From Volume 38, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published September 16, 2011
Asia News Digest

Russian-Chinese Far East Commodity Development Emerges

Sept. 5 (EIRNS)—The China Daily promotes joint Chinese-Russian development in an interview with Artem Volynets, CEO of En+ Group, a major energy company. He said Russia has the potential to become a valued supplier of commodities to China.

"Currently the key suppliers of resources to China are Australia, Brazil, and South Africa," said Volynets. "We believe that Eastern Siberia has the potential to become a major, reliable supplier of commodities to the rapidly growing Asian markets and especially to China."

In June, En+ Group's subsidiary EuroSibEnergo signed a framework agreement with China Yangtze Power Co. Ltd. that provides for joint investment in a number of power plant construction projects in Eastern Siberia. The Russian company also recently signed a $5 billion agreement with China Export-Import Bank to develop mining and power projects in Eastern Siberia.

"Siberian resources are the closest to China and that is obviously our key advantage," said Volynets, adding that the company plans to build up as much as 10 gigawatts of new power capacity in Eastern Siberia, mostly hydro, during the next decade. It only takes one day to deliver goods to China by rail from Eastern Siberia through Mongolia, according to Volynets.

White Paper Asserts Peaceful Path of China's Development

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—The State Council of the Chinese Government has issued a White Paper entitled "The Path of China's Peaceful Development," outlining the perspective of China's development policy for the coming decades. This unusual move was undoubtedly triggered by the publication of the U.S. Defense Department's annual report on China's military development. The annual U.S. report was mandated by Congress in 1998 as a prerequisite for agreeing to Permanent Normal Trade relations with China. Every year the publication of this report causes problems in U.S.-China relations, but this year particularly so, as the report has very much the character of the old Soviet Military Power reports issued regularly during the Cold War, including the same type of maps depicting the possible alleged reach of China's nuclear arsenal!

Given recent tensions in the region over various sovereignty conflicts concerning the numerous islands in the East China and South China Seas, the DoD report feeds into the apprehensions of the other Asian-Pacific countries over the rapid development of their powerful neighbor, which is undoubtedly the purpose of its authors.

U.S. Diplomat Accuses Saudis of Aiding Philippine Terrorists

Sept. 6 (EIRNS)—According to recently released Wikileak documents, former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Francis Ricciardone accused the Saudi envoy in Manila of interfering in cases against Saudi subjects who were under investigation for supporting terrorists in the southern province of Mindanao.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila, in a May 4, 2005 cable classified as secret and sent by Amb. Francis Ricciardone, expressed alarm at the "disturbing trend" involving Saudi envoy Mohammed Ameen Wali and senior Philippine police and immigration officials. Wali repeatedly met with government officials, arranging the release of at least three Saudis into his custody for deportation, ending the investigation into their terrorist connections. In one case, Ricciardone said, a Saudi named Talhi "had admitted to giving $8,000 to Cotabato (a city in Mindanao) Mayor Muslimin Sema, whose meetings with suspected terrorist financiers caused us to suspend a USAID road project." Saudi envoy Wali then met with the Philippine Immigration Commissioner, and Talhi was released.

Ricciardone said in one leaked cable that the Saudis' public pronouncements against terrorism "are contradicted by a developing pattern of effective Saudi Embassy influence on GRP [Government of Philippines] officials to release suspected [terrorist] financiers." He added that the Saudis had "powerful access and influence with senior [Philippine] law enforcement officials, undoubtedly stemming from the important role the remittances of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia play in keeping the weak Philippine economy afloat." There are about 1 million Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia.

Ricciardone reported that he told the Philippine Foreign Minister that "there have been no discernible Saudi efforts to guard against private Saudi funding to extremist Islamic groups here."

The current head of the renegade faction of the MILF, Ameril Umbra Kato, who is refusing to participate in peace talks with the government, was educated in Saudi Arabia.

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