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China Reform Monitor - No. 1297

China, Morocco move toward military cooperation;
Beijing and Delhi jockey for position

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
September 5, 2017

August 1:

China and Bangladesh are finalizing loan deals on five projects valued at a combined $6.8 billion: the Padma Bridge Rail Link ($3.14 billion dollars); Expansion and Strengthening of Power System ($1.65 billion); Power Grid Network Strengthening Project ($1.32 billion); Installation of Single Point Mooring (SPM) double pipelines ($550 million), and phase III of the Bangladesh government’s National ICT Infra-Network, aka., Info-Sarker ($150 million). "[The] Padma rail link would facilitate train communications between Dhaka and southern region, power projects would help strengthen transmission and distribution capacity, Info-Sarkar Phase III would help shape over 4500 Union Information Service Centres as IT hubs generating employment, and SPM would help pump imported fuel directly from oil tankers to the depot,"
the Daily Star reports.

For the two power projects, which are worth $3 billion, Bangladesh will pay 15 percent of the costs, while China would provide 70 percent worth of commercial financing at 2.5 percent and the remaining 15 percent in soft loans. For Info-Sarkar and SPM, China will provide soft loans and Yuan-denominated buyers' credits with a two percent interest rate, a 20-year repayment period and a 5-year grace period. Based on the MoU signed last October, Dhaka expects a total of $21.5 billion from Beijing in financial assistance.

August 3:

Fifteen months after Moroccan King Mohammed VI's visit to China, Morocco's government has submitted a draft agreement to its parliament on military cooperation with China. The draft includes "the creation of a joint military commission, and a framework that would govern and regulate all the partnerships maintained between the Moroccan and Chinese armies,"
Yabiladi news reports. "China’s interest in Africa was furthermore proved through the inauguration of a Chinese naval base in Djibouti. China also aims to establish other bases in the Sahel. Morocco plays a primordial role when it comes to the Chinese strategy. The first step was made on May 12, 2016 which might lead in the future to establishment of a military partnership."

August 6:

According to an
editorial in the official Global Times, "South Korea has not played a constructive role in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, and its recklessness and foolishness in introducing Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is a microcosm of its unconstructive role. South Korea may ignore China's feelings on deploying 'THAAD' on the peninsula, and one can well imagine that it does not care what Pyongyang might think when it is helping the U.S. to flex its muscles on the peninsula. Seoul still often feels that it is innocent, but its understanding of the situation is so superficial and laughable."

August 8:

"Russia has been increasingly seen in the region as not an independent player, but as a country that is toeing the Chinese line. We do not have interests in Southeast Asia similar in scale to the partnership we have with China. The situation will not change until the ASEAN countries offer something great in exchange and until Russia finds serious interests there that would prompt it to adopt a more moderate stance," Alexander Gabuyev at the Carnegie Moscow Center
told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "North Korea’s export of coal, steel and seafood all depend on China, which controls 70 percent of the trade, so it is quite possible that seafood will appear in the Russian market under the label ‘Made in China,’" Konstantin Asmolov at the Russian Academy of Science's Far East Institute told Kommersant.

August 9:

Under State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, "Myanmar has tilted sharply towards China,"
India’s the Telegraph reports
. After her party - the National League of Democracy (NLD) - came to power in 2016, Suu Kyi visited China for bilateral meetings in August 2016 and in April 2017 and the following month attended the Belt and Road Conference. Suu Kyi has made resolving ethnic conflicts a priority, and last year began talks with several rebel groups with a history of Chinese support. China is supporting Suu Kyi’s efforts for a resolution and used its UN Security Council veto earlier this year to block a resolution on Myanmar's human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims. For its part, Myanmar has advanced billions worth of Chinese investments over the opposition of local communities, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors. China is now building a $7.3 billion seaport and an investment zone in Kyaupkyu, inked a deal to export 2000 buses to Yangon, and is poised to supply electricity to Myanmar.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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