International Relations Current Affairs - 2020

Pakistan, China kick off ambitious CPEC project

Pakistan and China kicked off their ambitious 46 billion US Dollar China- Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) project.

It was kicked off after China successfully acquired over 2,000 acres of land in restive Balochistan to develop the strategic Gwadar port.

Earlier both countries had signed a deal in this regard to give the usage right of the land to a Chinese company.

Under this ambitious project, China is expected to invest around 1.62 billion US dollars in the Gwadar project. It includes construction of an expressway linking the harbour and coastline with a rail link, breakwater. It also includes other 9 projects which is expected to be completed in three to five years.

China- Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) project

  • CPEC seeks to connect the Gwadar port in Pakistan to the Xinjiang region in China by means of highways, airways and railways and also deploy pipeline to transport oil and gas.
  • The corridor will also act as a trade route for Chinese goods and commodities meant for the Middle East and Africa.
  • India has already objected to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as it passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • However, China has defended the project saying it is a commercial venture aimed at improving livelihoods of local people in Pakistan and strengthening the infrastructure in this region.

China condemns US warship’s passage near disputed islands in South China Sea

China has strongly condemned US warship’s passage near disputed artificial islands in the South China Sea spiraling tensions between both nations.

On 22 October 2015, guided missile destroyer USS Lassen had entered the 12-nautical mile zone claimed by China around Zhubi reefs in the Spratly archipelago in South China Sea.

China is claiming its full sovereignty over these disputed islands and its adjacent waters in South China Sea.

  • China’s Argument: Patrolling and non-permitted entry of US Ship in Spratly archipelago has threatened its sovereignty and security interests and also harmed the regional peace and stability.
  • US Argument: The warship has entered in this region as it is having right of freedom of navigation in international waters and does not require any prior permission.

It is said that the US warship had undertaken this patrolling operation as part of its Freedom of Navigation programme aimed at challenging China’s claims over the artificial islands created in this disputed waters.

Background of Disputes in South China Sea

  • Disputes in South China Sea is fight mainly between China, Philippines, Vietnam over the  territory and sovereignty of Spratly and Parcels islands in South China Sea along with other atolls, reefs and rocky outcrops.
  • Importance of these islands: They are strategically located in South China Sea which is major international shipping route as world’s half merchant ships passes through it.
  • They are also having reserves of natural resources around them including petroleum.
  • China’s claim: It is saying that major portion of these islands belong to them as part of the historical events and area defined by Nine Dash Line.
  • Under its claim, China already has started and even completed building artificial islands and even strategic runways for mobilising its airforce from these islands.
  • India’s position: Explicitly supports and believes in international laws and arbitration process for resolving the disputes for regional stability.