VIF Information Alerts - 5 Feb 2018

With Sri Lankan port acquisition, China adds another 'pearl' to its 'string'
Published : CNN

05 Feb 2018

China's official licensing of the port in December last year gives it yet another point of access over a key shipping route, and the prospect of providing it with a sizeable presence in India's immediate backyard and traditional sphere of influence, bringing China closer to India's shores than New Delhi might like.

Moreover, Sri Lanka's decision to sign a 99-year lease with a Chinese state-owned company for the Hambantota port to service some of the billions it owes to Beijing has some observers concerned other developing nations doing business with China as part of China's One Belt One Road initiative might fall into similar financial straits. A trap, they warn, that may well have them owing more than just money to Beijing. Click here to read...

China transforming its economy to high-quality development
Published : Shine

05 Feb 2018

After decades of speedy advances, China is shifting its economic focus to high-quality development, with “developing a modernized economy” high on the agenda. Now an economic catchphrase, the idea provides a blueprint for the world’s second largest economy during the next five years and beyond. Click here to read...

China’s tough cyber rules raise risk of infiltration, US business group says
Published : South China Morning Post

05 Feb 2018

A leading US business group has urged Beijing to loosen limits on data flow and storage that raise the risk of security breaches for foreign companies. The call from the US-China Business Council is part of a series of detailed recommendations to the Chinese government in response to its controversial cybersecurity law, which came into effect in June. Click here to read...

China, the Vatican and a controversial deal
Published : BBC

04 Feb 2018

An agreement could be signed in a few months, said a senior Vatican source. If reached, it would be a breakthrough in relations for both parties. But what exactly is in the pipeline and what would it mean for the country's 10 million Catholics? Click here to read...

Sri Lanka Eyeing Longer Talks With China on Free Trade Agreement
Published : U.S News

04 Feb 2018

Sri Lanka wants a longer-time period to negotiate a free trade agreement with China as it is concerned about the economic impact of a rushed deal on their small country, the Sri Lankan ambassador said on Sunday. There has been rising concern in the South Asian nation about Chinese investment, a key part of Beijing's Belt and Road initiative to create a modern-day Silk Road across Asia. Click here to read...

Maldives in chaos as government accuses supreme court of trying to impeach president
Published : The Guardian

05 Feb 2018

The Maldives’ attorney general has warned the country’s supreme court that a move to unseat the president would be unconstitutional, amid a political crisis that has left the government in chaos since late last week.

The attorney general, Mohamed Anil, said at a news conference that he had heard “rumours that the supreme court is going to order the impeachment” of president Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Click here to read...

UN: Rohingya crisis could endanger regional security
Published : The Washington Post

04 Feb 2018

The U.N.’s human rights chief has warned that Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has the potential to spark regional conflict. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein reiterated while in Indonesia on Monday that acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing may have occurred in the campaign of violence against Rohingya that sparked an exodus of nearly 1 million people to neighboring Bangladesh.

“Myanmar faces a very serious crisis with a potentially severe impact on the security of the region,” Zaid said in a speech to a rights conference at Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Click here to read...

Chabahar Port lures Afghan traffic away from Karachi
Published : Asia Times

02 Feb 2018

Afghanistan has shifted 80% of its cargo traffic from Pakistan’s Karachi seaport to Iran’s Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports. The move comes two months after Chabahar, barely 100 kilometers from Pakistan’s Gwadar port, was inaugurated. The shift, prompted in part by a new trade tariff imposed by Islamabad, is expected to greatly reduce Pakistan’s role in the transit of Afghan goods. Click here to read...

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