Now, even the US does not want to be left out of OBOR!

New Rail Connection to China Launches in November
The dream of creating the “new Silk Road by rail” took a big step forward at RailForum 2017, as it was announced that the first container train from Kouvola, Finland, will start its journey to Xi’an, China, on 10 November, 2017. After the first train, the connection is planned to become a weekly occurrence, with one inbound and one outbound train.
Locking down the date is an important milestone in the venture which seeks to route a considerable amount of goods in a novel way. Chinese cargo bound for Europe will travel west from Xi’an, going through Kazakhstan and Russia to reach Finland in 10-12 days. Transporting the same goods on ships, for instance, would take more than three times that time.
Delivering the welcoming speech at Railforum 2017, Kouvola Mayor Marita Toikka remarked that the new route to/from Asia will provide a “new logistics concept” that is both flexible and fast. Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, echoed that sentiment by commenting that, in the global context, rail creates vitality and the new connection between Asia and Finland is “most welcome” … for more, go to 

Now, even the US does not want to be left out of OBOR! (New Belt and Road rail freight service launched! It links Finland's Kouvola to China's Xi'an) (Another Belt and Road freight service launched! It links China's Xinjiang to Ukraine)

KUALA LUMPUR (December 2017): Surprise! Surprise! After failing to globally demonise China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the US is now encouraging American financial masters to accept OBOR (a.k.a Belt Road Initiative to some).

President Donald Trump, being a shrewd and highly successful businessman, should know better than to be left out in OBOR’s economic opportunities.

Trump is telling US financial masters to actively participate in the Chinese financial market.

The American president apparently sees the folly of continuously demonising China’s multi-billion-dollar fast growing OBOR initiative.

To be left out of the “action” is the US’ own global loss. (See above video clips how China’s OBOR has linked itself to Europe and Nordic nations)

I Love Malaysia-China Silk Road reproduces below two OBOR-related articles, one by an Indian research scholar and the other on India’s continuous competition with China:

"Trump’s Tacit Approval to BRI

The social engineering tools and networks that were working against BRI may now be used by US bankers to favour Chinese geopolitics. They may not only end up stop acting against BRI but also can help China to have upper hand in different countries across the globe.
Trump’s latest visit to China on Nov 9, 2017, can be regarded as the most important event in current geopolitics. It concludes the final agreement between two competitive global powers, rising China and falling USA financial empire. It seems US President Donald Trump thinks empire a liability and not asset. (For details one can read the author’s article). He has worked as a mediator between Chinese ruling class and US financial masters. From all the deals it seems Trump has encouraged US financial masters to accept Belt Road Initiative (BRI) while got permission for their active participation in Chinese financial market. In this way, a deal is reached which will definitely have many far-reaching geopolitical consequences.
A Glance at the Deals
Thirty-seven trade deals, worth $253 billion, were either signed or committed to in Memorandums of Understanding, between U.S. companies and Chinese companies or state entities. Six nuclear plants in China to be built as well: two at Haiyang; two at Sanmen; and two new plants at an apparently additional site Lufeng. There was also a $38 billion agreement between Boeing and China Aviation Supplies Holding for 300 aircrafts. As many as $83 billion projects between the state of West Virginia and China’s Shenhua Corporation for development of shale gas; the $43 billion project between the state of Alaska and several Chinese entities to develop Alaskan liquefied natural gas. General Electric signed an agreement with the Silk Road Fund, one of China’s state funds for the Belt and Road Initiative, to jointly invest in electric power grids, new energy and oil and gas, in countries and regions along the Belt and Road. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement: “The cooperation between the Silk Road Fund and GE will not only boost cooperation between high-end manufacturing industries from China and the U.S. but also promote economic and trade development in the regions where investment will occur”.
The Silk Road Fund is backed by China’s foreign exchange reserves, Export-Import Bank of China, China Development Bank and China Investment Corporation. Chinese smartphone makers in Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi signed the deal to buy products from the US mobile cheap maker Qualcomm. Then came Chinese announcement which lifted foreign ownership cap to 51% in life insurance, security ventures, fund management companies and would have their ownership limits scrapped in 3-5 years. Banks have their foreign ownership limits scrapped completely. So it is clear that while the USA allows China to play more freely in its energy sector, high tech, and nuclear fields, China allowed the USA more access in its financial sector.
Chinese Rationale for Cooperation
China knows foreign share in total bank assets in China has fallen to historic low level in 2016. From 2.4% in 2007, it has fallen to 1.16% in 2016. FDI in China is also falling every year. A global economy is not as good as before 2008 financial crisis. The Chinese economy is slowing down too. There is little room left to attract capital in Chinese production. So China is longing to have more foreign capital in its asset market. China also wants to reject its currency Yuan an international currency. For this purpose, China has added Yuan in IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket of currencies. It has also come up with gold backed Yuan securities for oil importing countries. China has also offered to buy Saudi state-owned oil company ARAMCO’s 5% share with USD 100 billion which directly challenges petrodollar arrangement under which Saudi decided to sell oil only in USD only. So it is clear that China with the intention to internationalise Yuan is opening up its own asset market.
The USA in return is sharing its Silicon Valley technology, nuclear technology as well energy technology with China. Trump has finally understood that as long as US finance is strong, US asset market will attract huge capital resulting in high demand for USD and hence USD value will remain high. Thus US production will remain uncompetitive and so will continue to have huge trade deficits with China, Japan, South Korea and Germany. Thus it is better for the USA to offer its financial infrastructure to China and help Yuan to internationalise. If Yuan can reduce USD’s dominance as a reserve currency by even 10% that would help US production to become competitive in the global market and help to reduce its trade deficit in a big way.
China also tried to link BRI and increase in US exports. Chinese Professor Yifu has given the formula that for every one USD investment in infrastructure in developing economies, imports in it rise by 0.70 USD and 0.35 USD imports of it come from developed countries. This theory clearly points out two things. Firstly, BRI will help all developed countries to increase exports and secondly, helping Yuan to internationalise along with BRI will especially help the USA to increase exports. Global Times reported while the USA has the edge in finance and global security, China has upper hand in infrastructure development and poverty reduction. Global Times even offered to use the idle capacity of US military across the globe. Defence Secretary Mattis previously reported that 19% of US military infrastructure across the globe remains idle. Clearly, Chinese think thank wants co-operation between BRI and US finance.
The US Rationale for Cooperation
During Obama’s period, US finance tried to create hindrances in Chinese infrastructure development across the globe. Arab Spring, chaos in Lybia, Syria, Iraq, and political manipulation in Sudan, Sri Lanka, etc. was continuously arranged against Chinese interests by US finance paid social engineering networks. But the success of US financial masters against China was limited. There are several causes of this failure. Firstly, the Chinese economy is growing at least three times faster than the USA and so China is determining the commodity prices and hence attracting the ruling class of commodity selling countries in a big way. Secondly, political destabilization across different countries made the ruling class of all countries afraid of US intentions.
Previously, all countries viewed US hegemony a pillar of stability in global geopolitics. But since Arab Spring, all countries started to view US hegemony as a source of chaos. Thirdly, US-China rivalry helped other powers like Russia and Iran to assert their own domination against US hegemony. Lastly, 2008 financial crisis destroyed China’s export market in developed economies including the USA in a big way. So China started facing excess capacity and over-accumulation.
China tried to counter its over-accumulation by investing abroad. These external investments are not that much for profit as it is for creating demand for Chinese industries facing excess capacity. Thus evicting Chinese investments out and making them nonprofitable did not deter China from investing in new destinations across the globe. US financial elites also thought China a capitalist country which always invests in profit. In reality, the Chinese economy is socialist where surplus appropriation from wage labor goes on just like Western economies. But the allocation of surplus decision lies in hands of Communist Party in China unlike in the West where capitalist-banker class decides where to allocate surplus.
Thus, US financial rulers failed to understand the capacity of the Chinese economy to endure losses in face of over-accumulation in the domestic economy. Thus destroyed Syria is still getting Chinese investments, Myanmar-Lanka government change only elongate the process of Chinese investments. No matter how much chaos is made, China can wait for a long time. Chaos after Arab Spring in the Arab world, failure to dispose of Assad, the rise of Trump and anti-empire sentiments within the USA, Trump’s cancel of Trans-Pacific Partnership clearly put US bankers on the back foot. They have understood that it is better to make a deal with Chinese rulers where they both will accept each other.
Geopolitical Implications
The social engineering tools and networks that were working against BRI may now be used by US bankers to favour Chinese geopolitics. They may not only end up stop acting against BRI but also can help China to have upper hand in different countries across the globe. Events like Rohingyas and Zimbabwe may be just the beginning. Soon more pro-Chinese politicians may be in power across different countries. US bankers know by offering their social engineering tools and infrastructure, they can bargain more place within Chinese economy which is destined to become three times bigger than USA’s in Purchasing Power Parity by 2035. This trend is not at all surprising but most likely outcome of the rise of China.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.

Saikat Bhattacharyya
Saikat Bhattacharya is Kolkata based Indian Research Scholar who currently attached with Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal, India - RegionalRapport

Photo taken on Nov. 10, 2017 shows the cargo train during a launching ceremony of the railway route in Kouvola, Finland. With more than 40 containers on it, the cargo train bound for Chinese inland city of Xi'an departed Kouvola, southeastern Finland, on Friday. It will take 17 days to run 9,000 km to cross the Eurasia continent, passing through countries including Russia and Kazakhstan, before reaching its final destination of the northwest China's Xi'an, one of the oldest cities in China. (Xinhua/Li Jizhi)
Cargo railway inking Finland and China opens
(Xinhua) 10:31, November 11, 2017
KOUVOLA, Finland, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- With more than 40 containers on it, the cargo train bound for Chinese inland city of Xi'an departed Kouvola, southeastern Finland, on Friday … for more, go to 

India Could Cordially Compete With China Through BRICS+

Written by Andrew KORYBKO on 06/12/2017

Instead of stoking a strategic-security dilemma between the two Asian Great Powers that would only work out to the US’ ultimate benefit, India would do best to cordially compete with China through the BRICS+ format in order to incorporate an implicit rules-based structure to their rivalry and have a chance at reaping the advantages that Russia’s “balancing act” could provide in maintaining stability between them.

BRICS+ is considered a “dirty word” by most Indians, especially their ultra-jingoistic Hindutva ruling class, because it’s understood as a euphemism for institutionalizing China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity that New Delhi has been vehemently opposed to since its inception. That’s unfortunate from the perspective of the emerging Multipolar World Order because it strongly suggests that India is predestined to become the US’ premier 21st-century partner in “containing China”, with destabilizing consequences for the two Asian Great Powers involved. This scenario is disadvantageous to Russia’s stated vision of a Greater Eurasian Partnership in the supercontinent because it challenges Moscow’s efforts to integrate the Eurasian Union, SCO, and OBOR, thereby presenting a large-scale strategic threat to its long-term interests.
Russia’s “Balancing” Role

Russia is uniquely positioned to function as the supreme “balancing” force in Eurasia for the entirety of this century, provided of course that can skillfully leverage its multi-vectored diplomacy to that end, and especially in Asia when it comes to preserving stability between its Chinese and Indian partners. It’s therefore of the highest importance that Russia convinces India that it has more to gain by joining BRICS+ in its own way than to avoid the initiative entirely, since India’s participation in this initiative is integral to Russia successfully pulling off its envisioned 21st-century “balancing” act in promoting multipolarity across Eurasia. This doesn’t just entail the two Asian Great Powers in question, but also has a lot to do with Russia’s fast-moving rapprochement with Pakistan and the need for Moscow to dispel India’s American-encouraged suspicions about its intent.

Another driving factor is the interest that Russia has in becoming the go-to “balancing” party for all of China’s Silk Road partners and adversaries, which in this context includes rival South Asian states Pakistan and India, respectively. Russia understands that the best way for it to attain a higher strategic value to China in its own partnership with the country, and therefore correct whatever real or perceived “lopsided” relations it may have with Beijing, is take on a greater degree of importance along the Silk Roads in becoming an indispensable force to its success and stability. Bearing this in mind, it’s most prudent for Russia’s diplomats to speak to their Indian counterparts in a “language that they know” so as to most effectively convince them of the self-interested benefits that they stand to gain by joining BRICS+, which can be summarized as participating in an implicit rules-based platform for competing with China and from where they can draw upon Russia’s “balancing” influence to their advantage.

To elaborate a bit more in depth, India should conceptualize BRICS+ as a vehicle for expanding its multidimensional partnership with Russia across the entire geographic space of “Greater South Asia”, with New Delhi inviting Moscow to participate in a wide array of joint projects so as to mitigate whatever unpleasant competitive perceptions Beijing may have of them. In addition, Russia could do the same with Indian involvement in its own territory in order to justify “internally balancing” foreign direct investment in strategic locations such as the Chinese-bordering Far East without fear of offending China. If the Russian-Indian bilateral relationship migrates to BRICS+ and accepts this new branding, then it would open up a previously untapped and wide array of mutually advantageous possibilities for each of them such as the proposals that will be discussed below.
Reconceptualizing The Chinese-Indian Competition In SAARC And BIMSTEC

India’s most immediate geopolitical concern is naturally its own neighborhood as institutionalized through the largely overlapping South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), both of which New Delhi believes Beijing is trying to “poach” away from its hoped-for hegemonic influence by using the allure of the New Silk Roads. The Chinese-Indian New Cold War has seen these two BRICS “frenemies” compete with one another all across these regional integration organizations in varying intensities and to different extents, but their rivalry could be managed if they each conducted it through the shared platform of BRICS+. While it might be impossible to dispel the “zero-sum” mentality guiding Indian decision makers at the moment, reconceptualizing their SAARC and BIMSTEC competitions with China as being part of BRICS+ could allow both parties to “save face” anytime they experience a subjective “loss” to the other since the end result would still nevertheless be a “BRICS victory”.
Advancing The “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor”

Opening up SAARC and BIMSTEC to BRICS+ could also allow India to call upon its Russian partner to more deeply involve itself in these regions through Indian-led joint projects that function as part of its “Asia-Africa Growth Corridor” (AAGC), which is being hyped up by the country’s media and their Western partners as New Delhi’s “response” to OBOR. While that appears to be a gross over-exaggeration of its future potential for self-serving domestic political purposes, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the idea itself does indeed have a certain degree of promise inherent to it, especially if it manages to develop “soft infrastructure” in the Greater Indian/African Ocean Region in parallel with the “hard infrastructure” that China is constructing through OBOR. An exciting detail about the AAGC is that it expects to rely on Japanese capital for most of its projects, though this is a double-edged sword of sorts because it invites China and others to frame the initiate as a unipolar-backed obstacle for obstructing the Silk Roads.

So long as the AAGC remains a mostly Indo-Japanese undertaking, then it will continue to be viewed with suspicion and inevitably contribute to the New Cold War between China and India. The entire paradigm could suddenly shift, however, if Russia was invited to participate in the AAGC and openly announced its support for endeavor, as Moscow’s multipolar credentials would lend a large degree of trustworthiness and credibility to its associated projects and could go a long way towards easing China’s suspicions. Moreover, just as China is expected to use BRICS+ to promote OBOR, so too could India do the same with the AAGC, possibly even double-branding its investments in Russia’s Far East as being under the banner of both BRICS+ and the AAGC. Not only that, but Moscow might finally have found its gateway for returning to the “Global South” in a tangible trade-worthy sense by carving out its own niche in the AAGC in cooperation with its Indo-Japanese partners, which would also strengthen its ongoing rapprochement with Tokyo too.
Bringing Shadow Partners Into BRICS+

As can be surmised from the above, India’s formal involvement in BRICS+ would allow it to indirectly incorporate shadow partners like Japan into the platform via their participation in the AAGC, thus enabling it to boost its competitive potential vis-à-vis China without openly drawing its consternation. Since the aforementioned section described Tokyo’s role in this structure, it won’t be redundantly reiterated in this part, with the focus instead shifting to how Iran and Israel could fit into this framework. Both entities are located in the Mideast and are accordingly included in India’s “Link West” policy of West Asian (“Mideast”) engagement, and each of them has their own special relationship with Russia. Iran is an important party to the Astana peace process while many Israelis share civic, linguistic, and/or ethnic ties with Russia. In consideration of this, Russia could help India make more pronounced and rapid inroads with each of them, possibly in exchange for New Delhi opening up the door to Moscow in the “Global South” regions of ASEAN and Africa via the AAGC.

Russia and India already cooperate with Iran through the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that’s expected to one day facilitate South Asian and EU trade via Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia, but the inclusion of this project into BRICS+ as a signature undertaking of the AAGC could draw Tehran even closer into the multipolar institutional fold. Furthermore, since Russian businessmen could theoretically use the NSTC to trade with Pakistan just as much as with India, it’s to Moscow’s interests to convey to New Delhi that its nationals have no “zero-sum” intentions in doing so and are merely chasing their own “win-win” economic solutions, and this could best be achieved by integrating the NSTC into BRICS+. As for Israel, a joint report recently authored by some of Russia and India’s most prominent think tanks calls for them to commence trilateral relations with the Mideast entity that’s already one of Moscow’s closest regional allies. By utilizing the two-way patronage network that exists between Russia and Israel, Moscow could help New Delhi make lightning-fast progress in diversifying its partnership with Tel Aviv.
Concluding Thoughts

This policy proposal is intended to advance Russia’s grand strategic interests as they relate to its tacit desire to “balance” Eurasian affairs across the current century, taking into account the nuances of Moscow’s multidimensional relations with its partners in New Delhi and Beijing in order to craft the most realistic suggestions for how Russia could become the arbiter of the Chinese-Indian New Cold War. There is no state besides Russia that’s capable of managing the growing competition between these two Asian Great Powers, and it is absolutely imperative for Moscow to craft mechanisms for controlling their rivalry so as to guarantee the stability of the emerging Multipolar World Order. The best way to do this is by convincing India to join the BRICS+ platform after opening its eyes to the benefits that it stands to attain by doing so, speaking to its decision makers in a “zero-sum” language that they understand but recognizing that the end result would be to the “win-win” benefit of all Eurasian parties regardless, though so long as Russia successfully sustains the “balance” between them.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
China's "One Belt, One Road" Initiative
June 23, 2015
With a decade of unprecedented economic growth, China is now entering a new era of economic, social and political development, impacted by its new position as the world’s second largest economy, with a booming middle class population but crippling environmental concerns. China is now focusing more on the quality of their growth rather than growth ‘at any cost’. Out of the plethora of new Plans, Strategies and Visions created by Chinese government agencies, the “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” or more simply known as the “One Belt, One Road Initiative” epitomises China’s new approach to foreign policy. The Initiative is an extension of China’s ‘go out’ and ‘go west’ policies and represents a move by the Government to be more targeted, strategic and focused in its future development.
The Initiative aims to consolidate and upgrade existing infrastructure and build new transport routes to improve cross-border trade. It also includes efforts to promote a greater financial integration of the Renminbi with foreign countries and create a “Digital Silk Road” of international communication and information distribution. The “Silk Road Economic Belt” connects China via land with Central Asia, Russia, Europe and Southeast Asia. The “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” makes a link from the Indian Ocean, through the South China Sea to the South Pacific Ocean (see map). Geographically positioned in the middle of both the Belt and the Road, China has emerged as the facilitator in developing a connection between Europe and Asia.
All roads lead to China … for more, go to