Saturday, September 14, 2013

China stitches up (SCO) Silk Rd By Pepe Escobar

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) shakes hand with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on September 13, 2013.
By Pepe Escobar
While the whole world was terrified by the prospect of the Obama administration bombing Syria, Chinese President Xi Jinping was busy doing the Silk Road.
One has to love that famous Deng Xiaoping dictum; "Always maintain a low profile". This being the second-largest economy in the world, "low profile" always packs a mighty punch. Cue to September 7, in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, when Xi officially proposed no less than a New Silk Road in co-production with Central Asia.
Xi's official "economic belt along the Silk Road" is a supremely ambitious, Chinese-fueled trans-Eurasian integration mega-project, from the Pacific to the Baltic Sea; a sort of mega free-trade zone. Xi's rationale seems to be unimpeachable; the belt is
the home of "close to 3 billion people and represents the biggest market in the world with unparalleled potential".
Talk about a "wow" factor. But does that mean that China is taking over all of the Central Asian "stans"? It's not that simple.
A roomful of mirrors 
On Xi's Silk Road trip, the final destination was Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan's capital, for the 13th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). And to cap it all off, nothing less than a graphic reminder of the stakes involved in the New Great Game in Eurasia; a joint meeting on the sidelines of the SCO, featuring Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

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