Xi Jinping’s Blue Passages
READER’S VIEWS (The Freeman) - June 24, 2020 - 12:00am

In spring 2017 the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long (Snow dragon) started from Shanghai direction Bering Strait on the North Polar Circle. It entered the drift ice zone north of Siberia, passed through Norwegian waters, passed south of Greenland and found its way through the North Canadian island world back to Bering Strait after 83 days of circumnavigating the entire polar region. The ship also tried to pass over the North Pole but failed because the pack ice cannot be broken. However due to global warming the Chinese reckon to open the Central Arctic Route in about 30 years from now when the present pack ice will have melted. Right over the pole will be shortest and most lucrative link to Europe as well as to America. Nuclear powered icebreakers will facilitate the breakthrough.

This achievement permitted President Xi Jinping to announce during the second Belt and Road Forum in May 2019 near Beijing to the 30 State leaders (among them President Duterte) and more than 100 state delegates his plans for “all- dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation promoting mutually beneficial blue partnerships”.

The proposed blue passages are:

The China – India – Africa – Mediterranean passage to Southern Europe

The China – Oceania – South Pacific passage to the Antarctica

The China – Arctic Northeast passage to Russia and Northern Europe

The China – Arctic Northwest passage to Canada and the Eastern USA.

The Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable of May 16, 2019 is brimming with eulogist phrases conjuring the spirit of the historic Silk Road: Peace and openness, mutual benefits, poverty reduction, shelving of differences, building consensus etc.

But critics see at least 4 reasons for caution citing flagrant infractions to

international laws and rules by Chinese authorities in the past: Will they respect the environment or destroy corals, build artificial islands, disregard fishing regulations, catch giant clams and turtles and endangered species for culinary and medicinal use? Will they respect the peoples’ social order or abolish democracy and press freedom or impose their surveillance system with sanctions and punishments for opponents? Will they respect market rules and international WTO norms or force the foreigners to sign toggle contracts with debt traps, exploit their Exclusive Economic Zones, spy out patents and hack into secret data bases? Will they use the maritime passages and ports for peaceful exchange of goods or will they militarize them as in the South China Sea and Djibouti and establish choke points and lines for all non-Chinese users?

The trade routes serve to export China’s overcapacity in producing goods and manufacturing merchandizes. But we foreigners must clearly see that with every purchased steel bar or Huawei gadget we finance the People’s Liberation Army’s airplane carriers, long range strategic stealth bombers and all kinds of missiles.

Bellicose Xi’s order of January 4, 2020 at Zhurihe military training base to the PLA is deeply disquieting: Step up war preparations and be capable to fight and win a war!

Aha! Winning World War III is the ultimate target of Xi’s lucrative new Silk Road Initiative.

Erich Wannemacher

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