From Volume 37, Issue 39 of EIR Online, Published Oct. 8, 2010
Asia News Digest

Menon: China and India Have 'Global Interests'

Oct. 1 (EIRNS)—Responding to a Washington-based corespondent's query about why New Delhi kept mute following U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg's recent statement that China has an important role in South Asia, India's National Security Advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon, said:

"These are not powers which are limited to some little geographical area. We have global interests, the Chinese have global interests. South Asia is part of the globe. All of us, all the major powers, as I said, are not only interdependent on each other, but also are dealing with each other across a whole range of issues, none of which recognizes some artificial geographical construct like South Asia or East Asia."

Steinberg, following his address on "The Impact of U.S.-China Relations in Asia," at a conference at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars on Sept. 21, was asked about the "Administration's thinking on the proper role for China in South Asia." He replied: "China has an important role. It's a neighbor of South Asia. And it's unimaginable that China would not be involved."

Menon argued: "For me, it's just an academic argument as to whether China has a major role to play in South Asia. Of course, China has a presence in South Asia, and has so for a long time. We have had a presence in East Asia for a long time.... But that presence has changed and evolved as China has changed, as South Asia has changed, and we have changed. And we will continue to do that."

Lyndon LaRouche praised Menon's response, while noting that Menon failed to mention that it is only the British who do not change, and always try to provoke conflicts among nations, such as India and China.

Russia, China, and India for Regional Cooperation

Sept. 29 (EIRNS)—During this week's talks between visiting Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao, stepping up the dialogue with India for regional cooperation figured prominently.

"The two sides [Russia and China] will continue to strengthen dialogue among China, Russia, and India and will make joint efforts to create sound Asia-Pacific and international environments," the joint statement said.

"Both countries are willing to make achievements out of cooperation among the three parties in various fields including disaster relief, agriculture, and public health, deepen communication among academic, industrial, and business circles, as well as promote multilateral cooperation and democratic international relations," it said.

Last October, the foreign ministers of Russia, China, and India met and agreed to enhance cooperation against terrorism, and expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. A joint communiqué issued after a meeting in Bangalore said that among the topics they discussed were the global financial crisis, climate change, increased cooperation in the energy sector, and reform of international bodies, including the UN.

China, Russia: 'New Era' for Strategic Ties

Sept. 27 (EIRNS)—Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's current visit to China marks a "new starting point" in relations, Chinese President Hu Jintao said after meeting Medvedev in Beijing today. While energy cooperation was a leading issue, there is a lot more on the agenda. Medvedev is leading an unprecedented delegation of government and economic leaders, including two-thirds of his Cabinet, according to Russia Today—representing the oil and gas, nuclear, military, and high technology, railway, fishing, and other industries, as well as governors of the regions closest to China. Hu cited the recently completed China-Russia oil pipeline as an example of cooperation: China is giving Russia a $25 billion long-term loan in exchange for 300 million tons of oil between 2011-30. Deals were signed on nuclear power, energy grids, efficient coal production, and other topics during Medvedev's visit.

Medvedev and Hu have already met five times in the past year, and this intensity of contacts "meets the interests of strategic partnership," Medvedev said. He added that "coordination between Russia and China on the international stage is strategic cooperation. This guideline, which allows us to adapt to the complex international situation, will not falter." The two Presidents discussed cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, on the Korean Peninsula, Iran, and other situations.

Medvedev is also promoting his Skolkovo Innovation City, an imitation Silicon Valley, in his visit to Shanghai today.

China Expands Infrastructure to Bring 1.4 Billion People into Modern Economy

Oct. 10 (EIRNS)—China is expanding construction of infrastructure which can help it "leapfrog" over more developed nations in several key technologies, including high-speed railways. Today, Hubei province news service announced that the country has started building its first-ever high-speed railway vocational training center, which will enroll 13,000 people beginning next year, to train as engineers, technicians, drivers, and for other skills needed to build and run China's high-speed rail system, now the longest and consistently fastest in the world. By 2020, some 24,000 people will be enrolled in the training base in Wuhan, one of China's biggest industrial centers, in the Yangtze River valley.

The base will become a platform for research and development of high-speed rail systems, and international cooperation in these technologies, the news service reported.

On Sept. 26, China announced the launch of construction of the strategic extension of the highest-altitude railway in the world, the Qinghai-Tibet railway. A 253-km extension will link Lhasa, capital of Tibet, to the city of Xigaze, close to the borders of Nepal, India, and Bhutan. The rail line will pass (relatively) near to Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain, and will cross one of the world's biggest canyons, on the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River in Tibet. The Tibet rail line had to be built in very challenging technological conditions, including permafrost and high altitude, requiring pressurized rail cars.

China successfully launched its second unmanned lunar probe today, from Sichuan province. This will be the first Chinese lunar probe to directly enter the Earth-Moon transfer orbit without orbiting the Earth first, the China Academy of Space Technology announced. In an editorial on the space program published by the Xinhua news service today, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC) emphasized, "Many of the leading information, biological, and new materials technologies, among others, in the United States were based on its Apollo missions." A key resource would be lunar helium-3, for use in nuclear fusion, which could provide energy for 10,000 years, and it would be possible to produce ultra-high purity metals and drugs, due to the weaker gravity and other lunar conditions, CASTC reported.

China is also constructing a huge network of dams and hydroelectric power stations on the tributaries of the Yangtze River, site of the Three Gorges Dam. This system, which will include more than 20 dams on the Yalong and Jinsha rivers, will eventually produce 10 times the hydropower output of the Three Gorges. The over 300-meter Jinping I project, on the dramatic "Jinping bend" of the Yalong, will be the world's highest dam, when finished in 2014. A second part of the project will include an underground powerhouse which will exploit the bend's geography: The river flows around a narrow neck just 16 km wide, but the drop from one side to the other is 310 meters. Digging a headrace tunnel for the water through this neck, will rival tunnels dug in France and Switzerland.

China Sets High-Speed Rail Record

Sept. 28 (EIRNS)—The Chinese-made new generation of high-speed train called the "Harmony" CRH-380A, today hit 258.9 miles (416.6 km) per hour on the Huhang high-speed railway, which runs from Shanghai to Hangzhou, creating a new record as the world's fastest high-speed operational rail.

Other high-speed trains, notably the French TGV, have reached higher speeds, but in a test, not in an operational environment.

The 100-mile Huhang route is currently expected to handle 80 million passenger-trips per year. China, only at the start of its high-speed rail deployment, has 4,400 miles (7,055 km) of operating track, which leads the world.

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