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Boris Johnson launches new initiative against Beijing's "expansionism" among poorer countries


Boris Johnson ordered diplomats to launch a new campaign against Chinese "expansionism" after Beijing was accused of pressuring Barbados to remove the Queen as head of state.

The island is one of dozens of countries that are part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, where Beijing lends money to poorer countries to help fund critical infrastructure projects such as ports and high-speed rail lines.

With China's ability to take control of the completed project if countries default – and often demand preferential trade agreements as a condition of the loans – this has resulted in a # 10 source covering much of it the United States is known as the “Chinese Chokehold” in developing countries.

Mr Johnson, fearing that the economic damage caused by Covid-19 will make countries even more vulnerable to domination, calls for China to be "more transparent" about its financial dealings with other countries.

Boris Johnson ordered diplomats to launch a new campaign against Chinese "expansionism" after Beijing was accused of pressuring Barbados to remove the Queen as head of state. Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping with Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London during his state visit to the UK in 2015

Barbados, which gained independence in 1966, announced last week that it would become a republic in 2021: Governor General Dame Sandra Mason said, "It is time to put our colonial past completely behind … Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state ".

US intelligence agencies shared with Britain have indicated that the Chinese paymasters have put pressure on Barbados to cut its colonial ties.

Tom Tugendhat, Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said the incident showed how the Chinese "incorporate new nations into their own imperial order" by using "debt diplomacy".

In today's email from Sunday he wrote: “Barbados is possibly the newest trophy in Beijing's imperial pearl necklace. The big game has given way to big gambling as countries borrow from Chinese state banks and bet they can repay them before the standard clauses fall due. & # 39;

A # 10 source has called China's Belt and Road initiative a "chokehold" for developing countries

A # 10 source has called China's Belt and Road initiative a "chokehold" for developing countries

He adds, "We should remind our Caribbean cousins ​​that a constitutional monarch, especially under our incomparable queen, is the best defense against tyrants."

The Ministry of Defense figures have shown for the first time how far China is in relation to poorer countries. Money owed to China accounts for almost a third of some countries' GDP.

Pakistan tops the list of recipients, with Islamabad owing China a total of £ 27 billion. The most indebted country is Cambodia: The £ 5 billion owed accounts for 29.5 percent of GDP.

Other main recipients are Laos with 26.1 percent of GDP, Zambia with 23.4 percent, Ethiopia with 17.7 percent and Belarus with 13 percent.

Mr Johnson's new aspiration represents a sharp change in policy from previous Tory administrations: Theresa May Chancellor Philip Hammond urged the UK to fully support China's global investment goal.

A # 10 source said, "As the coronavirus ravages developing countries, many are in a Chinese stranglehold due to the enormous debts they owe."

A # 10 source said, "As the coronavirus ravages developing countries, many are in a Chinese stranglehold due to the enormous debts they owe."

Mr Hammond recently lamented an "anti-Chinese outbreak" in the party after Tory MPs objected to tech company Huawei assuming a key role in building the UK's 5G network.

And in 2017, a year after leaving Downing Street, David Cameron announced that he was helping to set up a $ 1 billion UK-China fund to explore collaboration opportunities between to look for the two technology countries.

A # 10 source said, "As the coronavirus ravages developing countries, many find themselves in a Chinese chokehold because of the huge debts they owe.

“The Belt and Road Initiative is an expansive Chinese Marshall Plan. For example, Beijing is funding a high-speed rail line in Laos that costs more than a quarter of the country's GDP.

"China is doing this in the least transparent way – by providing high-yield, unsustainable loans that are secured against the countries' natural resources." You run the risk of being forced to sell to future generations to pay off their present debts. "

The source added, "As a member of the UN Security Council and the G20, China must meet its commitments and end its chronic lack of transparency."

Charlie Robertson, author of The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa's Economic Revolution and an expert on Chinese "debt diplomacy," said, "China is doing what Britain did in the Victorian era – exporting its savings to other countries as an exercise." global dominance.

This has inevitably led to conspiracy theories about China in hopes that countries will default so they can seize critical infrastructure. "

TOM TUGENDHAT MP: Beijing wants to do with loans what the Soviet Union couldn't do with tanks

By Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee for the Sunday Post

Across the world, the communist rulers of China plant flags at the speed of a Victorian adventurer claiming land and sea that others once thought were their own or neutral.

With debt instead of gunboats, the Chinese are tying new nations into their own imperial order.

It looks like Barbados is the newest trophy in Beijing's imperial pearl necklace.

Last week the island announced that the monarchs of Britain would no longer rule over it after nearly 400 years. Not that this queen ever actually did.

Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London on the first day of his state visit to the UK

Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London on the first day of his state visit to the UK

As a constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth never exercised power over the 300,000 residents.

Barbados is and has been an independent constitutional domain and democracy in the Commonwealth for decades.

So why the change? What prompted the Barbadians to find a new head of state and end the symbolic rule of the most respected head of state in the world?

If there is one thing we know for sure, it is not what the queen said or did that made the change happen. In fact, the UK government has done nothing either.

The move we are seeing has everything to do with a new struggle for power. The Great Game has given way to Great Gamble as countries borrow from Chinese state banks and bet they can repay them before the standard clauses fall due.

The Queen and Prince Philip bid farewell to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Buckingham Palace in 2015

The Queen and Prince Philip bid farewell to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at Buckingham Palace in 2015

Ports, stadiums, roads and railways are built in a never-never fashion with the firm expectation that the loan will never be drawn.

But like the Pied Piper, the temptation of free money masks a hidden agenda – this is not about development, but about domination.

All over the world, we are beginning to see the real cost of cheap credit. It is true that the Sri Lankan government was not asked to adhere to the principles of good governance when it signed the loans for the construction of the port in Hambantota, as may have been requested by more principled lenders. But that didn't mean that the money came unconditionally.

Unlike a World Bank loan or UK development aid, there was no renegotiation in the event of default. It triggered an immediate withdrawal. China has signed a 99-year lease for a major port in the Indian Ocean.

The same thing has happened in countries around the world, as debt is cheaper than gunpowder – a Chinese invention of course – and much more effective. Chinese bankers and their cheap money loans do the work that was once done by Royal Navy officers and corporate men on sloops and frigates sailing out of London and Amsterdam.

Queen Elizabeth II inspects an honor guard when she arrives in Barbados on October 31, 1977

Queen Elizabeth II inspects an honor guard when she arrives in Barbados on October 31, 1977

Of course, there is no lack of flattery. Last year, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness signed the Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing – a series of large-scale infrastructure projects funded with Chinese money – and received All-Star treatment at the Shanghai Trade Forum.

A few years earlier it had been his turn to friend Stuart. The then Prime Minister of Barbados joined the program known as the New Silk Road and even discussed cooperation with the People's Liberation Army.

China is trying what the Soviets failed to do with guerrillas and revolutionaries. You are trying to rewrite the global operating system. And they are successful. International cooperation from trade to technology does not just take place, it is organized.

Groups with dreary names meet in boring rooms to discuss regulations on everything from radio communication wavelengths to website naming. It's not exciting, but it's important.

Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London

Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London

So far this has been based on principles we have written. British lawyers, insurers, and bankers were the lifeblood of the empire, and the rules they wrote down made world trade.

Their principles of individual rights, privacy and the rule of law, which they have coded into the way we live, still determine the way we work. China's communist rulers have cracked down on such principles and the international rule-based order that enables them.

Beijing's new colonists have no time for independent actors on the world stage and see centralized control as the key to success. And that's a challenge for all of us. Because not only those who have agreed to bow to the new emperor will live with the change.

We are all under the shadow of a new throne. China seeks to replicate its own repressive system of internal leadership and control on a global scale. Just as their 34 provinces (35 including Taiwan) must obey the rules of the Communist Party's general secretary, so too must the new "colonial" outposts vote as directed.

In just a few years, China has grown from one UN agency to four – and its decisions can be felt.

Take the case of one of them, the 155 year old International Telecommunication Union.

This recently discussed the move away from the Western “distributed network” model for the Internet, over which the state has little power, to a model based in capitals around the world that reflects the authoritarian stance of its Chinese Secretary General Houlin Zhao.

India is without a doubt what it all really means – Chinese princes are once again threatening their borders. And we should wake up too. What should we do about it? How do we avoid another Imperial clash, or worse, a conquest?

The Queen pictured with Barbados Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

The Queen pictured with Barbados Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

We can learn from our past. Just as we built the greatest empire the world has ever known, we also dismantled it.

We know that the principles we encoded in the post-war treaties and institutions helped nations thrive and determine their own futures.

They prevented Soviet expansion and helped bring about the longest period of peaceful global growth in history. We can do that again.

We must bring people together under the rule of law and the principles of individuality, sovereignty and freedom.

And if we are to untangle China's debt traps, we need generous support for real projects, and we need to prevent corrupt profits – and those who control them – from hiding in UK jurisdiction.

Foreign policy from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean is not just about foreigners. It is also about us and the protection of our values ​​and interests. It's also about remembering what matters and letting our friends know that is important to us.

Today in Bridgetown, Barbados, we should remind our Caribbean cousins ​​that a constitutional monarch, especially under our incomparable Queen, is the best defense against tyrants we know.

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