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June 13, 20216:48 AM CEST

G7 rivals China with grand infrastructure plan

Steve Holland, Guy Faulconbridge

The Group of Seven richest democracies sought on Saturday to counter China’s growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that could rival President Xi Jinping’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative.

The G7, whose leaders are meeting in southwestern England, has been searching for a coherent response to the growing assertiveness of Xi after China's surging economic and military rise over the past 40 years.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders hope their plan, known as the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, will provide a transparent infrastructure partnership to help narrow the $40 trillion needed by developing nations by 2035, the White House said.

"This is not just about confronting or taking on China," a senior official in Biden's administration said. "But until now we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business."

The United States later said there was a G7 consensus on the need for a shared approach to China on trade and human rights.

[...]

The re-emergence of China as a leading global power is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy's, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms, it has become the world's second-largest economy and is a global leader in a range of new technologies.

The U.S. official said until now, the West had failed to offer a positive alternative to the "lack of transparency, poor environmental and labour standards, and coercive approach" of the Chinese government that had left many countries worse off.

According to a Refinitiv database, as of mid-last year, more than 2,600 projects at a cost of $3.7 trillion were linked to the BRI, although the Chinese foreign ministry said last June that about 20% of projects had been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the G7 plan, the United States will work with the U.S. Congress to supplement existing development financing and to "collectively catalyze hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment", the White House said.

[...]

https://www.reuters.com/world/g7-counter-chinas-belt-road-with-infrastructure-project-senior-us-official-2021-06-12/

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On 4/6/2021 at 10:23 AM, BansheeOne said:

Put here for context:

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Taiwan to open diplomatic facility in Lithuania, angering China

4h ago

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry announced plans to open a representative office in Lithuania. The office will bear the name "Taiwan" despite Beijing's "One China" policy.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Tuesday that Taipei would open a "representative office" bearing the name Taiwan in Vilnius, the first of its kind to include Taiwan in the name in Europe.

Calling the move "significantly meaningful," Wu said that "Taiwan and Lithuania are both at the strategic forefront of defending democratic institutions". 

"I believe that through the close connection of shared values, the two countries' peoples can work together to play a positive role in the international community and contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity,"  Wu said.

Lithuania, like most of the world, does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Countries that do, for the most part, are then frozen out by China, which claims Taiwan as its territory.

Formally, the new representative office in Vilnius will be called the "Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania." Come fall, Lithuania will also have a diplomatic mission in Taipei.

There have been signals of closer diplomatic cooperation in recent months leading up to Tuesday's announcement.

In June, Lithuania announced it was donating 20,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine to Taiwan. In May, Lithuania quit the 17+1 cooperation forum with China and other Central and Eastern European nations, labeling it "divisive."

What is in a name?

The last time Taiwan opened a representative office in Europe was in the Slovak capital Bratislava in 2003. That diplomatic mission is formally known as the "Taipei Representative Office."

Czechia has also pushed for closer diplomatic ties with Taipei, canceling a sister city agreement with Beijing in 2019 and instead opting for one with Taipei.  Last year, the Czech senate leader Milos Vystrcil made a high-profile visit to Taiwan, upsetting Beijing.

Taiwan only opened its first de facto embassy under its name in Somaliland in 2020. An effort in Guyana to open a trade and investment office was aborted in February due to pressure from Beijing.

[...]

https://m.dw.com/en/taiwan-to-open-diplomatic-facility-in-lithuania-angering-china/a-58566875

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I suppose China's policy of suppressing Taiwan will meet the same fate eventually as West Germany's Hallstein doctrine (attempting to prevent diplomatic recognition of the GDR).

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14 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I suppose China's policy of suppressing Taiwan will meet the same fate eventually as West Germany's Hallstein doctrine (attempting to prevent diplomatic recognition of the GDR).

 

West Germany eventually annexed East Germany, so  I assume you're hoping the analogy you mention only goes so far. 

In terms of Lithuanian games with Taiwan, let's see if there is a Sino-Russian military exercise in the Baltic Sea in the next few years. 

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6 hours ago, glenn239 said:

West Germany eventually annexed East Germany

That's a very, very specific way to look at it - and so unique that I dare say that it's utter, feckless bullshit. An annexation is the incorporation of a territory by force. Nothing of the sort happened.

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7 hours ago, Ssnake said:

That's a very, very specific way to look at it - and so unique that I dare say that it's utter, feckless bullshit. An annexation is the incorporation of a territory by force. Nothing of the sort happened.

It was a totally one sided unification though. AFAICT none of the east German laws or institutions continued, and all of the state owned industry was privatised.

In contrast for example look at Czechia, where despite the fall of the old system income inequality has remained low and much of the state owned industry was retained (including the famous brewery), i.e. there is still some faint socialistic legacy.

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1 hour ago, KV7 said:

It was a totally one sided unification though.

And yet, entirely voluntary. Some GDR breweries made it, too. And the degree of income equality isn't exceptionally high in Germany either. Not sure WTH you're alluding to. I mean, seriously, what is the great legacy of socialism other than oppression and impoverishment? Which parts should be preserved?

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39 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

And yet, entirely voluntary.

I can confirm that.  The negotiations on the part of Eastern Germany were led by a government that had received an order from a parliament that was elected in free (free!) elections. It was quite consciously (!) decided in East Germany to subordinate the GDR completely to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany.  Everything was set out in a bilateral contract.  That not everything was optimal, ok, that's the way it is.

And we had a good six months to make a decision in East Germany.  It was not like in Crimea - so "ex and hopp" with the Russian army as "election campaigners" with the rifle in the neck of the voter ..

Edited by Stefan Kotsch
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I suppose there were quite a few old cadres that hated the process with their guts, and which are still resentful. And for them - well, their material situation has become much better too, they are better off with their pensions than other East German pensioners, but they lost their grip to power, and there's no real substitute for it.

Of course not everything went exactly the way everyone expected it in their own individual minds. That was an impossibility. Given the prevailing conditions and the nature of the task - unprecedented, big, complex - inevitably some things went wrong, sometimes even badly so. But only with  the benefit of hindsight one could make suggestions how it could have been done better (and even then I remain skeptical that time travellers could actually "fix" the reunification process without making things worse in other areas.

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47 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

And yet, entirely voluntary. Some GDR breweries made it, too. And the degree of income equality isn't exceptionally high in Germany either. Not sure WTH you're alluding to. I mean, seriously, what is the great legacy of socialism other than oppression and impoverishment? Which parts should be preserved?

In fairness, you did keep the Berlin Creche's. And the Mig 29's. Probably should have held onto the Hinds and the Hips though...

I think the English word 'Reintegration' works far better than Annexation, which is too redolent of the unfortunate events of the 1930's.

As far as old cadres, there is quite a good podcast on Spycraft that suggests the Stasi set up an old buddies organisation disturbingly similar to the fictional Odessa, and funnelled money out the country. Whats surprising is there was so little effort by them to mess with German democratic efforts in the East.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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And at the request of the East German side, it was stiffly stipulated - an East German KGB officer may never again be in a position in the state administration or in the parliaments of the Federal Republic, the federal states or the municipalities.

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I think the English word 'Reintegration' works far better than Annexation, which is too redolent of the unfortunate events of the 1930's.

DDR was more integrated into BDR economy than people think. West Germany had certain agreements regarding trade that made integration more straightforward (I am simplfiying here).

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I suppose there were quite a few old cadres that hated the process with their guts, and which are still resentful.

There was a demonstration in May 1990 against reunification, apparently 20,000 people attended it - a drop in the ocean. I have only managed to find this photo:

Never again Germany
Against the annexation of DDR
Against German nationalism
nie_wieder_deutschland_ditfurth_roth.jpg

Edited by alejandro_
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😜 The photo shows, this demonstration took place in Frankfurt / Main in West Germany.  😜

 

But, yes, the real majority of the East Germans wanted the unification with West Germany.

Edited by Stefan Kotsch
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3 hours ago, Stefan Kotsch said:

And at the request of the East German side, it was stiffly stipulated - an East German KGB officer may never again be in a position in the state administration or in the parliaments of the Federal Republic, the federal states or the municipalities.

I remember reading about a Mig29 pilot who from West Germany, who was working with East Germans. The intent was to try and get an integrated airforce. Unfortunately they kept dismissing all the former DDR pilots because, as a condition of service, they were expected to inform on fellow officers. Even having your name on an informant list seemingly was enough to get thrown out.

 

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15 hours ago, Ssnake said:

That's a very, very specific way to look at it - and so unique that I dare say that it's utter, feckless bullshit. An annexation is the incorporation of a territory by force. Nothing of the sort happened.

Sorry, I wasn't trying to make a point on the German unification.  I was making the point that you might be overestimating the chances of Taiwan to ultimately stay independent.

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My remarks were specifically limited to the 1950s/1960s where the (West) German minister of the exterior Walter Hallstein established a policy of "active dissuasion" of foreign countries to recognize the GDR as a separate state. It worked for a while, until it didn't.

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23 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Sorry, I wasn't trying to make a point on the German unification.  I was making the point that you might be overestimating the chances of Taiwan to ultimately stay independent.

Taiwan's independence will be determined by the US/PRC power dynamic. If the US is ever unable or unwilling to prevent the PRC from militarily isolating the island, then the government there will likely capitulate. I don't think that is strong possibility in the next decade.

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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I idly wonder if a nautical version of the Berlin Airlift would work in a situation like that?

Not over a long enough time period, certainly. Plus if the US was willing to put that level of effort in, it would be odd for it to be unwilling to actually get into a shooting war over the issue.

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18 minutes ago, Josh said:

Not over a long enough time period, certainly. Plus if the US was willing to put that level of effort in, it would be odd for it to be unwilling to actually get into a shooting war over the issue.

The question is not whether the US is willing to enter into a shooting war, but who will win that war if it occurs.   We will know when China has concluded they will win because that's when they will fight.   Therefore as you said upthread, probably no change to the status quo ante in the next 10 years.

Edited by glenn239
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