted as saying.
Japan is eyeing Yonaguni Island for a new port capable of accommodating escort and patrol vessels, while the docks at Ishigaki, Hirara and Naha ports in Okinawa, Kumamoto port and Hakata port in Fukuoka are to be overhauled, Nikkei said.
Facilities in Hokkaido and Fukui prefectures, which respectively have to deal with Russian and North Korean threats, are also to be upgraded, the Nikkei said.
The list of airports and ports to receive improvements is classified and its content is subject to change, it said.
Japan has begun briefing local officials on its plans and ranking members of the government already visited Miyako over the matter of refurbishing Miyako Airport and the Port of Hirara, Nikkei said.