Martine Bulard

Rédactrice en chef adjointe au « Monde diplomatique »

  • The Endgame in Greece by Jeffrey D. Sachs - Project Syndicate

    Europe’s demands – ostensibly aimed at ensuring that Greece can service its foreign debt – are petulant, naive, and fundamentally self-destructive. In rejecting them, the Greeks are not playing games; they are trying to stay alive.

    Whatever one might say about Greece’s past economic policies, its uncompetitive economy, its decision to join the eurozone, or the errors that European banks made when they provided its government with excessive credit, the country’s economic plight is stark. Unemployment stands at 25%. Youth unemployment is at 50%.
    Greece’s GDP, moreover, has shrunk by 25% since the start of the crisis in 2009. Its government is insolvent. Many of its citizens are hungry.
    Conditions in Greece today are reminiscent of those in Germany in 1933. Of course, the European Union need not fear the rise of a Greek Hitler, not only because it could easily crush such a regime, but also – and more important – because Greece’s democracy has proved impressively mature throughout the crisis. But there is something that the EU should fear: destitution within its borders and the pernicious consequences for the continent’s politics and society.

  • Le vice-Premier ministre chinois Zhang Gaoli termine sa visite en Russie (SYNTHESE)

    ST.-PETERSBOURG (Russie), 20 juin (Xinhua) — Le vice-Premier ministre chinois Zhang Gaoli a conclu sa visite en Russie samedi matin après la signature d’accords sur un certain nombre de projets d’investissement de grande envergure entre les deux pays.

    M. Zhang a également rencontré le président russe Vladimir Poutine, qui a réaffirmé son intention de se rendre à Beijing en septembre pour participer aux événements de commémoration du 70e anniversaire de la victoire de la Guerre de Résistance du peuple chinois contre l’agression japonaise et de la Guerre mondiale contre le fascisme.

    M. Zhang était à Saint-Pétersboug pour assister au Forum économique international annuel de Saint-Pétersbourg, qui a réuni M. Poutine et plus de 6.000 autres participants du monde entier.

    M. Zhang a indiqué que sa visite en Russie visait à mettre en œuvre les consensus atteints par les présidents des deux pays et à préparer la participation du président chinois Xi Jinping à deux sommets à venir ainsi que la 20e rencontre entre les chefs de gouvernement des deux pays.

    Le bloc des BRICS, qui est composé de cinq marchés émergents, à savoir le Brésil, la Russie, l’Inde, la Chine et l’Afrique du Sud, et l’Organisation de coopération de Shanghai (OCS) tiendront tous les deux un sommet début juillet à Oufa, capitale de la République russe de Bachkortostan.

    Lors de sa visite, M. Zhang a également co-présidé la deuxième réunion du Comité de coopération sino-russe pour les investissements avec le premier vice-Premier ministre russe Igor Chouvalov, au cours de laquelle les deux parties ont établi une liste de projets de coopération à grande échelle supplémentaires qu’elles envisagent de mener dans un avenir proche.

    #Chine, #Russie

  • China close to its goal of full yuan convertibility on its capital account | South China Morning Post

    China is close to its goal of allowing the yuan to be exchanged for foreign currency without any limits on the amount - a move that will grant greater flexibility to Chinese investment overseas, the deputy head of the central bank says.

    “We are not too far away from the yuan capital account full convertibility,” said Pan Gongsheng, vice-governor of the People’s Bank of China.

    The latest step in the opening of the capital account - which measures inflow and outflow of capital and covers investments such as stocks, bonds and properties - will be the launch of the new qualified domestic institutional investor programme, or QDII2.

    #Chine, #Internationalisation_du_yuan

  • China resumes nuclear power plant construction after a four-year freeze - Global Times

    In a document on energy strategy issued last June, China’s State Council said construction of new nuclear power plants in coastal areas in East China will start at a proper time, and the feasibility of building plants in inland ares will be studied.

    Few actions were taken until this year. In February, the State Council approved the construction of two units of the Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, making it the first project that was approved after 2012. This was followed by the construction of unit five of the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant in Fujian Province, which started in May.

    More projects are likely to follow. In an energy forum held this May, Liu Baohua, who’s in charge of nuclear power at the National Energy Administration of China, said that as many as eight nuclear power reactors could be launched this year, China Nuclear Industry News reported. Liu also said that it is within China’s capacity to build six to eight more nuclear reactors each year.

    By 2020, China expects that installed nuclear power capacity will reach 58 gigawatts, and those under construction will reach 30 gigawatts. This is nearly three times the current capacity, which is 20.29 gigawatts, or 1.5 percent of China’s total electricity capacity.

    According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear power generated by China’s 23 nuclear reactors contributed to just 2.4 percent of China’s total electricity production in 2014.

    “China resumed its new nuclear energy activities rather soon this time, after just a four-year pause. This is mainly prompted by the advance of nuclear technology and safety standards, and more importantly, voices from within China to change its energy structure toward a cleaner one,” Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times.

    Bold experimenter 

    Not only is China fast in its pace to build more nuclear reactors, it’s also bold in using the most advanced nuclear technologies, some of which have never been used commercially before. This courted doubts over whether these technologies are reliable enough, since there are few precedents to draw experience from.

    Since 2004, China has been approving projects using advanced nuclear power reactors, including US-based Westinghouse’s AP1000 and France-based Areva’s EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor), many of which are now under construction. Dubbed generation III reactors, they are designed to withstand the crisis that damaged the Japanese nuclear plant.

    Construction of these projects has not been smooth. Sanmen Nuclear Power Station in Zhejiang Province was expected to be the first nuclear power plant in the world that uses AP1000 technology. The first of the two reactors was scheduled to finish construction and start operation in November 2013, but construction is now over 18 months behind schedule. The plant won’t start operation until 2016 at the earliest, an official from China’s State Nuclear Power Technology, the company building the power plant, said in January

    #Chine, #nucléaire,

  • The Chinese renminbi is ready to take its place on the global stage -

    The renminbi is on a seemingly inexorable march towards becoming a global currency. It is already widely used in international trade and finance transactions. Now China wants the International Monetary Fund to label the renminbi an official reserve currency by including it in the exclusive group that make up its unit of account, the Special Drawing Rights. That group comprises the dollar, the euro, the yen and sterling.
    There are good reasons to welcome the renminbi’s rise. Its trajectory is closely correlated with banking and other reforms that will make China’s economy more market friendly. These are necessary to establish a more balanced and less-risky growth path, one that is less dependent on investment, generates more employment and reduces environmental degradation


  • Grèce : la nouvelle stratégie des créanciers

    Dimanche 14 juin, il n’y a eu aucune discussion. Selon des sources grecques proches du gouvernement, les négociateurs grecs se sont retrouvés à Bruxelles face à une équipe de technicien « n’ayant aucun mandat pour négocier. » Et de fait, durant ce court rendez-vous de 45 minutes, toutes les nouvelles concessions grecques et non des moindres (notamment l’acceptation de l’objectif d’excédent primaire de 1 % du PIB pour cette année) ont été repoussées. Les exigences - toutes les exigences - des créanciers étaient à accepter en bloc. Ou à refuser. Autrement dit, les créanciers ne cherchent plus réellement à trouver un accord. Ils jouent désormais le coup d’après, celui qui suivra le défaut du 30 juin.

    Stratégie européenne pour l’après-défaut
    Leur stratégie a été en partie révélée par un article de la Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) de ce mardi. Ce dernier dévoile la stratégie mise au point par les dirigeants de l’Eurozone après le défaut. Selon la SZ, les chefs de gouvernement se retrouveraient dans une réunion d’urgence. Ils demanderaient à Athènes d’imposer un contrôle des capitaux et des limitations aux retraits des guichets bancaires au cours d’un week-end. Les banques devraient alors rester fermées quelques jours. Si le gouvernement grec refuse de faire passer une loi spéciale - nécessaire pour la réalisation de ce plan - le système financier grec sera « isolé » de l’Eurosystème. Autrement dit, on coupera l’accès à la liquidité d’urgence (programme ELA) des banques grecques.

    Le but est fort clair : une telle procédure rendra extrêmement impopulaire le gouvernement d’Alexis Tsipras. L’objectif des dirigeants de la zone euro reste donc le même : renverser ce gouvernement, coûte que coûte. Et obtenir un gouvernement obéissant tout en évitant le Grexit. Du reste, cette information - qui n’a été ni démentie, ni confirmée par le gouvernement allemand, ce qui revient à la confirmer - risque de provoquer une panique sur les dépôts puisque les Grecs connaissent parfaitement le précédent chypriote de mars 2013. Là encore, c’est un moyen de pression sur le gouvernement grec pour qu’il capitule avant le 30 juin.

    #Grèce, #chantage, #Commission_européenne,

  • Beijing’s migrant children forced out of the city -

    The battle faced by migrants for a basic education in Beijing and other major urban centres shows how China is struggling to accommodate the millions flowing to its cities despite a national policy of stimulating urbanisation. “His father could move with him but then what about me? I would still be far from the child,” Ms Yang says, her voice cracking.
    About 40 per cent of the primary schoolchildren in Beijing lack a city hukou , the official household residency permit that grants access to social services, including education, healthcare and the right to buy homes. Nonetheless, in recent years they have been permitted to attend primary school in the city, a concession that has allowed many migrant couples to keep young children by their side. This school year alone, 470,800 non-Beijing hukou — or migrant — students attended primary and middle school in Beijing.

    #Chine, #Migrants, #Hukou

  • La loi Macron remet au goût du jour le conflit d’intérêts - Page 1 | Mediapart

    Tandis que les députés et l’opinion se focalisent, à juste titre, sur les dispositions importantes de l’ouverture le dimanche, la réforme prud’homale et la libéralisation des autocars, d’autres mesures sont en train d’être adoptées en toute discrétion, bousculant des pans entiers du monde des affaires et du droit. Il en va ainsi des textes qui élargissent les missions des experts-comptables, les autorisant à l’avenir à réaliser des actes juridiques et de conseil.

    Ces textes sont censés poser les prémices de la grande fusion du chiffre et du droit, au mépris de toute préoccupation concernant de possibles conflits d’intérêts. 

    Depuis le cas Enron en 2001, l’affaire pourtant semblait entendue. La faillite du géant américain avait révélé combien la collusion entre les auditeurs et la direction, les conflits d’intérêts avaient été au cœur du scandale. Le groupe d’audit Arthur Andersen en est mort. Les États-Unis avaient par la suite adopté la loi Sarbanes-Oxley afin d’améliorer la transparence financière des entreprises, d’encadrer les missions des grands cabinets d’audit (KPMG, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers et Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) et de leur interdire de faire à la fois de l’audit et du conseil au sein des mêmes structures. Tous les pays européens avaient dans le même moment durci leur législation afin de prévenir les conflits d’intérêts dans ces professions.

  • Course aux armements
    La Chine teste avec succès un missile hypersonique / Sputnik France - Actualités - Prises de Position - Radio

    Rick Lehner, porte-parole de la Missile Defense Agency des Etats-Unis, s’est abstenu de tout commentaire concernant les capacités du Pentagone à abattre de tels missiles hypersoniques avec les systèmes utilisés actuellement par le département de la Défense US, a fait savoir Washington Free Beacon.

    Entretemps, la commission exécutive du Congrès américain sur la Chine a souligné dans son rapport du novembre 2014 que « les missiles hypersoniques peuvent rendre les systèmes de défense antimissile moins efficaces et potentiellement démodés ».

    « Compte tenu des résultats des quatre tests que la Chine a effectué ces 18 derniers mois, il est possible que la production de la première version du missile soit bientôt terminée et que dans un ou deux ans l’appareil soit mis en service », a estimé Rick Fisher, expert du Centre international pour la stratégie et l’évaluation.

    Le premier test du missile hypersonique Wu-14 s’est déroulé le 9 janvier 2014, le deuxième et le troisième ont eu lieu le 7 août et le 2 décembre respectivement.
    A présent quatre pays travaillent sur l’élaboration de l’arme hypersonique : les Etats-Unis, la Russie, la Chine et l’Inde.

  • China’s Troubling Robot Revolution -

    In 2014, Chinese factories accounted for about a quarter of the global ranks of industrial robots — a 54 percent increase over 2013. According to the International Federation of Robotics, it will have more installed manufacturing robots than any other country by 2017.

    Midea, a leading manufacturer of home appliances in the heavily industrialized province of Guangdong, plans to replace 6,000 workers in its residential air-conditioning division, about a fifth of the work force, with automation by the end of the year. Foxconn, which makes consumer electronics for Apple and other companies, plans to automate about 70 percent of factory work within three years, and already has a fully robotic factory in Chengdu.

    Chinese factory jobs may thus be poised to evaporate at an even faster pace than has been the case in the United States and other developed countries. That may make it significantly more difficult for China to address one of its paramount economic challenges: the need to rebalance its economy so that domestic consumption plays a far more significant role than is currently the case.

  • Terrorisme, insurrection ou résistance : cartographier et nommer « l’internationale djihadiste » - Visionscarto

    Ce billet a été conjointement publié sur le site d’OrientXXI.
    Depuis la fin des années 1990, on a vu naître et se développer des mouvements islamistes fondamentalistes transnationaux sans vraiment pouvoir en faire une cartographie plus précise que d’indiquer de vagues localisations géographiques où ces groupes opéraient, ou encore les lieux des attentats qui leur étaient attribués.

    Ces mouvements qui semblaient disparates et agir indépendamment les uns des autres, à l’exception d’Al-Qaida, se sont structurés petit à petit, tout au long des années 2000, et surtout après le début des révoltes arabes en 2011. Ils se sont transformés en organisations politiques, idéologiques et militaires,

  • Modi Under Fire for Calling Bangladesh’s Leader Tough, ‘Despite Being a Woman’ -

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India was ridiculed Monday on social networks for comments he made over the weekend during a state visit to Bangladesh, where he praised its prime minister for fighting terrorism “despite being a woman.”

    #Modi #machisme

  • Parents willing to pay millions for substitute <i>gaokao</i> takers - Global Times

    The reporter also said that in some other cases, all the personal information of a surrogate exam-taker used to register and take the gaokao is fabricated and his test scores and the forged identity could be sold to a student, who would use the forged identity to enroll in college.

    In such cases, surrogate exam-takers could earn 25,000 yuan ($4,030) for achieving scores that meet the requirements of first-tier universities and 20,000 yuan for second-tiered ones.

    One of the alleged surrogates surnamed Li told the Nandu Daily that he started to take the gaokao for other people when he was a college freshman and this is his fourth year. Li said he came from a poor family and had earned over 100,000 yuan, and helped recruit many other surrogate exam-takers for the agency.

    Calling for the installation of more advanced identification machines to confirm exam-takers’ identity rather than just relying on test monitors, the Nandu Daily report soon gained wide public attention.

    The MOE immediately released a statement on its website, vowing to expel the surrogate exam-takers from their universities, urging local police to conduct a thorough investigation.

    Last year, Henan police investigated and cracked down on a similar case. Over 80 people, including surrogate exam-takers, test monitors, education officials and parents were given punishments, ranging from warnings to job dismissals.

    The MOE also launched a campaign on June 2 against the sale of wireless devices frequently used for cheating in the gaokao.

    Various measures to prevent cheating have been implemented in different regions. Students in Sichuan and Liaoning provinces have to go through a fingerprint and iris-match process before being allowed to take the exam.

    Drones have been used in Henan Province to detect wireless signals, and finger vein identification has been used in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to bust surrogate exam-takers.

  • Europe’s Last Act ? by Joseph E. Stiglitz - Project Syndicate

    The troika’s forecasts have been wrong, and repeatedly so. And not by a little, but by an enormous amount. Greece’s voters were right to demand a change in course, and their government is right to refuse to sign on to a deeply flawed program.
    Having said that, there is room for a deal: Greece has made clear its willingness to engage in continued reforms, and has welcomed Europe’s help in implementing some of them. A dose of reality on the part of Greece’s creditors – about what is achievable, and about the macroeconomic consequences of different fiscal and structural reforms – could provide the basis of an agreement that would be good not only for Greece, but for all of Europe.
    Some in Europe, especially in Germany, seem nonchalant about a Greek exit from the eurozone. The market has, they claim, already “priced in” such a rupture. Some even suggest that it would be good for the monetary union.
    I believe that such views significantly underestimate both the current and future risks involved. A similar degree of complacency was evident in the United States before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. The fragility of America’s banks had been known for a long time – at least since the bankruptcy of Bear Stearns the previous March. Yet, given the lack of transparency (owing in part to weak regulation), both markets and policymakers did not fully appreciate the linkages among financial institutions.

    #Europe,#Grèce, #bulle financière

  • US media escalate anti-China propaganda over alleged hacking - World Socialist Web Site

    While the Obama administration has stopped short of directly accusing the Chinese government of involvement in the hacking, belligerent voices in the media and political establishment are already speaking as if Beijing’s involvement is certain.
    None of the media reports is based on actual journalism. Instead, the reporters involved, whether at the major daily newspapers or the television networks, are taking their cues from the White House, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
    The report by the New York Times, for example, “Chinese Hacking of US Data May Extend to Insurance Companies,” has all the appearances of a semi-official US government press release. It lays out, not demonstrable facts, but rather an argument that serves the political aims of the US ruling class.
    In the upside down, war-mongering narrative advanced by the Times, a growing wave of Chinese cyberattacks has been launched against the US, in spite of supposed efforts by the Obama administration to de-escalate cyber-tensions between the two governments.
    “The intrusions also suggest that President Obama’s efforts over the past three years to engage China’s leadership in a dialogue that would limit cyberattacks has failed. The pace of the attacks is unabated, and the scope has grown,” the Times warned.
    Painting the alleged hacks in grandiose and ominous terms, the Times proclaimed that the world is facing a “new era in cyberespionage,” in which the US population at large will face cyberattacks similar to those allegedly launched against US business and state institutions in recent years.
    “Spies are no longer stealing just American corporate and military trade secrets, but also personal information for some later purpose,” the newspaper warned. “The attackers seem to be amassing huge databases of personal information about Americans.”


  • What China Can Learn from G7’ s Failures to Improve Food Security of Poor

    Leaders of the G7 will soon meet in Germany to discuss issues of common interest in economic and foreign policy. This year, as in 2009 and 2012, agriculture and food security will be a significant item on the agenda. This is thus an opportune moment to look back at previous G7-led initiatives in this area and see how China can learn from these lessons.
    Investment in foreign farmland is growing. A large amount of this finance still flows between richer, industrialized countries, but investment in land for agriculture in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Europe is becoming a trend. China is an increasingly important part of this mix. In 2013, its foreign investment in agriculture reached US$ 7.2 billion, about 20 times more than a decade ago. So what can China learn from the G7 when designing its own investment plans?

    #Chine, #G7,#Agriculture, #Achats_de_terre

  • India is building millions of toilets, but that’s the easy part - The Washington Post

    MUKHRAI, India — Rameshwar Natholi received an unexpected gift from the government re
    cently when workmen descended on his modest home in this rural village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and built a brand-new toilet in his front yard.

    Natholi, a farmworker, said he never wanted one. Most people in his village have been relieving themselves in the open fields for years.

    But as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign to provide new sanitary toilets to more than 60 million homes by 2019, Mukhrai has been in the midst of a toilet-building boom since April.

    More than 53 percent of Indian homes — about 70 percent in the villages — lack toilets. Poor sanitation and contaminated water cause 80 percent of the diseases afflicting rural India, and diarrhea is a leading killer of children younger than 5, UNICEF says.

    #Inde, #toilettes

  • South Korea test-fires missile that can strike all of North Korea - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

    SEOUL—South Korea on June 3 test-launched a new ballistic missile that can hit all of North Korea, the president’s office said, developed under a new agreement with the United States that lets Seoul extend the weapon’s range to up to 800 kilometers.

    President Park Geun-hye made a rare visit to a missile base on the west coast to watch the launch of the guided missile, which will be a key part of South Korea’s defense against its neighbor’s nuclear and missile threat, her office said.

    “The test demonstrated improved ballistic missile capability that can strike all parts of North Korea swiftly, and with precision, in the event of armed aggression or provocation,” the presidential Blue House said in a statement.


  • US imbalanced mentality stirs tension in South China Sea -

    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed its resentment over U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s latest comments on the South China Sea issue at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). The spokesperson for the foreign ministry Hua Chunying said that since the United States is not a country directly involved in the South China Sea issue, there should not be a problem between China and the United States.

    The foreign ministry’s response touched upon the essence of the issue. The spokesman pointed out that it was the United States that caused the recent flare-up on the issue. CNN’s exclusive coverage played up the tension, which also projected the false image that the United States was part of the dispute. But in reality, the United States is not a South China Sea country, however hard the Pentagon tries to associate itself with the waters.

    The South China Sea issue is only among the problems as well as fields of cooperation between China and the United States. The purposeful publicity of the South China Sea issue, primarily initiated by the U.S. military, has diverted the public attention to other aspects of China-U.S. bilateral ties.

    Even in the United States, the Pentagon and the Department of State are divided on the issue. The Department of State has generally been mild but the Pentagon remained fairly tough; it even threatened to enter the 12-nautical mile range of China’s islands in the South China Sea.

    The U.S. military is suffering from budget reductions; therefore, keeping the South China Sea issue warm may help military industries in the United States earn extra revenue, since the current Ukraine issue and ISIS are unable to give the U.S. public as much pressure.

  • Mutual interests underlie a strong China–Pakistan relationship | East Asia Forum

    Mutual interests underlie a strong China–Pakistan relationship
    4 June 2015
    Author: Ghulam Ali, Peking University

    China seems to have abandoned its cautious approach to relations with Pakistan and has adopted a policy of active and deep engagement. This new approach will most likely increase Beijing’s influence in Islamabad.

    During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, China announced US$46 billion worth of investment in the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


    This ambitious mega-project intends to link China’s Kashgar to Gwadar Port in Pakistan through a network of roads. Both sides are also planning railways, pipelines and fibre optic networks. This is the largest deal in the history of two countries. If the implementation of the CPEC moves smoothly, China may double its investment.

    Pakistan has been going through an unabated challenge with terrorism and chronic political instability. Yet, China still decided to undertake this mega-investment, which shows its deep stake in Pakistan. The changing geopolitical environment might shed a light on this audacious decision.

    The gravity of world politics is shifting from the West to Asia, with China at its centre. This has increased competition between the US (the established superpower) and China (the rising power) who are both seeking to gain a strategic foothold, especially in the Asia Pacific region. The US’s ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy, intensifying territorial disputes in the South China Sea and a resurging Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are all ringing Chinese alarm bells.

  • Promising protection plan comes late in the game for China’s drying, degraded waters | CER

    Last week China’s Ministry of Land and Resources released a new report (pdf) on how much of the country’s groundwater was too dangerous to even touch in 2014: 61.5%. That is as bad as it sounds—in fact it’s an all-time high, an increase of 1.9% from the year before. Yet, broadly speaking, China has more than enough water at the national level. In 2013, total water resources stood at 2.7 trillion cubic meters, while consumption was 618 billion cubic meters, according to the China Water Resources Bulletin for that year (doc).

    The outlook gets a whole lot drier if you dip below the headline figure.

    Nationally, per capita water resources were about 2,072 cubic meters by the World Bank’s calculations, only 34% of the world average. Inefficient irrigation in the parched northern regions wastes almost half the water used on crops there, while nearly 93% of power generation in China requires water on a daily basis. In eleven provinces and municipalities – including Beijing – per capita renewable water resources fall below the World Bank’s poverty mark of 1,000 square meters, on par with many countries in the Middle East, according to the Hong Kong-based nonprofit China Water Risk. Those provinces also account for four of the top five in terms of agricultural output, are responsible for 45% of gross domestic product and are home to 510 million people.

    Recent policy announcements like potentially landmark Water Action Plan made public on April 16 show that China’s leaders recognize the need to rein in water consumption and pollution in the key areas of agriculture and industry. Savings in just one of these areas will not be enough, and currently despoiled water resources will need time to recover; opportunities to conserve water must also be balanced against possible resulting pollution and climate-warming CO2 releases that could exacerbate water sources’ unreliability. If coordinated conservation policies that balance food and energy security are not deployed, it will be hard to avoid further expansion of the already over-budget, much-criticized and possibly unsustainable South-North Water Diversion Project into China’s western territories.

  • Industrial reforms: What is North Korea waiting for? | NK News - North Korea News

    From around early 2013, the North Korean government began to implement a series of rather ambitious reforms. These reforms resembled something the world has seen before, namely, those of Deng Xiaoping in China from the late 1970s.

    Reforms began, as they did in China, with agriculture. Farmers were allowed to organize into family-based work teams, given fixed plots of land and given a fixed 30 percent of the harvest. This represented a massive change: from the Stalinist, hyper-centralized, state-dominated collective to family-based de facto private farming. The new system was, as expected, a success, with a bumper harvest in 2013. If anything, the 2014 result was even more impressive: In spite of a drought, the harvest was even better than the year before (a drought may have led to famine under the old system).

    The next prong of the reform package was to be in industry. Reform of industrial management and property relations was expected to begin this year. The new system was set out in a special decision issued by the Korean Worker’s Party Central Committee and the Cabinet of Ministers. This set of industrial reforms is known as the “May 30th Measures.” They envision that industrial managers, though still appointed by the party-state, would be allowed to act as de facto entrepreneurs, permitted to buy raw materials and spare parts from anyone they choose. They will also be allowed to sell finished products at market prices to interested buyers. They will also be given the right to hire and fire at will, and choose how much to pay their workers (far more in practice than what has been the state wage).

  • China link-up an opportunity and a challenge for Pakistan | East Asia Forum

    After signing more than 50 agreements with China providing for US$46 billion in investments in Pakistan’s energy, road and rail network sectors, construction has begun on the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project will connect the Chinese city of Kashgar in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with the deep water Chinese-built Gwadar Port at the mouth of Straits of Hormuz. While the project offers opportunities for Pakistan, it is not without its challenges.