China says no ‘backroom deals’ in new Silk Road initiative

Above, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5. Xi pledged $124 billion for the Belt and Road initiative at a summit last May. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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China says no ‘backroom deals’ in new Silk Road initiative

BEIJING: China’s huge Belt and Road initiative to build a new Silk Road will respect global rules and be free of “backroom deals,” the foreign minister said on Thursday, defending a key policy of President Xi Jinping’s.
Unveiled in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Xi pledged $124 billion for the plan at a summit last May but it has faced suspicion in Western capitals that it is intended more to assert Chinese influence than Beijing’s professed desire to spread prosperity and that it will mostly benefit Chinese companies.
Visiting China in January, French President Emmanuel Macron said Belt and Road could not be “one-way.”
Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of the annual meeting of parliament, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Belt and Road was a “sunshine initiative” that was open and for all to benefit from.
“Everything will operate in the sunshine,” Wang said. “There is no domination by one party; everyone participates equally. There are no backroom deals; there is openness and transparency. There is no winner-takes-all; only seeking win-win mutual benefit.”
Wang pointed to what he said were several already very successful Belt and Road-linked projects, including building power plants in Pakistan and China’s operation of Greece’s largest port at Piraeus.
“China and France have joined hands to build a nuclear power station in Britain, becoming a model for cooperation in new high-tech projects for the Belt and Road,” he said, referring to the Hinkley Point scheme, which British Prime Minister Theresa May initially put on hold when she came to office in 2016.
Wang said China was committed to best international practice.
“Belt and Road is a global public good, and of course respects international rules. It is a global platform for cooperation, and naturally will run according to market rules,” he added.
“It won’t only benefit China. Even more, it will bring benefit to the world.”


Six militants, two soldiers killed in NW Pakistan gunfight — military

Updated 23 June 2018
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Six militants, two soldiers killed in NW Pakistan gunfight — military

  • The clash took place in South Waziristan after security forces were tipped off about the presence of militants who had entered the area pretending to be returning displaced locals, a military statement said
  • Six militants and two soldiers were killed in the fighting, including Nanakar, who was wanted for several murders of local elders and tribesmen

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: Six militants and two soldiers were killed on Saturday during a fierce gunfight in a northwestern Pakistani tribal district bordering Afghanistan, military and local security officials said.
The clash took place in South Waziristan’s Spina Mela village after security forces were tipped off about the presence of militants who had entered the area pretending to be returning displaced locals, a military statement said.
Six militants and two soldiers were killed in the fighting, including a most wanted militant called Nanakar, the statement added.
Nanakar, who goes by one name, was wanted for several murders of local elders and tribesmen.
The troops also seized weapons, ammunition and devices through which militants were in communication with handlers across the border in Afghanistan, the military said.
Two local security officials in Miranshah, the main town of neighboring North Waziristan, confirmed the clash and casualties to AFP.
The US has repeatedly accused Pakistan of allowing the tribal areas to harbor militants fighting in Afghanistan — an allegation Islamabad has consistently denied.