International Press Review, by The French Saker

Source: The French Saker


  1. Asia

China is still working hard this week to weave its new international network. Most of its investments are in infrastructure, which means China is seeking long term economic profitability within a long term diplomatic policy. This in sharp contrast with the way western countries are managing their economy and diplomacy in a search of short term profits, by the way letting its own basement crumbling

China pledges $11.5 billion to Mekong region countries: Xinhua (AFP, English, 21/12/2014)

China will provide more than $11.5 billion in loans and aid to neighboring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, mostly for infrastructure and industrial capacity building, state media said Saturday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged $1 billion in funding for infrastructure, $490 million aid for poverty reduction, and $10 billion in “special loans”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Xi satisfied with breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation (Xinhua, English, 23/12/2014

China and Thailand signed two MoUs on railway cooperation and agricultural trade in Bangkok last Friday during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit.

The MoU on railway cooperation allows China to invest in two dual-track rail lines in Thailand that will span 734 km and 133 km, connecting northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

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The project is estimated to cost 10.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Xi said the frequent meetings and exchanges between leaders of the two countries showed that China and Thailand enjoyed “Jeen Thai Phee Nong Gan”, the Thai phrase for close friendship.

Learning from the last Hong Kong events:

China’s Xi cautions Macau against foreign forces (AP, English, 20/12/2014)

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged the semiautonomous former Portuguese colony of Macau to guard against interference by what he called hostile external forces, following the prolonged pro-democracy protests in nearby Hong Kong.

Lawmakers underline proper regulation, protection of overseas NGOs (Xinhua, English, 25/12/2014)

Chinese lawmakers on Thursday urged both proper regulation of overseas nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in China and protection of their legal rights. A bill to regulate overseas NGOs in China was submitted for its first reading at the bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress standing committee, which runs from Monday to Sunday. A document issued after the discussion said that most of the legislators believe it is necessary to use law to administer, guide and supervise overseas NGOs to ensure that they act in accordance with law.

The information that China is willing to assist Russia in its struggle against the western economic sanctions is truly, and publicly, confirmed by the official Chinese news agency

Wang Yi: China willing to assist Russia (Xinhua, English, 23/12/2014)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “Russia had the ’wisdom’ to get out of difficulties. If the Russian side needs, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.”

  1. Russia

Russia: CSTO leaders visit the National Centre defense command  (Ria Novosti, Français, 23/12/2014)

Following the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (UEEA) summits, Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited his counterparts from the country members of these organizations to visit the National Centre defense command inaugurated in Moscow on 1 December.

The Russian leader arrived with the Belarusian, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan presidents.

“The equipments at the Centre only use Russian technology and feature a unique network of computers” said the head of the Russian state.

“I am convinced that it will make the management of national defense systems and the command of our troops and coordination between our armed forces much easier” said Vladimir Putin.

Opened on 1 December, the National Command Centre of the Russian defense will be fully operational as soon as early 2015.

The IT Service Centre is able to model crisis situations not only along the borders of Russia, but also in anywhere in the world.

Otan enlargement: OTSC is ready to respond (Ria Novosti, French, 27/12/2014)

« We should not react to provocations but readying a security system that will protect us against foolish acts, even from the NATO side » M.Bordiouja said to Rossia 24 TV.

  1. Europe

Tbilissi is blaming Kiev for promoting people listed on the Interpol wanted list (Ria Novosti, French, 20/12/2014)

The appointment to the Ukrainian government of fugitives from Georgia, searched by Interpol, could harm relations between the two countries, said Saturday Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili.

He said he personally informed the President Piotr Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk that this practice would affect relations between Tbilisi and Kiev.

“I cannot explain to the people of Georgia why Zurab Adeishvili [former Justice Minister] who is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice could be appointed to a position in the Ukrainian government with which we have friendly relationship. It was one of the main representatives of the criminal regime that sentenced 300,000 people. This also applies to Eka Zgouladze, assistant of Vano Merabishvili [Minister of the Interior from 2005 to 2012], which has worked over many years to exonerate the regime in power in Georgia, “said Irakli Garibashvili.

Zurab Adeishvili is the subject of an international search warrant issued by Interpol at the request of the Georgian authorities who accuse him of abuse of power, abuse of detainees in Georgian prisons and falsifying evidence.

According to Ukrainian media, the authorities of the country are considering him to fill the position as  chairman of the Ukrainian Council for the fight against corruption.

Belarus: Lukashenko appoints new Prime Minister (Ria Novosti, French, 12/27/2014)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has appointed Saturday the head of his administration Andrei Kobiakov as Prime Minister, the press service of the president reports.

M.Kobiakov replaces Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich.

President Lukashenko has also sacked the the National Bank of Belarus director Nadezhda Ermakova, replacing her with the President of the Belvnesheconombank board(BelVEB) Pavel Kallaour.

Relations with the EU is still a priority for Moscow (RIA Novosti, French, 12/27/2014)

“Relations with the neighboring European Union, which is an important economic and trading partner of Russia, will remain a priority of the Russian foreign policy for years, this for objective reasons and despite the current difficulties,” the Russian ministry of foreign affairs said.

  1. Middle East

It looks like the “coalition of the wishfuls” that we started to see taking shape last week is going more mature, not only on the diplomatic field but also on the ground which means that ISIL’ last days can start to be numbered.

Irak/IS: Sukhoi aircrafts disperse extremists (Ria Novosti, Français, 25/12/2014)

“Iraqi pilots, with made in Russia Sukhoi aircraft, carried the first strikes against Daech positions near Yathrib, 80 km south of Tikrit, making the extremists leave this region “, said the chain referring to a military source.

Iraqi security forces are conducting an operation since Wednesday, south of Tikrit.

Iraq has been delivered the first batch of ten Sukhoi fighter jets purchased urgently to Russia in the fight against Islamic state group. The Iraqi authorities have decided to order planes in Russia following the decision of the United States to postpone indefinitely the delivery of the first batch of F-16 fighter, originally scheduled for early 2014.

Western hypocrisy in its fight against IS is not misleading any more Middle East leaders and is just keeping on to lure its own population.

Larijani: US treatment of terrorism distrustful (IRNA, English, 25/12/2014)

In a meeting with the Leader of Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq Ammar al-Hakim, he said suggesting such issues as ‘moderate terrorism’ is a deception.

Referring to his tour of three countries of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, he expressed happiness over the fact that security situation has been remarkably improved in these countries.

And cooperation between countries directly threatened by the Islamic State is strengthening day after day.

Turkey, Iraq focus on cooperation by leaving differences (Xinhua, English, 25/12/2014)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara for a fresh round of talks to boost bilateral ties.

The Iraqi government is willing to export energy resources to world markets through the Turkish territory, Al-Abadi said at a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

He added that Iraq shares a common economy and security with Turkey, and that Iraq will not allow any terrorist organization to hurt Turkey.

For his part, Davutoglu said the two countries would enhance military cooperation against jihadists in Iraq, as their defense ministers had discussed ways to improve it.

Davutoglu added that no foreign fighters should be allowed to access Syria, whether Syrian opposition fighters or IS militants.

News Analysis: Ambiguity in cabinet formation to fade Afghans faith in gov’t (Xinhua, English, 26/12/2014)

It is almost three months since Afghanistan’s presidential inauguration but the cabinet has yet to be formed and all the ministries are run by acting ministers.

After the swearing-in ceremony on Sept. 29, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said he would form a cabinet within 45 days, but the deadline has already expired.

At the London Conference on Afghanistan on Dec. 4, he again promised to form the cabinet within two to four weeks.

Early last week, Hajji Mohammad Mohaqiq, a deputy to the government’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, announced that an important part of the cabinet, including the finance minister, would be introduced to the parliament within a couple of days.

However, repeated failure to form a cabinet has fueled the speculation among Afghans on possible differences between the president and the chief executive on selecting ministers.

$100b in frozen Iranian assets held in China, India, Japan (IRNA, English, 27/12/2014)

Iran’s assets, generated mainly through oil sales, have been frozen by the foreign banks since the West imposed sanctions on the country amid a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program. Although the figure is contested, it is reported that China alone has frozen up to $22 billion of Iranian assets.

  1. America

Hedge funds still won one more battle against Argentina sovereignty.

NY court: Argentina must disclose to US creditors (STL, English, 23/12/2014)

Argentina and various banks must reveal information about the nation’s assets to U.S. bondholders who are owed about $1.5 billion, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, though the panel cautioned a judge that a sovereign state is entitled to grace and civility and some records may be off limits.

Nicaragua’s rival to Panama Canal set to start Dec 22 (Today, English, 20/12/2014)

Nicaragua plans to begin building access roads and highways on Monday (Dec 22) near the country’s Pacific coast as it starts work on a US$50 billion (S$65.9 billion) inter-oceanic canal meant to rival Panama’s century-old waterway.

This press review was prepared by Wayan at The French Saker.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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