Friday, July 3, 2015

Where Is China's Silk Road Actually Going?

Where Is China's Silk Road Actually Going?
At the Boao Forum, China provided the clearest overview yet of its ambitious Silk Road plans.

By Shannon Tiezzi

March 30, 2015

The Boao Forum for Asia, an annual economic dialogue held in China’s Hainan Province, was an especially high-profile meeting this year; Chinese President Xi Jinping himself delivered the keynote address. The reason for the special emphasis was clear: Beijing selected the Boao Forum as the venue to deliver the first in-depth explanation of China’s vision for the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, collectively known as the “Belt and Road.”

During the Boao Forum, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in conjunction with China’s Foreign Ministry and Commerce Ministry, issued an action plan for the Belt and Road. Xinhua provided an English-language translation of the document. Beijing is not shy about its ambitions for the project — “The plan is expected to change the world political and economic landscape through development of countries along the routes, most of which are eager for fresh growth,” Xinhua wrote. Beijing hopes that annual trade volume between China and “Belt and Road” countries will “surpass 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars in a decade or so,” Xi said.

The plan is geographically ambitious as well, envisioning the Belt and Road as encompassing Asia, Africa, and Europe and their near seas. The land route “focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe,” the document noted. The Silk Road is envisioned as “a new Eurasian Land Bridge” created by transportation routes, with “core cites” as links in the chain. There were less details on the maritime route, though the plan noted there would be two legs: one linking China to the Indian Ocean via the South China Sea and the other traveling through the South China Sea to the South Pacific. There was no list of concrete projects associated with the Belt and Road, but China held up the $23 billion worth of deals just signed with Kazakhstan as a model for other countries.

The document laid out the basic goals of the Belt and Road:
“It is aimed at promoting orderly and free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets; encouraging the countries along the Belt and Road to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out broader and more in-depth regional cooperation of higher standards; and jointly creating an open, inclusive and balanced regional economic cooperation architecture that benefits all.”
The Belt and Road are often understood primarily as infrastructure projects. Indeed, that will be the main focus in the early stages, as Chinese leaders have repeatedly spoken of infrastructure as a “bottleneck” preventing further economic cooperation. But there’s more to the Belt and Road than simply the construction of roads, railways, and ports. Even on the infrastructure front, China’s vision to “form an infrastructure network connecting all sub-regions in Asia, and between Asia, Europe and Africa” includes energy and communications infrastructure as well an transportation.

6.4-magnitude earthquake in China's Xinjiang: USGS

6.4-magnitude earthquake in China's Xinjiang: USGS

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck China's far western region of Xinjiang, about 164km northwest of the city of Hotan. 

POSTED: 03 Jul 2015 09:57 UPDATED: 03 Jul 2015 12:46

The epicentre was in Pishan county, 164km northwest of the city of Hotan and 131km southeast of Shache, known as Yarkand in Uighur, the language of the local mainly Muslim minority.

It was 20km deep according to USGS, which initially gave the magnitude as 6.1. A series of aftershocks followed with the strongest measuring 4.8, it said.

The area is on the edge of the Taklamakan desert, but the China Earthquake Administration said three people had died in Pishan, which has a population of 258,000, mainly Uighurs.

Li Hua, a worker at a state-owned farm in Pishan, told the official news agency Xinhua that he felt the quake strongly, with his fourth-floor apartment shaking for about a minute. "I'm feeling dizzy," the report cited Li as saying.

The China Earthquake Network Centre gave the magnitude as 6.5. China is regularly hit by earthquakes, particularly in its southwestern provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan.

Neighbouring Nepal, on the other side of the Himalayas, was hit by a devastating tremor in April which killed more than 8,800 people.

In May 2008, a 7.9-magnitude quake rocked Sichuan, killing more than 80,000 people and flattening swathes of the province in China's worst earthquake for more than three decades.

Last October, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a shallow 6.0-magnitude tremor hit Yunnan province, close to China's borders with Myanmar and Laos.

And last August, a 6.1-magnitude quake struck Yunnan, killing more than 600 people.

- AFP/rw

Xinjiang aims to become regional financial hub on Silk Road economic belt

Xinjiang aims to become regional financial hub on Silk Road economic belt

Xinhua Finance 2014-12-15 16:36share

URUMQI, Dec.15 (Xinhua Finance) -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region aims to become a regional financial center on the Silk Road economic belt, said Guo Hongchuan, vice-director of local financial affair office.

The official said last Thursday at a meeting that local authorities will make plans for related developments when it is appropriate, proposing that Xinjiang could open financial service sector fully to private investors and foreign-funded institutions. 

The Silk Road economic belt, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Central Asia in September 2013, eyes the cultural revival of the Silk Road, which historically linked China with Central Asia and Europe, as a way of developing political and economic ties among countries along the Road. Xinjiang is home to China's western-most section of the Eurasian Land Bridge, a transcontinental rail route connecting east Asia and west Europe.

The region connects to Pakistan, Mongolia, Russia, India and four other central Asian countries with a borderline extending 5,600 km in length, giving it easy access to markets in the Eurasian heartland.

Massive Gold Mine Discovered in China's Xinjiang Province

New discovery in China's Xinjiang province could have up to 200 tonnes of gold (Reuters)

Massive Gold Mine Discovered in China's Xinjiang Province
Nigel Wilson

By Nigel Wilson

July 31, 2014 10:27 BST 18 5

Geologists have discovered a massive gold mine in China's restive Xinjiang province, according to state news agency Xinhau.

The new find, close to the border with Kyrgzstan, has proven gold reserves of 127 tonnes, Xinhua said. If the estimates are correct, the reserves could be worth around 40 billion yuan ($6.5bn, £3.8bn, €4.8bn.)

It the biggest gold mine discovered in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to date.

Prospectors have explored Xinjiang for more than two decades, finding 21 gold ore belts in that time.

The Xinjiang Geology and Mineral Exploration Bureau's Cui Hongbin said 127 tonnes of gold reserves had been reported by June, as cited by Xinhua. The mine could potentially have a capacity of 200 tonnes of gold, said Cui.

Xinjiang Tongyuan Mining Limited led the exploration effort, according to reports in the National Business Daily newspaper.

The South China Morning Post reported that no mining companies have yet made a deal to explore the newly discovered gold.

The discovery is a rare success story in the exploration sector that has suffered in recent years. The mining industry has suffered from the global financial crisis, with companies slashing exploration budgets for nonferrous minerals by 29% in 2013.

Xinjiang Disorder

Xinjiang recently suffered a deadly outbreak of violence, as dozens were killed or injured when an armed gang attacked a police station on Monday.

While information is hard to come by in the tightly censored region, reports suggest that the gang targeted police officers and Han Chinese settlers in a deadly knife attack. Other reports suggest the violence occurred when police cracked down on Uighur Muslims observing Ramadan.

Campaigners for Uighur rights have said China's policies towards the ethnic group in Xinjiang are repressive.

Xinjiang herdsman finds 17-pound gold nugget

Xinjiang herdsman finds 17-pound gold nugget


URUMQI, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- 

A herdsman in China's far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region found a 17-pound (7.85-kilogram) gold nugget that was "practically lying on bare ground".

The Kazak herdsman, Berek Sawut, from Qinghe County in Altay Prefecture made the extraordinary discovery around 5 p.m. last Friday. The estimated price for such an unexpected luck, assuming the nugget is 80 percent pure (Nuggets are usually 80 to 90 percent pure), is a whopping 1.6 million yuan (255,313 U.S. dollars) based on latest gold price.

Zhu Xinfeng, a local expert said the price of natural gold, considering its uniqueness, is often several times higher than that of standard gold.

The random-shaped gold nugget is about 23 centimeters long, 18 centimeters on its widest side and 8 centimeters at its thickest.

A gold nugget is a naturally produced irregular piece of gold, and is most frequently found through mining. The name Altay means gold in Mongolian. A 1.84-kg gold nugget was also found in Altay in 2010. Enditem
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