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



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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 

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). 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 



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。


swingby_blog at 03:59コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 



Beijing's Bottom Line
That the United States has once again turned to China to solve its North Korean problem speaks to its lack of viable alternatives. But Beijing's choices for dealing with the pariah state are no less constrained. For decades, China has based its North Korea policy on several, often contradictory, goals: to ensure the existence of a pliable and stable buffer state on its doorstep; to keep the United States from expanding its security role in Northeast Asia; and to block the re-emergence of a unified peninsula. 

Bottom Line:容認できるギリギリの線
no less:たしかに

So, China's historical tolerance toward Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions is hardly surprising. From Beijing's perspective, the controversial program has been a necessary means of safeguarding the North Korean government's grip on power and preventing a security vacuum that might invite U.S. interference. But as the prospect of a nuclear North Korea has shifted from a distant possibility to an impending threat, China has had to come to terms with a number of new and uncomfortable realities. South Korea, Japan and possibly Taiwan are eager to build a regional ballistic missile defense system led by the United States, perhaps even someday seeking nuclear weapons programs of their own. Meanwhile, as China has found itself less able to restrain the recalcitrant government in Pyongyang, the threat of military conflict on its border — or negotiations with Washington that exclude Beijing — has grown. 

security vacuum:治安の不在

There is always the risk that exacerbating North Korea's economic problems would push Pyongyang away from its only ally — Beijing — and toward tactics of last resort. 

Faced with its own constraints and challenges, China will have to decide whether its long-standing strategy on North Korea is sustainable, and whether it is willing to accept another nuclear power in its backyard. Beijing is not without options; it could throw its full weight behind either Washington or Pyongyang, or do neither and preserve the status quo. But each path is riddled with potential pitfalls, and the time to choose one of them is running out. 


The Least-Bad Option
Finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korean problem continues to be China's best bet. Under ideal circumstances, Pyongyang would agree to suspend its nuclear program and join Beijing in bilateral or multilateral negotiations. China hasn't given up on this outcome just yet: It has repeatedly called for the resumption of stalled peace talks. But with North Korea showing no interest in trading away its nuclear program, and the United States refusing to engage in negotiations without it, the likelihood of Beijing striking its grand bargain is low at this point. 

best bet:最善の策
grand bargain:重要な取引

Other avenues toward North Korean denuclearization would present even greater perils than those China currently faces. Intense debates are underway within Chinese policy circles to determine Beijing's choices for addressing Pyongyang's nuclear program, giving rise to proposals from offering North Korea a security guarantee to supporting a decapitation strike against the government of Kim Jong Un. The former, a substantial reversal of Beijing's long-held policy of non-interference abroad, would not sway Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear project, while the latter would scarcely appeal to Beijing. Because ultimately, there is no guarantee that removing the obstinate leader would yield better results than simply leaving him in office, or that the United States would not seize the opportunity to extend its reach in China's neighborhood. 





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



Same Goal, Different Motives
It isn't clear precisely what actions the United States will take against North Korea (whether unilaterally or through the United Nations), or by extension, what it will demand China do. That said, those demands will likely fall into two broad categories: stricter enforcement of U.N. Security Council trade resolutions, and the prevention of cross-border financial transactions and illegal arms smuggling. 


No doubt, neither strategy will be easy to execute. For one, the U.N. resolutions banning imports of North Korean coal, copper, iron ore and fuel supplies make exceptions for "humanitarian purposes." Pyongyang has made liberal use of this loophole to skirt the sanctions and continue sending its commodities to countries such as Russia. For another, slapping secondary sanctions on China to ensure better compliance with sanctions regimes will likely have a minimal effect on the Chinese companies doing business with their North Korean counterparts, since they have little exposure to the U.S. financial system. The move, moreover, could risk backlash from Beijing if major Chinese banks are caught up in the sanctions net.

compliance :従うこと
caught up in the sanctions net:制裁の網に捕まってしまう。

China is North Korea's primary source of economic support, which means its participation in any sanctions against Pyongyang is critical to their success. Washington has long seen Beijing's lax enforcement of sanctions and exploitation of loopholes in previous sanctions regimes, as well as the access many Chinese banks and businesses maintain across the border, as acts of complicity in North Korean misdeeds.

China is North Korea's primary source of economic support, which means its participation in any sanctions against Pyongyang is critical to their success. Washington has long seen Beijing's lax enforcement of sanctions and exploitation of loopholes in previous sanctions regimes, as well as the access many Chinese banks and businesses maintain across the border, as acts of complicity in North Korean misdeeds.


Given its desire to avoid antagonizing the United States, China may well be willing to more closely enforce existing sanctions — and comply with new ones — anyway. Yet even then, Beijing will only cooperate to the extent that it does not jeopardize the North Korean economy's survival in the process. China would almost certainly view a complete cutoff in Pyongyang's access to oil, food or international aid as a bridge too far, and a measure that would fly in the face of Beijing's own imperative to maintain stable buffer states on its borders. This need explains why, despite China's rising frustration with North Korea over the past few years, trade between the two has continued. (Even under the recent ban on coal imports, Beijing's purchases of North Korean iron and other minerals have climbed sharply to compensate for the cutbacks.) 

too far:到底しない

One of the greatest challenges to adding sanctions against North Korea, then, will be the difference in Washington and Beijing's estimates of just how much pressure China can apply before North Korea collapses or lashes out. Of course, this also gives rise to a bigger question: Given the North Korean government's resilience, would new sanctions even be enough to persuade Pyongyang to set aside its nuclear program? Decades of sanctions have hiked up the costs of developing its arsenal, to be sure, but they haven't managed to halt or even slow its progress. There is also always the risk that exacerbating North Korea's economic problems would push Pyongyang away from its only ally — Beijing — and toward tactics of last resort. 





swingby_blog at 21:35コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 



Is China the Solution to the North Korean Problem?
Apr 25, 2017  Stratfor


As diplomacy breaks down on the Korean Peninsula, all eyes are fixed on a pair of events that stand to either worsen or ease the tension mounting between the United States and North Korea. On April 25, North Korea celebrated the 85th anniversary of its military's establishment, an occasion that has been accompanied by missile tests in the past and that now comes as expectations of a sixth nuclear test by Pyongyang rise. Then, three days after the North Korean military's birthday, the U.N. Security Council will convene to discuss the country's persistent march toward a demonstrable long-range nuclear weapons capability. And as the threat emanating from North Korea grows, Washington will be more and more likely to use the summit to call for heavier sanctions against its belligerent adversary. 


Based on the completed review of Washington's North Korea policy, the U.S. administration has no plan to respond to Pyongyang's next nuclear test with military might. But U.S. President Donald Trump has taken every opportunity to show that he still considers all options — including a military strike — to be on the table. 


This won't, however, do much to change North Korea's own calculations. Pyongyang no longer sees its nuclear weapons program as a chip to be bargained away for economic and security concessions from Washington. Instead, developing a credible nuclear deterrent has become a matter of national security, and a crucial one at that. North Korea will forge ahead with its nuclear program undeterred, bringing it one step closer to its final stage — and bringing the country closer to a clash with regional powers intent on stopping it. 


In this, at least, the United States and China have found a common goal. But as the two embattled administrations have discovered, the mutual need to rein in North Korea can be as much a divisive force as a uniting one. 

embattled :多くの問題をかかけた

Sanction, or Be Sanctioned
The United States has both dangled carrots and brandished sticks in trying to secure China's cooperation on North Korea. On one hand, Washington has begun to soften its tone on trade issues causing contention with Beijing in an apparent show of goodwill. On the other, the White House hasn't been shy about issuing a clear ultimatum: Work with us to press North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program or suffer the consequences when we act alone. (This would likely take the form of secondary sanctions against China or a buildup of missile defenses in the region, each of which would create headaches in Beijing.) Washington's message hasn't fallen on deaf ears; China has already taken clear steps to cut down on cross-border trade, particularly in coal, and limit financial transactions with its unruly neighbor. Beijing has vowed to ensure that oil supplies flowing into North Korea will dry up if Pyongyang conducts another nuclear test. 

contention :論争・勝てる見込み
on deaf ears:聞き流す

Despite their seeming alignment, though, the United States and China have widely diverging objectives on the Korean Peninsula. By putting pressure on Pyongyang, Beijing is seeking to preempt a unilateral intervention by Washington, boost the remote prospects of Chinese-led negotiations and hedge against future trade friction with the United States — but not to sever North Korea's economic lifelines. Washington, however, has made it clear that dialogue with Pyongyang will arise only if its purpose is to dismantle the North's nuclear program. To that end, the United States relies on China's economic leverage against North Korea as a primary means of altering Pyongyang's behavior. 

remote prospects:僅かな可能性

Washington's decision to enlist Beijing against its neighbor and ally makes a good deal of sense. After all, China is North Korea's primary source of economic support, which means its participation in any sanctions against Pyongyang is critical to their success. Washington has long seen Beijing's lax enforcement of sanctions and exploitation of loopholes in previous sanctions regimes, as well as the access many Chinese banks and businesses maintain across the border, as acts of complicity in North Korean misdeeds. 

good deal of sense:かなりうなずける




swingby_blog at 18:47コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 

ドナルド・トランプの最初の100日 大統領はアメリカを分割し統治しようとしてきた。

Donald Trump’s first 100 days
The president has sought to divide and conquer America
Apr 28th 2017by THE DATA TEAM


ON April 29th Donald Trump, America’s president, will mark his 100th day occupying the highest office in the land. This period is seen as a high-water mark for presidential power: the time in which presidents enjoy both popularity and momentum from campaigning to set the agenda for the next four years and to push through legislation in Congress. 

high-water mark:絶頂期

Measuring the performance of presidents is often tricky. But before he was elected Mr Trump helpfully issued a “100-day action plan to make America great again”. These 18 actions and ten congressional bills spelt out Mr Trump’s priorities for his presidency. They included construction of a wall on the Mexican border; suspending illegal immigration from “terror-prone countries”; and labelling China a currency manipulator. 


By this yardstick, progress has been slow. Although Mr Trump has now issued more than 30 executive orders, ten more than Barack Obama over the same period (see left-hand chart), efforts have not begun on 12 of the issues in his action plan. His presidency-defining health-care legislation and immigration bans have so far been thwarted by Congress and the judiciary, respectively. 


That has left Mr Trump frustrated, but it might not deter his supporters. A poll conducted by YouGov for The Economist on April 22nd asked 1,500 Americans whether their president had exceeded their expectations or not. Of those who identified as Republican or Democrat, 30% thought that Mr Trump had met their expectations. Yet the remainder were sharply divided: 41% of Democrats thought the president had performed “much worse” than expected; 28% of Republicans thought he had performed “much better”. 


These sentiments are reflected in Mr Trump’s approval ratings, which are the lowest of any post-war president. But the country is divided by party loyalties: 88% of Republicans approve of the president, while 82% of Democrats disapprove. Mr Obama, by contrast, was far less divisive. Mr Trump was a polarising figure on the campaign trail; he is no different in office. 


トランプの100日は共和党の支持が88%もある。民主党からは82%が不支持になっている。今までは何らの成果も出ていないが、期待されている。かれのmake America great againが受けている。ビジョンは素晴らしい。establishmentから大衆へ富を分けようというメッセージが国民に受けている。目標が大きいのでそう簡単には成果は出ない。ただ、アクションプランがまずい。政治を知らないからだろう。国民の受けは良いが、彼のアクションは実現できないものも多い。


swingby_blog at 08:14コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 


小型の飛ぶ「車」がもうじき現実になる。 ドイツの企業がテストを完了した。ウーバーが2020年までに試作車を約束した。

Small flying “cars” come a bit closer to reality
A German firm completes a test, and Uber promises a prototype by 2020
Apr 26th 2017


“YOU may smile, but it will come,” said Henry Ford in 1940, predicting the arrival of a machine that was part-automobile and part-aeroplane. For decades flying cars have obsessed technologists but eluded their mastery. Finally there is reason to believe. Several firms have offered hope that flying people in small pods for short trips might become a reality in the next decade. These are not cars, as most are not fit to drive on land, but rather small vehicles, which can rise and land vertically, like quiet helicopters. 

pods :宇宙船の小型船

A prototype of a small electric plane capable of flying up to 300 kilometres per hour, made by Lilium, a German startup, completed a successful test over Bavaria on April 20th. Lilium is starting work on a five-seat vehicle and hopes to offer a ride-hailing service. Another German firm, e-volo, has been testing a flying vehicle for several years. It recently showed off the second version of its electric Volocopter (pictured), which could be certified for flight as soon as next year. 


There are at least a dozen firms experimenting with making small flying vehicles in different guises, including Airbus, an aerospace giant, in partnership with Italdesign Giugiaro, a division of Volkswagen, a carmaker. Many plan to have a certified pilot in command at the beginning and then move on to an autonomous set-up when regulations allow. Motorcycle-type vehicles, which you sit astride, are also in the works. 

autonomous set-up:自動設定

No matter which manufacturer is quickest to gain velocity, Uber, a ride-hailing firm, aims to be at the centre of things. On April 25th it held an event in Dallas to announce its plan to offer a service where people can hail an electric “vertical takeoff and landing” vehicle and ride it quickly to destinations that would otherwise take hours in heavy traffic. Uber does not want to build these aircraft or landing pads itself, just as it does not own its own cars. Instead, it plans to collaborate with other companies. But Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, does not exclude the possibility that the firm may at the outset own some aircraft, which he estimates will cost around $1m each. 


The firm plans to have a prototype of its service ready by 2020. It will launch it first in Dallas and in Dubai, both cities where the authorities have deep aviation expertise and where people commute long distances. The firm rather optimistically promises that the cost per aerial mile for passengers will be roughly that of its low-cost car service, UberX. 


There is plenty for manufacturers and services like Uber to overcome beyond gravity. For battery-powered models, range is limited and the charging rate remains slow. Manufacturers will need to ensure that vehicles can take off and land quietly, if this new form of transport is to stand a chance in cities. How to oversee and license the new aircraft, which are subject to much tougher rules than cars, will be a subject of intense debate among rule-makers, who tend to move slowly and are just getting to grips with drones. Drivers of flying vehicles are also likely to require a pilot’s licence, albeit perhaps a simplified “sports” licence. The journey ahead will be a long one. 





swingby_blog at 20:32コメント(0)トラックバック(0) 



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