In the last 1990s, when China first began signalling its interest to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Xinjiang, sceptics mocked at it as the dragon’s pipedream. Well, the pipeline with the impressive capacity of 30 bcm annually has been operational since 2009 and already delivered 13.8 bcm gas to China, as per Beijing’s figures. Now comes a bombshell. China National Petroleum Corporation says it plans to have a 500% increase in gas imports from Central Asia by 2015. To this end, China is expanding the capacity of the pipeline and the construction of two new branch lines will be completed by 2013 so that the pipeline system can deliver a staggering 55-60 bcm annually by 2015.....
The Chinese move also means Beijing is not overly anxious to do a gas deal with Russia. During President Hu Jintao’s visit to Moscow in July, Beijing desperately tried to swing a gas deal with Russia after years of negotiations but failed in its diplomacy due to differences over the price of gas. The next round of talks is due in September and the timing of the announcement of the expansion of the Central Asian pipeline suggests that Russia’s plans to export gas to China may no longer be such a priority for China as was imagined. In short, China is signalling that it has other options and is not in such a tearing hurry. The Russian plan was to supply China with 68 bcm of gas per year through two pipelines.
The big question is whether China can do without Russian gas. China hopes to increase the share of gas in its energy mix from about 3% currently to 10% by 2020, but its main fuel remains coal and China has plenty of coal. But this is also a geopolitical question since energy cooperation forms a strategic template of Russia-China ties. Besides, Europe which is a major consumer of Russian gas will also be watching whether or not Moscow would have a ‘China card’. Most certainly, Moscow would be uneasy about the lengthening shadows of China on Central Asia’s energy map. President Dmitry Medvedev is planning two summit meetings with his Turkmen counterpart in the coming 4-month period.
Above all, the Chinese announcement signifies that Beijing is becoming a big stakeholder in the stability and security of Central Asia. The Chinese move comes amidst reports that the US hopes to establish permanent military presence in Afghanistan ans NATO would have plans to expand its influence in Central Asia. China is trumping the US in the scramble for energy in the Caspian and Central Asia....
Zardari Fronting for New World Order In China and Central Asia...2 09 2011
[Quite an elegant pitch of American proposals by the Pakistani President, first in Tajikistan, now in Urumqi, China (SEE: Washington’s Silk Road Pipe Dream). The Pakistani people should be troubled by all of this. What is Mr. 10% up to? Washington's plans involve the militarization of the entire area that has been envisaged in their "Silk Road" scenario. This means that an entire region, which is now at total peace, will be agitated and destabilized until widespread violence erupts in the most tortured areas. Even if the tortured souls refuse to turn to violence in their struggle to survive and to be free, plans are made to commit violent false flag actions on their behalf, or in their names. And all of this will be done, as usual, with the full consent of the targeted governments, just as it has been done in Pakistan throughout the years. Zardari and others like him enrich their own lives by serving the will of Empire, even if that will involves acceptance of the killing of their friends and their own countrymen (SEE: Obama's Wars). Maybe he is just thinking of his friends, the whole misery loving company thing. It is true that development of the energy corridor will help everybody in the region, but it will be at terrible cost. It doesn't have to be accomplished by the power of the gun. In fact, it cannot be accomplished this way. Militarizing Central Asia, in order to justify pacifying it, will not only make the task of securing the roads and pipelines that much harder, it will multiply the costs of all of the pending projects, because of the added costs of maintaining heavily-armed security forces indefinitely. If the pipeline, road and other corridor projects get built at all, it will be because of massive popular support for them, because of the weight of overwhelming citizens' demands (SEE: The Peace Pipeline ). Governments must work on convincing their constituents to become as excited for the corridor idea as they all are.]
URUMQI: Terming enhanced rail, road and air connectivity as key to regional development, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan sees great potential in the Eurasian corridor and fully supports its revival.
“Pakistan is for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity in the region as it is the key to regional development,” President Zardari said while addressing the China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum soon after the opening ceremony of first China-Eurasia Expo here in the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from September 1 to 5.
The President who reached Urumqi on Tuesday to attend the mega event said the Chinese government by hosting the China-Eurasia Expo has built economic bridges between Europe and Asia, the East and the West. “This is a timely and laudable initiative,” he remarked.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Chairman Board of Investment Salim H. Mandviwala, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan and Spokesperson to the President attended the event.
“The need for a forum that brings China and Eurasia together has never been greater. We see great potential in the Eurasian corridor and fully support its revival,” said President Zardari.
Tracing the history of centuries old Silk route that passed through this region and was a link between East and West, President Zardari said the China-Eurasia Expo’s venue carries great significance.
“The earliest exchanges between the East and the West took place through the historic Silk Road that passed through this region,” he said adding it was a conduit for the exchange of ideas and knowledge as well as goods and merchandise between Pakistan and China.
President Zardari said that since Xinjiang was in close proximity to Pakistan, the Chinese monks and envoys, as far back as the fifth century, travelled to what today are known as Chitral, Swat, Peshawar and Taxila in Pakistan.
He said Xinjiang is connected with Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region through the Karakoram Highway as well as other modes of communication, adding, soon, a railway link between the two sides would shorten distance between the two regions.
President Zardari said development of the western parts of China including Xinjiang was truly remarkable and Pakistan viewed Xinjiang’s development and prosperity as its own.
He said China’s policy of developing Xinjiang offered tremendous opportunities for economic collaboration between our two regions.
Pakistan and China are already working towards an “integrated border management” to promote trade ties between our two countries, he added.
President Zardari said Pakistan was keen to participate in the Kashgar Special Economic Zone.
He said Pakistan and China were time-tested friends and the two countries enjoy a high degree of mutual trust and confidence.
“We have a history of fruitful cooperation in a wide range of areas of mutual interest,” he said.
President Zardari said it was a matter of great satisfaction to see Pak-China friendship flourishing in all its dimensions.
China’s economic progress was a source of inspiration for many countries including Pakistan, he said and added that without China’s economic strength the world’s economy would have been in a deeper crisis in the post-recession era.
Talking about terrorism, President Zardari said this menace has spread all over, with Pakistan hit hard. “We have suffered greatly on this count”, he remarked.
“The recent incidents of terrorism in Xinjiang dismayed us,” President Zardari said, adding that Pakistan would extend all possible cooperation to China in overcoming the challenge.
President Zardari expressed his conviction that terrorism would not discourage the march towards development and prosperity.
He also expressed his confidence that the China-Eurasia Expo will be a milestone in promoting development in the region and beyond.
“I wish our Chinese friends and the participants of the Expo all success,” he added.