2017年06月04日

GoogleとUberとの間の諍いの背後に何があるのか。 自動運転車の将来の争い

What’s behind the conflict between Google and Uber
A battle over the future of self-driving cars
May 7th 2017by A.E.S. | SAN FRANCISCO

GoogleとUberとの間の諍いの背後に何があるのか。
自動運転車の将来の争い

Travelling in self-driving cars will, eventually, be a common occurrence in cities. The question is when. But a recent clash between Uber, the ride-hailing giant, and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has cast some doubts on the future of self-driving technology and which company will profit from it. Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous car unit, has sued Uber for appropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement. The result of the lawsuit could have big implications both for companies and consumers. What is behind the dispute, and which firm is likely to win out? 

autonomous:自律走行車
infringement:侵害



The problem can be summed up in one four-letter word: Otto. Last August Uber announced it had acquired a seven-month-old startup that specialised in autonomous lorries, called Otto, for around $680m. The young startup was co-founded by Anthony Levandowski, a veteran of Alphabet’s self-driving car efforts. According to Waymo’s lawsuit, which was filed in February, before abruptly resigning from Alphabet and founding Otto, Mr Levandowski stole around 14,000 proprietary documents, which has helped Uber replicate Waymo’s lidar technology. Lidar users lasers to scan surrounding objects and is employed in self-driving cars. Uber denies the allegations, says its lidar system is different than Waymo’s and suggests that Waymo is using this lawsuit to try to thwart the innovation and business of a rival. 

lidar:ライダー レーザー光を使ったレーダーで、気象観測などに用いられる。light detection and ranging(レーザー光による検知と測距)の略
thwart:阻止する

Court battles, like divorces, rarely end with either party looking good. But in this instance Uber stands to lose the most. The conflict reinforces Uber’s reputation as a rough-and-tumble startup with a culture of winning at all costs. Mr Levandowski was in touch with Uber and lined up a potential acquisition before he even left Waymo, according to Waymo’s allegations, and Otto was acting merely as a shell company to funnel talent and intellectual property to Uber. Both companies’ programmes to develop autonomous technology will be affected by the outcome of this lawsuit, which could go to trial in October. 

reinforces:より強固にする
tumble:転がるように動く
funnel:じょうごに通すように流す

Alphabet, which has been working on autonomous cars since 2009 and was a leader in the field, has recently found itself in fierce competition with other companies. If it wins the lawsuit, it could slow down Uber’s progress. The lawsuit has already hurt Uber’s ability to recruit top talent in autonomous cars, because the future of which technology it will use is in doubt. Waymo has asked the judge for an injunction, which would bar Uber from using lidar technology until the case is resolved. The judge is expected to make a decision on whether to grant an injunction soon. 

injunction:差し止め命令

But while a lot of attention will be paid to which company will win out in the lawsuit, it is also worth asking what this means for consumers. The arrival of reliable self-driving cars could herald a safer era for people, with fewer accidents and newly found time to accomplish things during commutes that were previously spent staring at the road. Having more companies than Waymo work toward that future will bring about innovation and speed up the pace of progress. Whatever the result, ideally it will be delivered quickly so everyone can get back to work. 

staring:じっと視る

自動運転車の技術をUberがGoogleから盗んだということで訴訟が起こっている。いつからこの自動運転車が市場に出てくるかだが、今年の10月のはその訴訟の結論が出るだろう。こうした技術の競争が激しくなってきている。Googleはこの技術を2009年から開発しているので、その草分けだ。

月曜日。今日は朝会がある。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 20:57コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

2017年06月03日

マクロンの妻は彼の選挙では縁の下の力持ちだ。

Macron’s wife is the power behind his campaign
MAY 6, 2017 by: Harriet Agnew in Paris  FT

マクロンの妻は彼の選挙では縁の下の力持ちだ。

Emmanuel Macron marked his win in the first round of the French presidential election two weeks ago with a flourish of show business unusual in French politics — he called his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, up to the stage beside him. They embraced and kissed. “Without her, I wouldn’t be me,” he declared. 

flourish:華やかさ



Throughout Mr Macron’s remarkable rise to presidential favourite, his relationship with his wife — which started when he was a schoolboy and she was a teacher — has captivated France and helped him to raise his profile. 

favourite:有力候補
captivated:の心を奪う

“She is my best friend,” Mr Macron told Vanity Fair this month.
Ms Trogneux, 24 years older than her husband, says she is “president of his fan club”.
If Mr Macron wins on Sunday against Marine Le Pen he plans to appoint his wife to an official role, telling supporters last month: “If I’m elected — no, sorry, when we are elected — she will be there, with a role and place.” 

No predecessor has ever done something similar, and details of what this role might look like are yet to emerge. It would represent the first time there has been an official “First Lady of France”. “She’s a very positive person, incredibly ambitious for Emmanuel and very involved in what he’s doing,” says Caroline Derrien, co-author of a recent book on the couple, Les Macron. “She’s one of the only ones who dares to criticise him.” 

emerge:明らかになる
ambitious:野心的な
only ones:ほんの数人

A formal role for Ms Trogneux would also build on years in which the public has been increasingly fascinated with the personal lives of their presidents. During Francois Mitterrand’s two terms in the Elysee Palace, he managed to keep details of his secret second family out of the public eye. But since then any expectation that France’s politicians have a right to privacy has all but disappeared — while politicians have also become more willing to offer revealing glimpses of their personal lives when it has suited them politically. 

fascinated:興味をそそられる
all but:ほとんど



This probably reached a peak in 2008 when a President Nicolas Sarkozy told 300 journalists at the Elysee Palace that he was in a serious relationship with singer Carla Bruni. His successor Francois Hollande tried to be more discreet — only to be photographed sneaking off for late-night dalliances on the back of a scooter. 

discreet:慎重な・控えめな
sneaking:こそこそする
dalliances:恋の戯れ

At the age of 20 Ms Trogneux had married Andre-Louis Auziere, who later became a banker, and had a son and two daughters (one of whom works on Mr Macron’s campaign). Ms Trogneux was teaching French and Latin at a Jesuit high school in Amiens, when she became close to the then 15-year-old Mr Macron at an after-school drama workshop. “She was a really good teacher,” recalls one of Ms Trogneux’s later students. “She helped everyone and she understood how to motivate us to improve our skills.” 




Her initials earned her the affectionate nickname among the students of “BAM” (Brigitte Auziere-Macron). Ms Trogneux fought her feelings; Mr Macron’s parents sent him to Paris to finish his studies and hoped he would forget Brigitte. But the relationship endured as he progressed from the prestigious Ecole nationale d'administration — a classic training ground for the French political elite — to a stint at investment bank Rothschild before entering the socialist administration. 

affectionate:愛情のこもった
prestigious:名門の
stint:努め

Defying opposition from their respective families, the couple turned them around to accept the relationship. Ms Trogneux divorced her husband in 2006 and married Mr Macron the following year in the smart northern beach resort of Le Touquet. Mr Macron’s seven grandchildren apparently refer to him as “Daddy.” 
The age gap between the Macrons is the same as between Donald and Melania Trump. But perhaps because the Macrons’ marriage breaks the cliche of older men and younger women it has been repeatedly caricatured. 

Defying:公然と反抗する
cliche:言い古された表現
caricatured:風刺的に描く

One photograph circulating on social media includes an image of a young blonde woman on the beach holding the hand of a toddler in a nappy, with the caption “April 1980: the Macrons’ first holiday in St Tropez.” In the televised presidential debate this week Ms Le Pen told Mr Macron: “Don’t play games with me. We do not have a teacher — student relationship here.” 

nappy:おむつ

Mr Macron also believes the age gap has made him the target of rumours of homosexuality, which he said were an example of the “rampant homophobia” in French society as well as the “rampant misogyny” against older women. 

rampant:猛威を振るう
misogyny:女嫌い

But in some ways it has suited Mr Macron to show that his determination to woo Ms Trogneux (“At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me: ‘Whatever you do, I will marry you!’” she told Paris Match last year) has matched his will to reach the Elysee Palace. Anne Fulda, a biographer of Mr Macron, told the BBC: “He wants to give the idea that, if he was able to seduce a woman 24 years his senior and a mother of three children, in a small provincial town, without opprobrium and mockery, he can conquer France in the same way.” 

opprobrium:公然たる非難
mockery:あざけり

マクロンと彼の妻ブリジットの関係の話だ。20歳以上も離れた奥さんとの関係を17歳の時から何年も維持してきたようだ。それだけの執念があるのであれば、フランスの政治もうまく収まるのかもしれない。彼の方向性に間違いがなければ。トランプのビジョンはまともだが、アクションがひどい。態度もひどい。マクロンはどうだろうか。

日曜日。慰安婦の本は少しお休みで、次は民主主義の本にした。きっと誰も読まないだろうが、書くことにした。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 20:50コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

ロシアは北朝鮮に対して好機を掴んでいる。 ロシアは北朝鮮と比較的短い国境に接しているが、その歴史は長く、経済的にも財務的にもその結びつきを強めている。(3)

When China recently threatened to cut off fuel exports to North Korea if it conducted its sixth nuclear weapons test, Russia hinted it could replace at least some of that supply. Most Russian fuel destined for North Korea ships from Siberian firms through China. On occasion, Russia has sent fuel directly from Vladivostok to Rajin. The value of Russian fuel exports to North Korea reportedly dropped from $18 million in 2015 to just more than $1 million last year. However, NK Pro, a North Korea watchdog agency, claims there was no decrease in the number of fuel tankers traveling between Russia and North Korea last year, leading to the possibility that Moscow underreported the amount. Future energy cooperation could include a natural gas pipeline project and electricity exports from Russia to North Korea. 

hinted:ほのめかす
underreported:過小に報告する

North Korea relies on the income from its coal exports, which were recently targeted by a United Nations ban. However, exports of foreign coal through North Korean transit points are allowed. In 2013 and 2014, a subsidiary of Russian mining conglomerate Evraz delivered more than 170,000 tons of coal to North Korea for export, and Severstal, another big mining firm, added to the total in 2015 when the port at Rajin began to expand. The U.N. ban will add the opportunity for Russia to export North Korean coal under its flag if it chooses. 

One of the most successful ways that the two countries have expanded their cooperation is through employing temporary North Korean workers in Russia. Nearly 50,000 North Koreans were granted Russian work permits in 2015, up 27 percent from the previous year. The North Koreans have helped fill jobs in Russia's Far East, where labor shortages have persisted despite numerous campaigns aimed at persuading Russians to migrate to the region. In April, the Russian parliament passed a bill allowing foreign workers from a handful of countries (including North Korea) to travel visa-free to Vladivostok. Russia estimates that North Korea receives $170 million in remittances from its workers in Russia, and in March, the two countries agreed to expand labor immigration. 

All Is Not Rosy
Although Pyongyang and Moscow are moving toward closer alignment and Russia is building a foundation that will allow it to help ease the pressure on North Korea, Moscow in the past has acted cautiously when it comes to its small, eastern neighbor. As with the rest of the world, North Korea's nuclear proliferation concerns Russia, particularly since the North's nuclear weapons test site sits just 200 miles from Vladivostok. Moreover, Russia, which is tied to nuclear weapons reduction pacts with the United States, is increasingly preoccupied with nuclear proliferation around the world. 

preoccupied:夢中にする

Russia, which has traditionally aligned its policies on North Korea with those of China, is loath to act outside of China's wishes. However, despite China's increasingly firm stance on North Korea, Russia's maneuvering to put itself in position to help ease the pressure on North Korea would not necessarily be a violation of Beijing's aims. Yet, if it props up North Korea too much, Russia's actions could be a lightning rod, drawing criticism away from China's failure to reel in the North. 

loath:することに気が進まない
props:テコ入れする
lightning rod:避雷針・非難を受ける人
drawing:中国の失敗の批判をかわす
reel:魚をリールでたぐり寄せる

Still, Russia will keep its options open as it deals with problems stemming from accusations of meddling in Western elections and media, its role in the Syria and Ukraine conflicts, and increasing domestic dissatisfaction. Its potential influence on the North Korean situation could give it limited leverage in negotiations over those other areas. Though Russia alone cannot solve the North Korean problem, it could move the dial just enough to either play spoiler or ally to any efforts by the West to solve it. 

options:決定を保留する
stemming:に起因する
meddling:干渉
move the dial:方向を変える
spoiler:妨害する側

ロシアは中国が北朝鮮に制裁しているのを横目で見て、自分が北朝鮮への支援をすることで、北朝鮮との関係を築こうとしている。表面上は貿易量が減っているのだが、実際はそうではないようだ。ただ、ロシアも自分だけではこの北朝鮮の核問題を解決することは出来ないので、西側の動きを見守ってどう対応するのかは躊躇している。

ロシアはしたたかに、米中の漁父の利を得ようとしている。制裁に協力していいるようだが、していない。プーチンらしい。ただ、ロシアも北朝鮮の核の脅威を感じている。こうしたプーチンの動きに対してトランプはそうした彼の策に対抗した策を講じることができるのだろうか?

土曜日。今日は海野塾がある。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 07:01コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

2017年06月01日

ロシアは北朝鮮に対して好機を掴んでいる。 ロシアは北朝鮮と比較的短い国境に接しているが、その歴史は長く、経済的にも財務的にもその結びつきを強めている。(2)

Russia Smells Opportunity
Rhetorically, Russia and North Korea have long considered rekindling ties in several areas, and now the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West has created a favorable environment for this to happen. Over the past few years, Russia has increased its involvement in several strategic areas for North Korea, which could position Moscow as a minor, but crucial, partner for Pyongyang. 

Rhetorically:美辞麗句で飾って
rekindling:再び燃え立たせる
breakdown:破綻

In 2014, Moscow officially settled North Korea's Soviet-era debt of $11 billion, writing off 90 percent of it and allowing North Korea to pay the rest over 20 years without interest. That same year, North Korea granted Russian business executives long-term multiple-entry visas for the first time. The next year, a business council was set up between the countries. Russia's direct trade to North Korea remains limited, at about $100 million of North Korea's total $7.6 billion in foreign trade. However, those figures are conservative, given one-third of China's exports to North Korea are goods, particularly fuel, that originated in Russia. In addition, Russia has provided millions of dollars worth of food aid to North Korea in recent years, including nearly half of the country's grain imports. 

中国からの燃料の輸出の3分の一はもともとはロシアからだ。また、穀物の輸入の半分はロシアからの無償供与のようだ。

In Russia's biggest project with North Korea, it is building transportation infrastructure on both sides of the border to increase future trade. In 2013, Russia completed a renovation of the only rail line directly connecting the countries, adding to it bridges, tunnels and modern equipment. 

Because there are no cross-border roads between the countries, plans to further upgrade the rail line and to create a universal freight terminal at the North Korean port of Rajin were accelerated in 2014. Russian firms are bankrolling the expansion of the port, which handled 100,000 tons of Russian coal exported through North Korea in 2014. In 2015, Russian Railways planned to move 1.5 million of coal through the port. Russia's Center for Korean Studies estimates that if South Korea used that transit route, it could save approximately 15 percent in coal import costs. But the elevated tensions on the peninsula have shelved plans for the rail line to be expanded to South Korea. In addition, a proposal for expanding a Russian natural gas pipeline running through North Korea to the South has also been put on hold. In January, Russian Railways proposed an even greater expansion of the rail lines connecting Rajin to Russia, including an agreement that would allow North Korean workers to receive training in Russian technical expertise. 

bankrolling:資金援助をする

Beyond rail, Russia plans to start regular cargo and passenger ferry service between Rajin and Vladivostok on May 8. The giant North Korean ferry Man Gyong Bong-92, which will be used on the route, previously sailed between North Korea and Japan, but Tokyo recently halted that service. When it ran to Japan, the ferry reportedly was used to spirit cash out of North Korea and skirt sanctions. In spite of Japan's cutoff, North Koreans wanting to scrub financial transactions would now be able to either transit on the ferry through Russia to Japan or deal with Russian banks directly. 

spirit cash:密かに持ち出す
skirt :回避する
scrub:ゴシゴシ洗う

A Financial Conduit
Financial ties between Russia and North Korea have changed in recent years. In 2014, Russia and North Korea agreed to denominate all bank transfers in rubles, as sanctions on both countries make it difficult to move money. But in mid-2016, responding to Western pressure, Russia's central bank blocked all financial transfers from North Korea, a policy it is already reconsidering. In recent years, Russia has created a financial transaction system that is increasingly independent from the Western-dominated SWIFT system. Technical agreements are in place to restore financial transactions between North Korea and Russia, though the Kremlin would need to grant permission to resume moving money, which can now be done electronically outside of Western notice. 

Conduit:運び屋・ルート
denominate:表示される
resume:再開する

ロシアは北朝鮮にかねてからの債務を免除したり、羅津を拠点とした交易の整備をしたりしている。万景峰号が以前は日本と行き来して、お金を移動させていたが、それができなくなったので、今度はロシアを経由してお金を移動させようとしている。また、ロシアは北朝鮮に対しての制裁も行っているが、それを隠すために金融決済の方法を変えようとしている。

ようするに、ロシアは北朝鮮への制裁を逆手にとって、北朝鮮を抱き込もうとしている。小出しではなく、ダイナミックに北朝鮮を懐柔しようとしている。中国との関係を意識しているからだ。

金曜日。今日は細井さんとの会食がある。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 22:37コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

ロシアは北朝鮮に対して好機を掴んでいる。 ロシアは北朝鮮と比較的短い国境に接しているが、その歴史は長く、経済的にも財務的にもその結びつきを強めている。

Russia Seizes an Opportunity in North Korea
Russia, which shares a relatively short border but a long history with North Korea, is strengthening its economic and financial ties with its neighbor. 
May 5, 2017 Stratfor

ロシアは北朝鮮に対して好機を掴んでいる。
ロシアは北朝鮮と比較的短い国境に接しているが、その歴史は長く、経済的にも財務的にもその結びつきを強めている。

Moscow will continue to expand its economic and financial cooperation with North Korea, which in recent years has included transportation networks, fuel supplies and employment. Russia, which sees its growing ties with North Korea as another way to build leverage it can use in negotiations with the West, will not wield that influence just yet. While it cannot replace China as North Korea’s primary partner, Russia is developing the capacity to play spoiler to many U.S. plans to increase pressure on North Korea. 

wield:影響力を行使する
spoiler:じゃまをする

As North Korea's relationship with China grows more difficult, Russia has increased its focus on the Korean Peninsula, ready to forge stronger ties with its isolated neighbor. Beijing is considering increasing pressure on North Korea to dial back its nuclear weapons program, and Russia stands ready to take advantage of the conflict. But though deepening its involvement with North Korea could equip the Kremlin with additional tools to use in its wider confrontation with the West, Russia could not hope to match Chinese influence in North Korea. Yet, Russia could still limit the pressure China is able to exert on North Korea. 

equip:身につけさせる
confrontation:対立
match:対等である

North Korea and Russia, which share a scant 17 kilometers (11 miles) of border, have a long history of close relations. After the post-World War II division of the Korean Peninsula by the Soviet Union and the United States, an attempt at reunification in the late 1940s failed, and the Koreas became a prime proxy battleground pitting the communist North against the U.S.-aligned South. The Soviets helped to build up the military forces and security services of the new North Korean government, ensuring its stability and forging a governing style that remains in force. Soviet-era military equipment is still in use in North Korea today. 

scant:わずか
aligned:連合した 
ensuring:保証する
remains in force:効力を持ち続ける

The cult of personality that surrounded Soviet leader Josef Stalin provided the model for the structure of North Korea's government, a model retained today under Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. That legacy, and the fact that its own leader, Vladimir Putin, enjoys similar popular power, is one reason the Kremlin continues to back the leadership in Pyongyang. 

cult of personality:個人崇拝

Along with ideological legacies, North Korea and the Soviet Union shared strong economic links. The Soviet Union was a key North Korean economic partner during the Cold War and accounted for nearly half of North Korea's foreign trade in the 1970s and 1980s. In addition, the Soviet Union provided trade, credit and technical assistance to North Korea. Joint projects between the two supplied North Korea with 70 percent of its electricity, 50 percent of its chemical fertilizers and 40 percent of the ferrous metals its economy used. And as part of its debt payment to Moscow, Pyongyang sent North Korean prisoners to work in Siberia. 

ferrous:鉄の

After the Soviet Union collapsed, Russian trade with North Korea crumbled, and all joint projects were halted. Moscow, caught in a firestorm of economic and financial issues in the 1990s, began to demand hard currency trade and the lines of credit the Soviets were able to extend to North Korea dried up. In the 25 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian trade shrank to 1 percent of North Korea's foreign trade. Into that breach stepped China, who accounts for 90 percent of North Korea's foreign trade. 

crumbled:崩れる
firestorm:火の嵐
breach:裂け目

When Putin came to power in 2000, he saw the strategic value of maintaining good relations with North Korea — as well as ways Russia could manipulate its position in the region to pressure the country. Just as China does not want to see North Korea's government destabilized, it is in Russia's interests to maintain North Korea as a buffer state between it and Western-allied South Korea and Japan. 

manipulate:操作する

Putin's government has criticized North Korea's nuclear weapons tests and ballistic missile programs. Russia participated in the six-party nuclear disarmament talks along with China, the United States, Japan and North and South Korea. In 2014, Russia joined in on levying sanctions — albeit limited — against North Korea under Western pressure, halting supplies of ships, helicopters and minerals in response to its continued nuclear tests. However, neither China nor Russia has cut their economic or military ties with North Korea or has hidden their violations of sanctions against the North. And both governments are aligned in opposing expanded sanctions on North Korea and seeking a military intervention or regime change there. 

aligned:連携する

After Japan and the West levied sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the Ukraine conflict and its annexation of Crimea, Russia's view of North Korea shifted. Russia began quietly laying the groundwork that would strengthen its ties to North Korea, thus increasing its global political leverage should it need it. Russia can never replace China's influence over North Korea, but it could interfere with measures employed by China, the United States or their allies to try to pressure Pyongyang. Moscow's evolving position has won praise from Pyongyang, whose Korean Central News Agency has named Russia as the country friendliest to North Korea, supplanting China. This show Pyongyang's interest in attracting increased Russian support at a time when Moscow needs as much political leverage as it can get. 

should it need it:北朝鮮がロシアを必要とするのであれば
interfere:干渉する
evolving :発展させる
supplanting:に取って代わる

アメリカがやっと中国を説得して、北朝鮮に制裁を駆け出した矢先に、ロシアが北朝鮮に食指を伸ばしてきた。ロシアはソ連当時、北朝鮮に対して経済政治において大きな大きな役割を果たしてきた。ソ連が崩壊してその余裕がなくなってしまったのだが、近年、中国と一緒に制裁をしてきているが、それは表向きだけの話だ。西側に対しての切り札として考えている。

今まで、ロシアが北朝鮮に関心をもているとは気が付かなかったが、たしかにそうかもしれない。プーチンはこの北朝鮮を手懐けておけば、西側との交渉に有利にことを運べる。そうした考えは中国も一緒だ。この北朝鮮問題は4カ国の問題になってきた。

木曜日。いよいよ6月だ。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 09:15コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

2017年05月31日

中国は外交政策での心に抱いてきたテーマに対しての抵抗に直面している。 絹の道は必ずしも彼らが思っているほど魅力的ではない。

China faces resistance to a cherished theme of its foreign policy
Silk routes are not always as appealing as they sound
May 4th 2017 | BEIJING

中国は外交政策での心に抱いてきたテーマに対しての抵抗に直面している。
絹の道は必ずしも彼らが思っているほど魅力的ではない。

cherished:心に抱く


ON APRIL 10th a freight train pulled out of Barking station in London carrying Scotch whisky, baby milk and engineering equipment. It arrived in Yiwu in eastern China (see map) nearly three weeks later, completing the second-longest round-trip train journey ever made (after Yiwu to Madrid and back, a record set in 2014). It lopped around a month off the time of a sea journey from Britain to China. 

freight:貨物列車
lopped:削減する

A day after the train’s departure, a less ballyhooed but potentially more significant event took place in the port of Kyaukphyu in Myanmar. Workers started transferring oil from a tanker into a new pipeline that runs from the Burmese port north to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province in south-western China. The pipeline bypasses the Malacca Strait, through which 80% of Chinese oil imports are shipped. Eventually, energy supplies to Chongqing, the largest city in the west of China, will no longer be vulnerable to political disruption in the strait. 

ballyhooed:大げさに宣伝する


Both events show that Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, a central feature of the Chinese president’s foreign policy, is establishing what generals like to call facts on the ground. By financing around $150bn of infrastructure spending a year in countries to China’s south and west (along the old Silk Road), Mr Xi hopes to create new markets for Chinese firms and new spheres of influence for his government. 

what generals like to call facts on the ground:地上において本当だと呼べるような普遍的事実

The president is preparing to host a lavish party in Beijing to celebrate the project—the Belt and Road Forum, as the event is known. On May 14th and 15th leaders from 28 or so countries will join the festivities, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Mr Xi will use the gathering to project his country’s self-confidence and his own as a global leader. But looks can deceive. In reality, Mr Xi faces a backlash against his project. At the forum, he will try to reassure his partners that he is not attempting to stuff their mouths with gold. 

lavish:派手な
self-confidence:自信
deceive:人を騙す
reassure:安心させる
stuff:詰め込む

Not so fast
The scheme is running into three linked problems. First, it is unclear what its priorities are, or who is running it. “We haven’t really come up with a specific goal,” says Zou Tongxuan of Beijing International Studies University. Every province has its own belt-and-road investment plan. So do hundreds of state-owned firms. The government’s strong backing has helped to get many projects up and running faster than might have happened otherwise (Mr Xi first began to talk about the idea only in 2013). But no one is in day-to-day charge, so thousands of financially dubious schemes have the imprimatur of a belt-and-road project. And the overweening behaviour of Chinese companies in some countries where they operate has stoked fears in some places of an over-mighty China. 

dubious:疑わしい
imprimatur:許可
overweening:思い上がった
stoked fear:不安を煽る

The different names given to the project reflect China’s struggle to make it sound palatable to foreigners. Mr Xi first talked about a “Silk Road economic belt”. That was uncontroversial, but to expand its geographical scope a new term was devised: Yidai Yilu, or One [land] Belt, One [maritime] Road. That sounded ugly in English and, officials realised, risked implying that it was all about a big Chinese plan: they wanted the venture to be seen as a co-operative one. So they came up with the anodyne-sounding belt-and-road translation (despite the unfortunate acronym it produces for the forum: BARF). 

palatable:心地よい
venture:投機
anodyne:当たり障りのない

A second problem is finding enough profitable projects to match the vaulting ambition of the scheme, which aims to create a Eurasian trading bloc rivalling the American-dominated transatlantic area. It is not certain, for example, how successful the London-Yiwu rail line will be, given that (though faster) it is more than twice as costly as shipping. The Chinese hope to export their expertise in building high-speed rail. But China’s speedy construction of thousands of kilometres of it at home depended on cheap labour and the power to evict anyone who got in the way. That may be hard to replicate. 

vaulting:高い野心を持った
evict:立ち退かせる
replicate:再現する

Belt-and-road projects are failing already. In Kara-Balta in Kyrgyzstan, Zhongda China Petrol, a state-owned company, built a big oil refinery—then found it could not buy enough crude oil to run it at more than 6% of capacity. The country’s deputy prime minister called the plant’s construction “ridiculous”; locals are protesting against its environmental impact. 

China hopes the belt and road will bring others into its orbit, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. But these countries are not exactly champions in the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business league. According to Tom Miller of Gavekal, a consultancy, the Chinese think they will lose 80% of their money in Pakistan, 50% in Myanmar and 30% in Central Asia. Perhaps they can afford this, but it would be a costly success. 

Third, locals in some countries are angry about what they view as China’s heavy-handedness. In parts of Asia, democratic politics have been challenging China’s commonly used approach to deal-making—cosying up to unsavoury regimes. This had begun before Mr Xi devised the belt-and-road scheme. In 2011 Myanmar suspended work on a vast Chinese-financed dam at Myitsone, to popular acclaim. In Sri Lanka, the government elected in 2015 has been engaged in endless wrangling with China over the building of a Chinese-invested port in the home town of the country’s autocratic former president. In January protests against China’s plans there turned violent. 

heavy-handedness:荒っぽい
cosying:機嫌を取る
unsavoury:不快な
acclaim:大衆の評価
wrangling:論争
autocratic:専制的な

Even in Pakistan, one of China’s closest friends in Asia, Mr Xi has been forced to abandon his usual mantra of “non-interference” in others’ internal affairs. Late last year China openly appealed to Pakistan’s opposition politicians not to resist construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of the belt that links Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, with Gwadar on the Indian Ocean. Pakistan deploys a force of around 10,000 soldiers to guard the corridor against militant attacks. 

appealed:要請する

The problem is partly one of scale: China is so vast that belt-and-road countries fear being overwhelmed by it. Loans from one bank, China Eximbank, for example, account for a third of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign debt. Yunnan is one of China’s poorer provinces. Yet its economy is still four times bigger than that of its more populous neighbour, Myanmar. Countries both long for and dread Chinese investment. 

dread:とても心配する

China is trying to change its ways. NGOs in South-East Asia say that Chinese firms, which had previously treated local critics with disdain, have started to take their concerns more seriously. Chinese banks are asking international institutions—sovereign-wealth funds, pension funds and so on—to join them in lending to belt-and-road projects, in the hope that this will help ensure higher standards. At the forthcoming forum, China is likely to emphasise links between the belt-and-road programme and other infrastructure projects that have been launched independently of it, such as a new transport network around Baku in Azerbaijan. The aim will be to show that Mr Xi’s project is not a threat. But this will be another minor adjustment of wording. The belt-and-road express has left the station. China is merely trying to improve the on-board service. 

disdain:を尊大に扱う

中国の一帯一路のプロジェクトは動き出したのだが、難問が山積みされている。パキスタンの高速道路の工事には1万人の兵士が工事の妨害を防ぐために配置されている。キルギスタンの石油精製プラントの建設では6%の需要しかない。鉄道で中国とEUをつなぐのはたしかに船より早いが2倍のコストがかかる。新規プロジェクトは山ほどあるが、そのリスクを含めると一体どうなるのか見当もつかない。

そこまでの壮大な計画を実行できるのは中国しかない。ここでも言っているように、発展途上国への投資は失敗することも多い。それでも中華帝国の再現の手段としての一帯一路のプロジェクトはAIIBと合わせてとんでもないことが起こりそうだ。トランプがAmerica Firstといっているうちに、中国が世界の覇権を取ってしまいそうだ。

水曜日。今日は塾がある。ではまた明日。

swingby_blog at 03:59コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 
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海野 恵一
1948年1月14日生

学歴:東京大学経済学部卒業

スウィングバイ株式会社
代表取締役社長

アクセンチュア株式会社代表取締役(2001-2002)
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