|Asia News Digest
First-Ever China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue
Sept. 27 (EIRNS)The first India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) took place in Beijing on Sep. 26. The strategic dialogue mechanism was established by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, during Wen's visit to India last year. India became the second nation with whom China has set up the SED. The United States is the first. India and China have also set up the India-China CEO's forum.
Implicitly, this pre-scheduled, bilateral SED presages the kind of summitry which could be rapidly in store under a strategic shift to a Great Pacific Alliance perspective of China, Russia, and the United States, once the U.S. is unleashed from its current London/Obama subjugation.
"The meeting achieved positive results," China's state-run news agency Xinhua quoted Premier Wen as saying. Wen said he hoped the two countries will continue to make efforts to give the dialogue a greater role in promoting bilateral relations and cooperation. "The goal of the dialogue is to further strengthen our mutual trust under the current situation and to expand our strategic partnership of cooperation," Wen said.
China's delegation to the dialogue was led by the Zhang Ping, chief of its National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), while the Indian team was headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.
The two keynote addresses at the SED were followed by three working group meetings, on industrial policy and cooperation, which focused on industrial policies, infrastructure (for example, expanding railways networks), market access, and information technology; on energy conservation and environmental protection; on water resources, with the focus on water management, as well as water-saving technologies.
ASEAN Initiates Own Development Fund
Sept. 27 (EIRNS) Southeast Asian nations launched a nearly US$500-million fund last Saturday to build infrastructure by pooling their own resources,
Finance ministers of ASEAN said the fund would offer loans to build roads, railways, and other projects without direct foreign assistance. Ministers signed the pact in Washington, D.C., on the sidelines of the annual World Bank and IMF meetings.
The ASEAN Infrastructure Fund will start with US$485.2 million and aims to finance six projects a year. By 2020, ASEAN hopes the fund will offer $4 billion directly in loans and that its total leverage will be worth more than $13 billion.
Malaysia is the biggest contributor, with Indonesia second. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $150 million and eventually offer 70% of financing for the fund.
ASEAN officials said China, Japan, and South Korea had voiced interest in taking part in the initiative, but added that the region has decided to keep it internal for now. "Our position is that, at the initial stage, it should be in ASEAN," said Malaysian Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.
Chinese Officials and Bankers Say 'No' to More Euro Bailouts
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)Speaking at the IMF meeting Sept. 24, People's Bank of China chief Zhao Xiaochuan said it's "too early" to determine how emerging economies, including China, can further help the eurozone out of the sovereign debt crisis.
More directly, Gao Xiqing, vice chairman of China Investment Corp. (the Chinese "sovereign fund") said that the national sovereign wealth fund can't be a "savior" of other countries. "We have our own policies and we have our own problems," he said during the IMF meeting.
Privately, some banking leaders are even more blunt. An Asian economist called several of his Chinese banking associates to brief them on the failure of the IMF meeting and the certainty of near-term defaults and financial chaos. He told EIR that the universal response of the Chinese he is in touch with was rage at the fact that they had been swindled into giving the modest sums already expended to buy sovereign debt in Europe, and that there was no doubt that there would be no more handouts to those who cheated them.
Malaysia and Indonesia Stay with Nuclear
Sept. 29 (EIRNS)Malaysia stated its firm intention to proceed with its plans for functioning nuclear power facilities within ten years, in addressing the nuclear conference at the UN in New York.
Malaysian Minister for Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman told the UN: "For Malaysia, nuclear energy development is one of the primary projects embarked by the Government under its Economic Transformation Programme. The first nuclear power plant is envisioned to be commissioned in the year 2021, followed by the second in 2022.... Our focus is on the development of a comprehensive nuclear programme, including its legal and regulatory frameworks as well as an assessment of public opinion."
Indonesia is also moving ahead. Bangka Belitung Governor Eko Maulana Ali in June 2011, following the Fukushima crisis, insisted that the construction of nuclear power plants in Bangka continue as part of efforts to meet national electricity needs. He hoped the power plants could be established by 2025. The nuclear power plants will eventually supply 40 percent of electricity needs in Sumatra, Java, and Bali.
On March 17, Adiwardojo, the head of nuclear energy development at Indonesia's National Nuclear Energy Agency, said that concerns about a disaster like that of Japan's were misplaced, because any plants Indonesia would use would have technology far more advanced than that of the four-decade-old reactors at the Fukushima plant in Japan.