|Asia News Digest
APEC Summit: The Potential for a Four-Power Alliance
Nov. 14 (EIRNS)The heads of 21 Asia-Pacific nations, including China, Russia, and the United States, are in Singapore this weekend for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Speeches by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao have affirmed the new cooperation between those two anchor nations of the LaRouche-conceived Four-Power alliance, although much of the statecraft has been taking place on the sidelines, in a series of bilateral meetings. President Barack Obama arrived late tonight from his first Asia stopover in Tokyo, and will go on to China and South Korea after the APEC gathering ends. He will meet separately with Presidents Medvedev and Hu during the weekend.
Both the Russian and Chinese Presidents addressed a gathering of business leaders today, and both speeches reflected the strategic shift in orientation of the two governments. Medvedev, according to Itar-Tass, emphasized that the global financial crisis has forced a structural overhaul of the national economy. "He believes that Russia should become a country whose prosperity will depend not so much on raw materials as on intellectual resources, high technologies, innovative products, etc."
In comments to reporters, Medvedev and Hu stressed the recent agreements to build up the regions of the Russian Far East and China. Hu noted that the Russian President is coming to China next year, and emphasized that this will be an "important event in the development of bilateral relations."
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met today with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and invited her to visit China next yearwhich she accepted. She will be accompanying President Obama next week on a four-day visit to China, with stopovers in Shanghai and Beijing.
And in another indication of dramatic changes in the political relations in the Far East, Hu also met, in his capacity as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, with Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), who was formerly vice president of Taiwan. At the meeting, Hu declared, "We should continue to follow the approaches of putting aside difficult issues, and making economic issues priority in advancing cross-Strait consultation, and strive to launch the consultation process for a cross-Strait economic cooperation framework agreement within this year."
China Expands Africa Aid Package to $10 Billion-Plus
Nov. 8 (EIRNS)China will offer Africa $10 billion in preferential loans over the next three years to develop infrastructure and social programs, and will write off the debt of some of the poorest nations, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. China also will construct 100 new clean-energy projects on the continent and gradually lower customs duties on 95% of products from African states that have diplomatic ties with China. China invested $7.8 billion in Africa last year and China-Africa trade totalled $107 billion, an increase of 45% from the year before.
In the last meeting of FOCAC in Beijing in 2006, China promised to provide $3 billion in preferential loans and $2 billion in buyers' credits through 2009. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told the official Xinhua news agency yesterday that China fulfilled the pledge. FOCAC, created in 2000, includes China and 49 African countries.
"This meeting now represents a new stage of development in relations with Africa," Wen said. Besides broadening and deepening its economic and developmental ties with the heretofore only looted continent, China has increased its political and even military presence across the continent, especially with respect to East African hot spots. The Chinese anti-piracy patrol off Somalia is most notable in this regard.
Lyndon LaRouche noted that the Chinese are the only country that pays for the raw materials it extracts in Africa, in the form of building basic infrastructure. "The Africans love them," LaRouche said, "because they always do the work they promised, and nobody else does!"
Japan Offers Support to Myanmar at Mekong Summit
Nov. 8 (EIRNS)In a sidelines meeting at the early November Mekong Summit in Tokyo, Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told Myanmar's Gen. Thein Sein, "Based on recent positive moves, Japan will gradually expand its assistance to Myanmar in areas of humanitarian assistance, including those through NGOs, and human development assistance." It was the first time since 2003 that a Myanmar leader had visited Japan.
Just prior to the Mekong Summit, Kurt Campbell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Scot Marciel, ASEAN ambassador, made the highest level U.S. official visit to Myanmar in 14 years.
Gen. Jones Probes Improvement in India-Pakistan Relations
Nov. 14 (EIRNS)Following a trip to Pakistan by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones is visiting the country. While the conflict in Afghanistan was on the table for discussion, what is evident is that Jones, like Clinton, is on a probing mission to bring about an improvement in India-Pakistan relations, which Washington believes would ease some pressures in Afghanistan. Clinton had made clear that she would like greater trade-linked relations between India and Pakistan.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told Jones that the U.S. would have to use its influence with India for resumption of "composite dialogue" and easing tensions with Pakistan to enable it to concentrate its attention and energy on the fight against militancy and terrorism. Gilani said it was imperative for the U.S. to be sensitive about Pakistan's core interestsKashmir, water, Indian military capability, and the need for a balance of power in South Asia.
There is growing evidence that Washington is involved in engaging India and Pakistan to improve their bilateral relations through some form of a friendship treaty. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be visiting Washington at the end of this month, and it is anticipated in New Delhi that the subject will be brought up with the intent of finding the means to execute it successfully.
London Times Dirty Tricks Against Thaksin and ASEAN
Nov. 10 (EIRNS)Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra flew into Cambodia last week to a royal welcome, after his appointment as economic advisor to the Hun Sen government. The British puppet regime in Thailand is throwing a fit, andas is to be expectedthe London Times intervened in an attempt to protect the British and Thai monarchies from Thaksin, who enjoys majority support in Thailand and is clearly being backed by many of the ASEAN nations.
Thaksin agreed to an interview with the Times, from his temporary base in Dubai, before travelling to Cambodia, and, true to form, the City of London mouthpiece wildly distorted his words in order help Thaksin's enemies. The Times' headline read: "Thaksin calls for 'shining' new age after King's death," and claims that Thaksin was playing with "taboo areas of Thai politics." In fact, as the full interview shows, Thaksin repeatedly denied the accusations that he opposes the King or the monarchy, while blasting the Privy Council, and its head Prem Tinsulanonda in particular, for wielding power illegally by claiming the protection of the King. This, and his attacks on the British-bred Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, are what infuriates the Brits.
As planned, Thai Members of Parliament who are supporting the usurper Democratic Party government have leaped to bring lèse majesté charges against Thaksin, and the Thai press issued nonsense "polls" claiming that Thaksin's popularity had evaporated because of his "insults" to the King.
Thailand and Cambodia have withdrawn their ambassadors, and the Times writes hopefully that "there are fears of military skirmishes along the disputed border."
One prominent Thai commentator, Chulalongkorn Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak, pointed to the reality underlying the Thaksin issue in an article that appeared around the world, but not, apparently, in Thailand. Called "Accommodation is the only way out," his article states that "what had been a pro- and anti-Thaksin fight has gradually become a pro- and anti-monarchy struggle." He says that the Bangkok elite, made up of "the military, the monarchy and the bureaucracy" comprise a "rigidly hierarchical force," which is "insecure and fearful of what will happen after the King dies."