Opinions
A financial trap? (Part I) PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 May 2017 14:21

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Edmonton, Ca. — Revisiting the huge Edmonton Mall is exciting...and expensive! The amazing attractions here are simply fantastic, like the enclosed man-made beach and roller-coaster.

If you like sight-seeing, the Alberta legislative building that opened in 1912 is a must-see. The Rutherford House, built for Alberta’s first premier, Alexander C. Rutherford, offers visitors a glimpse of Alberta’s,past. Then, there’s the iconic four-glass pyramids in Edmonton’s river valley house that has a spectacular display of flowers and vegetables.

You may also want to travel in time at Fort Edmonton Park, Canada’s largest living history museum. The Elk Island National Park is also Canada’s federal wildlife sanctuary that was established in 1906. This is home to the famous bison, elk, moose, deer, lynx and more than 200 species of birds. You shouldn’t miss these three other spots: Jurassic forest; Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village; and the Reynolds-Alberta museum. Tired and hungry from doing all these? There’s our very-own Max’s Restaurant.

At our hotel, the West Edmonton Mall Inn, my attention was caught by a headline story posted by The Globe and Mail about China’s highly-intriguing “One Belt, One Road” plan that promises to forge new connections for cargo and commodities across Asia and into the regions on trade, development and the pursuit of “mutual profit.”

Just like it promised other countries — like the Philippines — the One Belt, One Road program would give new roads, trains (sounds familiar?) and power plants. The story goes: “What China wants in return is only the willingness of other countries (like the Philippines) to link arms and make a buck together. Really?

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that such a transaction “will not base cooperation on ideological grounds, nor will we pursue any political agenda or make any explicit arrangements.” Ansina ba?

The report, however (here’s the catch), quoted a document made public in Pakistan that the planners behind China’s overseas ambitions envision far more than economic cooperation among the so-called “Belt and Road countries.” China allegedly intends to export its surveillance-heavy security model, deliver content from its state-controlled media and gain privileged access to foreign agricultural lands and mineral deposits for its corporate gains. (In the Philippines, it is trying to gain access to her aquatic resources and everything underneath the Scarborough Shoal and West Philippine Sea.)

The planning document, the newspaper alleged, offers one of the clearest insights into the sweep of what China hopes to gain from its One Belt, One Road investments — and the trade-offs that face even those who have decided that Beijing’s global leadership ambitions present more opportunities than problems.

China’s spending for its One Belt, One Road project is expected to reach $51 billion. Could it be that the $9 billion windfall that the Philippines is getting from China will come from the $51 billion knee-jerking project? We will never know unless the details of the loan is revealed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). In contrast, China’s powerful planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has allegedly evolved a detailed 231-page document that lays down Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The report said that “other countries, too, have expressed concern that the One Belt, One Road project leans too heavily in China’s favor. Syed Tahoe Husain Mashhad, a Pakistani senator, was quoted as allegedly saying about an East-Indian company that controlled great swaths of South Asia: “They (China) put in the railways which still exists in India and Pakistan. But the company is now despised because they (China) stole the wealth while they were here.” Similarly, he said, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is very one-sided. “It’s Chinese investments and Chinese banks, Chinese money, Chinese industry — everything is towards China. And, of course, the profits go to China.” (to be continued)

 
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