politics

EU, Japan sign agreement to bypass China's 'new Silk Road'

29 Comments
By Damon WAKE

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© 2019 AFP

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29 Comments
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Great news

14 ( +19 / -5 )

In my opinion it is going to be hard for the EU to get political clout with Asian or African countries because of the history of colonialism.

The countries will gladly take the money, but influence takes time and more importantly TRUST!

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

The hypocrisy and double standards of the European Union is on another level. They say that we see what we know, the fact that, so few people see their disgusting and unbelievable hypocrisy is really sad, because it tells you how little people know about what is happening in Europe.

The so called 17+1 countries are almost all part of the EU, so therefore, they are not "in EU's backyard" they ARE the EU. Second, they are not "eastern European" they are "central" and "south" European. Third, why is Chinese investment in those countries seen as if they are poor and they need China to invest in them, but Chinese investment in the Northwest European countries seen as "big boys doing business"?

Let's look at the facts, something missing from this, and all other articles. The facts are that, Chinese investment in Germany alone is several TIMES more than Chinese investment in all these 17 countries part of the EU. The reason China has lumped them together is because their markets are too small for individual investments. Germany alone has more population than these 17 countries combined. That's the reason why they are grouped together.

Why is it OK for China to invest in Germany, France, UK and Italy but not in Poland, Hungary or Greece? German and French PM's went to China to beg on their knees for Chinese investments, then as soon as they return to Europe, they start criticizing Hungary for doing business with China. Are you serious? Is nobody seeing this hypocrisy?

England was the first country to join the Chinese-led bank. So does that mean England is now looking Eastward, and they need EU to help them with more money? Why is that not the narrative? Why is that the narrative for SOME countries, but not for others?

And i haven't even talked about the way the EU, driven by France, is destroying the periphery countries in the most cunning and despicable way possible while smiling and pretending to care about "the European family". For example, France is trying to destroy the Bulgarian transportation industry because we are dominating on the market, and French over paid labor unionized firms can't compete. So what do they do? The French president comes up with a law essentially killing our industry in the name of some BS excuse like "they're not paid good enough", which is an utter and despicable cunning LIE. So they are killing our industries and then get mad at us for welcoming Chinese investment? So we are not allowed to do business with China, only France and Germany are allowed to do business with China?

Next, the German hypocrisy. I'll just give one recent example. Volkswagen recently announced plans to build their largest manufacturing plant in another country. The choices were between Bulgaria and Turkey. Bulgaria, a member of the EU vs Turkey, human-rights violating, dictator ruled non-EU member. Just few days ago they announced they will be building it in Turkey instead of supporting a fellow member of the EU. But that's not all. It gets worse. It turns out, Erdogan had not only given them a tons of money to make them build the plant there, but the deal they've made turned out to be against the EU rules for free trade. So Germany's largest company, that is partly owned by the State of Germany, is VIOLATING the EU rules in order to benefit by building a very expensive high value factory in a supposed enemy of the EU instead of choosing a democratic FELLOW member of the EU. Yep, that's Germany for you. Don't expect to hear that from DW.

But France is so much worse. Their push for internal trade restrictions are against the EU rules, but they don't give a damn. So they push for laws that benefit their own industries by destroying the industries of fellow members by passing laws that are against the EU, and then they go in front of the camera talking about the European family and how THEY -- the superior ones -- must help them -- the inferior ones.

England did the right thing leaving. I am sure they will not be the last. I don't know about other nations but public opinion in BG is rapidly shifting against the EU. People see their nasty hypocrisy and double standards and they don't like it.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Really wise move by PM Abe, "thinking outside the box". Like-minded, free, Japan-loving nations like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Iran etc would be excellent locations for Japan and EU to fund the infrastructure and highway. Getting faster transport of booming Japanese goods to the EU is the ultimate goal. Communist China wont like this at all!

11 ( +17 / -6 )

excellent,I think the European Union can give so much to Japan in infrastructures and vice-versa.

Together we can block the sneaky Chinese invasion.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

How can Japan and EU bypass China ? It is purely a joke, if not a stupidity. Any grade 3 level kid would know that, even in Japan.

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

Well, on the other hand, some Japanese still believe that Japan is a part of the west, and some Europeans still confused Japan as China. That maybe the reason for the agreement.

-16 ( +7 / -23 )

I hope that Japan and Europe can get even closer in this period of uncertainty to face the global challenges that lie ahead. jp - eu

10 ( +14 / -4 )

And many Chinese still believe that the west in one unique entity and brainwashed by a dictatorial regime.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Seems like Japan and the EU have chosen US dictatorship over Chinese cooperation. Both Japan and the EU have forgotten America First and Make America Great, Both of these aims can only be made by making every nation second, third... and by weakening other nations. All the wars started by the US over the past 80 years have been with the aim of making the US world dominator, world dictator. Would be better if Japan and EU became more independent, more self-serving rather than kowtow to the US.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

If Japan wants to do this Silk Road directly with EU avoid the route China/Eurasia continental bypass and go forward North Pole (Arctic) route by sea ships and ice hovering...That's still a dream not easy to come true.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

And many Chinese still believe that the west in one unique entity and brainwashed by a dictatorial regime.

well at least outside the US anyway

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seems like Japan and the EU have chosen US dictatorship over Chinese cooperation.

Between the two countries you've mentioned, only one is an actual dictatorship.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

China is practically in conflict with all the Asian nations for its illegal activities, a state that behaves like a bully with smaller nations, with blackmail and intimidation ...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@William77

And many Chinese still believe that the west in one unique entity and brainwashed by a dictatorial regime.

The same can be said of Japan, as demonstrated by the constant use of the term 'Ōbei'

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Like-minded, free, Japan-loving nations like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Iran etc would be excellent locations for Japan and EU to fund the infrastructure and highway. 

Only if you approve of dealing with brutal dictatorships with atrocious human rights records. Japan is happy to work with tyrannies like Myanmar, but I think Abe would have a hard time convincing the EU to prop up genocidal regimes like Myanmar or belligerent theocratic dictatorships like Iran.

I'm firmly in favour of the EU and Japan counterbalancing China's annexation-by-debt polices, but I can't see Myanmar as the best place to start.

And just for information, few intelligent people would describe Vietnam, Myanmar and Iran as 'free' like Japan or EU.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I’m not sure if the Japanese are the ones to turn to for infrastructure and the building of roads and highways. Their perception of scale is small. 30 million plus metropolis and they have little dinky two lane highways going into the capital. An accident or a car breakdown and easily a two hour traffic jam. The Tomei and Chuo should be ten lane highways five each direction. Just supply the capital at low rates.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"In a bifurcated world dominated by the U.S. and China, a lot of places around the world are looking for European leadership to present an alternative," another senior official said.

Um...? Who exactly?

The EU is struggling by against its own vastly bloated infrastructure and the thinly veiled shows of unity are nothing but smoke and mirrors, hiding the reality that it is deeply dived along, geographical and political lines. North vs South and Eastern vs West.

With Brexit dominating everything and everyone, migration tearing away at the heart of the European Project and populism mounting against the very idea of a European Bloc its not surprising that the rest of the world is staying clear and questioning how long before something gives and looking for alternatives. If China is willing to dole out the cash now, and in big chunks, most are prepared to overlook the strings attached.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

China is basically an economic juggernaut. There's absolutely no stopping the train now. It's too late.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

As another Bulgarian I have to disagree with @IloveCoffee. Him saying "public opinion in BG is rapidly shifting against the EU." is a total fabrication. No such thing is happening even if the Russophilic propaganda he is surely watching is telling him otherwise.

The meat of his comment is also unresonable. He is blaming the EU for what one company in one country is doing?! That's not how any of this works. Also notice he is accusing the EU of hypocrisy on 17+1 but what he is outraged about are the words of the authour here on JapanToday, not words of EU officials.

Lastly he blames France for destroying Bulgarian transportation businesses but what he fails to mention is that those businesses are operating in Western Europe and so wouldn't even exist in the first place if we exited the EU like he's proposing as a solution for France protecting the French market.

Unfortunately we have a lot of people like that in Bulgaria. Turning everything on its head so they could criticise the EU or the West which is their goal from the beginning. Fortunately they're not growing rapidly like he claimed, they're becoming extinct as most of them are pensioners who were brainwashed back when we were a USSR puppet satellite. I'm not saying the EU is perfect or always acting in our interests but overall it's great for us. The irony is that the people which criticise it the most also love Russia and close their eyes for how unfair they're treating us. We import several times (!) more goods from Russia than we are allowed to export but that is no problem for our economic "patriots".

Anyways I hope the EU and Japan realise a worthy alternative to the Chinese Silk Road.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Thank god. The last thing i'd want is more influence from China. As soon as the Chinese businesses start gaining control of other countries economy, The Chinese Government behind them will be targeting other countries'es democracy and people's right to free speech next.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Juncker and Abe probably had a last drink together before trying desperately voting against an interesting project. Maybe Juncker's last stupid decision before leaving the European Commission handing his job to an intelligent woman.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'd like the article to be more specific: the connection between Japan and the EU how? Through what ports, sea lanes, railroads? Without such facts it's difficult to compare the idea with the Belt and Road.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Akie

Unfortunately, Japan is the only Northeast Asian member that still considers Colonialism a good thing, and share its value.

And yet, Japan hasn't colonized any other nations, while PRC constantly claims ownership of any piece of land it can lay its hands on, desires to lay its hands on, or just builds in the middle of the ocean where no land existed before.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

garypen, PRC constantly claims ownership of land ? Purely stupid joke. China hasn't claimed anything since PRC. Anything China claimed has historical reasons and done by ancestors, and recognized by international laws. Yes China build things in the middle of water but it is Chinese water and nothing is wrong.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Sasho

Facts speak for themselves, Sasho. This is the most recent Euro survey, and as you can see, Bulgaria ranks the last in thinking they have benefited from the EU, and overall have the least trust in the EU. (=https://imgur.com/a/IdRAR3x). It used to be over 80 percent just few years ago, today it's less than 50. That says a lot.

Also, you project way too much. I am not Russophile, and i don't hate anybody, other than England. I actually dislike Russia, and think they are meddling in our internal affairs and should be punished for that. Other than that, i am not really interested in Russia. I see them as poor, undeveloped oligarchy who exist because we gave them culture, religion and language.

I am also not "old". I just turned 30, and i have spend most of my time living in the Untied States. I speak the truth as i see it. It wasn't JT editors, it was the EU leaders driven by France and Germany that keep criticizing Hungary and others for doing business with China while THEY are doing the exact same thing. The transportation market is not only in "west Europe", it is in ALL of Europe, but obviously France and Germany being in the center makes up the largest market, and all the periphery countries travel back and forth. I am saying if the EU continues to be ruled by the Franko-German alliance, which benefits only them in expanse of everybody else, and if they continue to break their own rules, lie about it, and destroy our economies, we should leave. I don't want to be ruled by a French, they can't even rule their own country. Their country is a mess, and now they want to impose their socialism into other countries in a cunning way. They pretend to care about human rights while in reality they are just protecting their own market.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

garypen: "And yet, Japan hasn't colonized any other nations".

Either you are not serious or you have no knowledge of Japanese history.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very interesting. And with Taiwan losing more supporters to Chinese money, it's definitely time someone put a spanner in the 'New Chinese World Order' lol. It'll be interesting to see what the plan is though. What routes will it take etc.? As for the rise of Euro skepticism, it is rising. In France and Denmark it never went away. France voted 50.8% Yes to 49.8% No (but were never asked to have a 'people's vote') and Denmark was told to have another vote after their first No vote, so to say it's all hunky dory in the EU isn't actually true. Anyway here's hoping the EU and Japan sort out freedom of movement too (I have an Irish passport so I'm ok!).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am disappointed with IloveCoffee's comments on Turkey and its President but not surprised. I think as a former Soviet country, Bulgarians know better what is dictatorship and human right violation. Recently, just in 1980s, Hundreds of thousands of Turks were forced to change their names and religion. As a result they fled to Turkey.

On the other hand, no country should should rely on any other country or group of countries. You should be always self sufficient. Bulgaria, has been relying on other countries through centuries. I had just visited Varna and Pleven last month where Ottoman Turks had major battles, one in 1444 and the other in 1876. Ottoman Turks fought with Hungarians, Polish, Austrians etc. in the first one, and with Russians supported with some Romanians in the last one, but NOT WITH BULGARIANS.

My observation about the country is that, the population is very small, no heavy industries or manufacturing plants but mainly agricultural activities. Most of the land is covered with sunflower fields and some other industrial food plantations, supported with EU FUNDED PROJETCS. Young people left for jobs in Germany and other EU countries. Everywhere you see second hand German cars. So, it is not surprising that a major car company is not investing for production in Bulgaria. In Turkey, several major car manufacturing companies are producing millions of cars and exporting to all over the World. Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Fiat, Hyundai, Renault have been manufacturing in Turkey for decades. Also, Turkey has very strong local parts manufacturing companies, supplying high quality parts at a reasonable cost.

I recommend my Bulgarian brothers and sisters, not to rely on any other country, and work for their own country. Return back to Bulgaria, increase the population, develop your own industry and businesses. Otherwise, there may not be an independent Bulgaria in near future, again. Unfortunately, these were my impressions during my visit.

By the way, good luck to Japan and EU for competing with the Chinese and American projects.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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