【英语中国】中国加大边境基建 拉近中朝联系

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所属分类:双语中国

2013-6-7 16:28

小艾摘要: On a vast construction site outside this northeastern Chinese city, engineers are working around the clock on a project that could transform the economic─and geopolitical─dynamics of the region: A 2 ...
On a vast construction site outside this northeastern Chinese city, engineers are working around the clock on a project that could transform the economic─and geopolitical─dynamics of the region: A 223-mile high-speed rail link to the North Korean border.

The $6.3 billion project is one of three planned high-speed railways designed to bring North Korea closer into China's economic orbit, even as Beijing supports sanctions aimed at Pyongyang's leadership. China is also sinking millions of dollars into new highways and bridges in the area, and the first cross-border power cable.

China's long-term vision for closer economic integration with North Korea runs counter to a U.S. strategy aimed at piling pressure on Pyongyang to force it to abandon its nuclear-weapons program and refrain from further threats to attack the U.S. and South Korea.

Analysts say that helps explain why there is little prospect of a breakthrough on North Korea when President Barack Obama meets China's new leader, Xi Jinping, in California this week, although U.S. officials say the subject will be high on the agenda.

Beijing's rhetoric conveys exasperation with the neighbor it backed during the 1950-53 Korean War and continues to prop up as its largest aid donor, trade partner and foreign investor. Some U.S. officials say China is showing signs of willingness to use its economic clout to restrain Pyongyang.

Facts on the ground suggest the opposite: China is pressing ahead with ambitious plans to expand trade, investment and infrastructure around its North Korean border as part of a long-term strategy to prop up a buffer against U.S. forces in Asia, and to provide incentives to Pyongyang to maintain stability and─ultimately─launch Chinese-style market reforms.

When it is finished in 2016, the railway under construction near Yanji will cut the journey between the Chinese city of Jilin and the remote border town of Hunchun to just over two hours from almost eight, according to the project's plans. By 2020, it is expected to boost Hunchun's population to over one million from 200,000 today thanks to an influx of migrants seeking to profit from border trade.

Work is also continuing on a high-speed rail link between the Chinese cities of Shenyang and Dandong─the busiest border crossing─and construction is due to finish this year on another connecting Dandong to the Chinese port of Dalian, according to state media. A new $356 million bridge over the border at Dandong─funded by China─ is also proceeding as planned.

China's strategy is also reflected in its customs figures, which show that its oil exports─the main source of North Korea's energy─rose 8.2% in March and remained steady in April following a decline to zero in February that diplomats and analysts say was due to cyclical seasonal factors.

Several companies in Yanji and other border towns said they had reduced business with North Korea during the recent crisis─some of their own volition, others because they were told to by local authorities─but many said they were now returning to normal.

Party insiders say Chinese leaders are indeed frustrated with Pyongyang, and have shown that by backing new U.N. sanctions, tightening rules on cross-border banking, and allowing an unusual level of criticism of North Korea in Chinese state media since it conducted a third nuclear test in February.

But even as it takes such short-term steps─which analysts say will have little effect on North Korea's nuclear program─China is doubling down on a long-term strategy that it now considers all the more necessary to offset the U.S. pivot toward Asia.

The strategy is based on hopes that it can plug North Korea into its vast infrastructure network and gradually integrate it as a source of mineral resources and cheap labor and a transport hub for agricultural and industrial exports, Chinese analysts say.

It also sends a clear signal that China doesn't want to see a complete collapse of the North Korean economy, which most foreign analysts and officials have long assumed would lead to reunification with the U.S.-backed South.

'The Chinese are clearly sending messages to North Korea and they've been putting up less of a fight on North Korea's behalf, but the preference still is to do big-ticket economic cooperation to keep encouraging North Korea to get on the economic development track,' said John Delury, an expert on China and North Korea at Yonsei University in Seoul. 'From an American government point of view, that's in contradiction to the main strategy.'

The U.S. would welcome greater economic openness in North Korea, but fears that without stringent conditions attached, Chinese business links with Pyongyang only prop up the regime and encourage it to develop nuclear arms.

The Obama administration maintains hope that China is going to cooperate with the U.S. in increasing pressure on North Korea, senior U.S. officials said. Despite the Chinese increase in trade and investment with Pyongyang, U.S. officials said they believed Beijing has been taking stricter measures against Pyongyang since February. They pointed to China's largest state bank, Bank of China Ltd., 601988.SH -0.68% cutting off its business with North Korea's main foreign exchange bank last month, a move U.S. officials believe could make it much more difficult for Pyongyang to conduct international business dealings.

Still, many U.S. lawmakers and analysts are skeptical that China is going to provide Washington with much support. A number of lawmakers are calling on the White House to sanction more Chinese firms for their trade with both North Korea and Iran.

Both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew raised the issue of increasing financial pressure on North Korea during their meetings with senior Chinese leaders in Beijing over the past month.

At the construction site outside Yanji, Chinese workers on Monday said they had resumed work last month after a winter break. 'We build things quickly in China,' said one contractor. 'Ten years ago there was nothing here. In a few years, this will be finished.'

The World Bank, which partly funded the railway, confirmed that it was on schedule and wasn't affected by the recent North Korean crisis. Binyam Reja, transport-sector coordinator for the World Bank in China, said it could be a 'launchpad' for cross-border trade, although it was designed primarily to facilitate migration and urbanization in China's far northeast, and wouldn't carry freight.

In China's eyes, however, the three high-speed rail links are an integral part of a strategy that is explicitly linked to North Korea, and dates back to earlier nuclear tests by Pyongyang.

After North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, China protested publicly, backed U.N. sanctions and made better relations with Pyongyang dependent on its taking steps to dismantle its nuclear-arms program. But after the second test in 2009, China shifted tack, promising to increase aid, investment and trade if Pyongyang opened up its economy and returned to multilateral talks.

Beijing's strategy has had little effect on North Korean policy so far. But it has transformed the Chinese side of the border and swollen the number of North Koreans engaging in cross-border trade.

The strategy is also intertwined with China's plan to promote economic development in its northeast─once the heartland of centrally-planned heavy industry─by establishing road and rail-transport corridors to Mongolia, Russia and North Korea, and giving the landlocked province of Jilin access to the sea via the nearby North Korean port of Rason, around which North Korea has set up a special economic zone.

Jilin is of particular concern because of its large ethnic Korean population, which Beijing fears could come under the influence of a united Korea, run by Seoul, if Pyongyang were to collapse.

China's State Council, or cabinet, approved that plan in 2009 and has set a target of 19% average annual gross-domestic-product growth until 2020, according to government research reports on the project. Jilin's government said in March it planned to increase trade with Russia and North Korea by 13% annually in the same period.

Key to the plan is Rason port, which Chinese experts say will allow companies in northeastern China to export coal and agricultural products to Japan, South Korea and southern China several days faster than it currently takes to transport them via the already overloaded Chinese ports of Dandong or Dalian. Chinese companies have leased two piers at Rason, and two more at another North Korean port, Chongjin.

'We hope to jointly promote completion of the development of Rason port, and construction of the harbor business district, and expand cooperation in finance, property and other wider areas,' Bayin Chaolu, Jilin's governor, was quoted as saying in April in the Jilin Daily, the local government newspaper.

Another local newspaper quoted officials in May saying they would speed plans to connect Hunchun to North Korea by railway.

Hong Lei, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, didn't respond directly to a question this week about whether China was proceeding with plans to develop trade, infrastructure and investment around the border. He repeated China's call for peace on the Korean peninsula, and a return to 'six-party' talks between China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and North and South Korea.

Several other national and local government officials declined to comment. But Chinese experts who have studied the plans, and advised the government on them, said they had been unaffected by the latest crisis, and in some areas, had accelerated.

'Not only is there no change to the plan, but we're pushing it forward even faster,' said Professor Zhang Qi of the China Development Research Institute, which has studied the plan. 'Our hope is to encourage North Korea to begin the process of reform and opening up. We think China and the U.S. should join hands to try to encourage North Korea to follow the correct path.'

He said progress had been slow in recent years, partly because North Korea remains wary of opening its economy too fast, and partly because of the repeated political crises on the peninsula. But the first tarmac road between Hunchun and Rason was completed last year. It cut the journey time from about three hours to just 45 minutes, according to one person who has traveled on it recently.

China has also approved a plan to build a 61-mile transmission cable connecting Rason to China's state electricity grid in Hunchun, according to a statement from the local government in March. That will be the first time China's state grid has provided power directly to a foreign country, according to state media reports and Chinese experts.

Chinese analysts also say the plan has a powerful political patron in Sun Zhengcai, the former provincial party chief of Jilin who was promoted to the Politburo─the party's top 25 leaders─in November and is considered a front-runner for a seat on the narrower Politburo Standing Committee in 2017 or 2022.

Mr. Sun, who was appointed last year as party chief of the western city of Chongqing, was among a small group of Chinese leaders who met Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of North Korea's top military body, when he visited Beijing last month, according to diplomats and Chinese experts on Korean affairs.

Those people say it remains unclear whether Mr. Kim will be any more likely than his father to embrace Chinese style reforms, but they are encouraged so far by his uncle and key adviser, Gen. Jang Sung-taek.

Gen. Jang visited China in August as head of a North Korean delegation to discuss economic cooperation with China, according to Chinese and North Korean state media reports. During his visit, he hosted a business conference in Beijing to attract more Chinese investment. The same month, China announced the establishment of a 3 billion yuan ($490 million) fund to invest in North Korea.

China Overseas Investment Co., which runs the fund, posted details on its website in March of 20 North Korean projects that are seeking Chinese investment, including 17 mining concerns, and company officials are expected to travel to North Korea shortly to visit the sites, according to a person familiar with the fund.

Interest among Chinese firms is lackluster and mostly confined to businesses with government links in the northeast, according to Chinese experts. Chinese companies have often struggled to make money there because of the absence of any legal framework or business-oriented policies. Many complain of being defrauded.

Chinese businesses are also conscious that repeated attempts to establish special economic zones in North Korea since 1991 have foundered because of a lack of policy support in China and North Korea.

'This time it is different because the plans have the direct back of the central government in China,' said Sunny Seong-hyon Lee, who researches China's links with North Korea and is a nonresident fellow of the Pacific Forum CSIS, a Hawaii-based think tank.

'North Korea's behavior doesn't make any difference to China's overall strategy. What matters is what the U.S. does in the Asia Pacific.'

Jeremy Page/The Wall Street Journal图为周一,高铁路段上的工人。这段高铁连接了吉林市和靠近朝鲜边境的珲春市。
在中国东北城市延吉城外的一个巨大施工现场,工程师们正日以继夜地为一个项目奋战。这个项目可能改变该地区的经济和地缘政治动态。这就是一条长达223英里(约合359公里)的连接至中朝边境的高速铁路。

相关报道这一造价高达63亿美元的项目是拟建的三条旨在拉近朝鲜同中国经济轨道距离的高速铁路之一。与此同时,北京支持针对朝鲜领导层的制裁。此外,中国还投资数百万美元在这一地区新建公路、桥梁以及首条跨境电力电缆。

中国希望提高中朝经济一体化水平的长期愿景与美国的战略背道而驰。美国的战略旨在向平壤施压,迫使其放弃核武器计划,使其不要进一步发出攻击美国和韩国的威胁。

分析人士说,这有助于解释美国总统奥巴马(Barack Obama)和中国新任领导人习近平本周的加州会晤在朝鲜问题上不太可能取得突破的原因。虽然美国官员说朝鲜问题是双方的讨论重点。

北京的言辞表明中国对朝鲜这一邻国相当不满。中国曾在1950年至1953年的朝鲜战争期间支持朝鲜,之后继续向朝鲜提供支持,成为其最大的援助国、贸易伙伴和外国投资者。一些美国官员说,中国正表现出愿意利用其经济影响力来约束平壤的迹象。

但实际情况却恰好相反:中国正在推进雄心勃勃的计划,以便在中朝边境地区扩大贸易、投资和基础设施规模,以此作为一项长期战略的一部分。这一战略旨在向朝鲜这一制衡美国在亚洲力量的缓冲国提供支撑,同时向朝鲜提供激励措施,以便该国保持稳定,并最终推出类似中国的市场化改革。

项目规划显示,2016年竣工时,延吉附近在建的这条铁路将把吉林市至边陲小镇珲春的行车时间从原来的近八小时缩短至两个小时多一点。预计到2020年,珲春的人口将从目前的20万人增加至逾100万人,这主要将得益于大量涌入的试图从边境贸易获利的移民。

据中国官方媒体报道,从沈阳至丹东(中国最繁忙的边境口岸)的另一条高速铁路也在继续施工。而另一条连接丹东和中国港口城市大连的高铁线路将于今年完工。在丹东建设的一座耗资3.56亿美元的跨境大桥(由中国出资)也正在按计划推进。

中国海关数据也反映出中国的战略:在今年2月中国对朝石油出口增幅降至零后,今年3月这一数据增至8.2%,4月也保持稳定。外交人士和分析人士说,2月中国对朝石油出口增幅降至零主要是由周期性季节因素所致。中国的石油是朝鲜能源的主要来源。

位于延吉和其它边境城镇的多家企业表示,在最近的危机期间,他们减少了对朝业务。此举部分出于自愿,部分是当地政府要求。但很多企业表示,业务量现已恢复正常水平。

党内人士说,中国领导人对平壤确实很失望,中国通过各种举措也表现出这一点,包括支持联合国对朝鲜新的制裁措施,收紧对跨境银行业务的规定,自朝鲜今年2月进行了第三次核试验后,中国还允许国有媒体对朝鲜进行了罕见程度的批评。

但在中国采取这类短期措施时,它也在押注一种长期战略。中国目前认为,如果要平衡美国将重心转向亚洲,就更加有必要采取这种长期战略。分析人士说,短期措施对朝鲜的核计划几乎不会造成影响。

中国分析人士说,这一长期战略是基于中国方面的希望。中国希望能够将朝鲜置入自己庞大的基础设施网络,将其作为一个矿产资源和廉价劳动力来源及工农业出口产品运输枢纽与自己进行融合。

中国还发出一个明确的信号,即中国不希望看到朝鲜经济的彻底崩溃。大部分分析人士和官员一直认为,若朝鲜经济彻底崩溃,将导致朝鲜与美国支持的韩国统一。

首尔延世大学(Yonsei University)中国及朝鲜问题专家鲁乐汉(John Delury)说,中国显然是在向朝鲜发出信号,他们也更少地为朝鲜抗争了,但中国希望的仍是进行大规模经济合作,以便继续鼓励朝鲜走上经济发展道路。从美国政府的角度看,这有悖于他们的主要战略。

美国可能会欢迎朝鲜加大经济开放力度,但它担心在没有附带严格条件的情况下,中国与朝鲜的商业联系只会给朝鲜政权提供支持,鼓励其研制核武器。

美国高级官员说,奥巴马政府仍抱有希望,认为中国将与美国合作向朝鲜施加更大的压力。尽管中国与朝鲜扩大了贸易和投资,但美国官员说,他们认为,自2月以来北京对朝鲜实施了更严厉的措施。他们指出,中国最大的国有银行中国银行股份有限公司(Bank of China Ltd.)上个月切断了与朝鲜主要外汇银行的业务往来。美国官员认为,此举可能极大地增加了朝鲜开展国际商业往来的难度。

不过,很多美国国会议员和分析人士怀疑中国是否会向华盛顿提供太多支持。一些议员呼吁白宫制裁更多与朝鲜和伊朗有贸易关系的中国企业。

过去一个月,美国国务卿克里(John Kerry)和财政部长卢(Jacob Lew)在北京与中国高层领导人会晤时都提出了向朝鲜施加更大金融压力的问题。

在延吉郊外的建筑工地,中国工人周一说,在冬季停工后,上个月已经恢复施工。一位承包商说,我们在中国建东西很快。10年前这里还什么都没有。这个项目几年后就能完工。

世界银行(World Bank)为该铁路提供部分资金。世界银行证实说,项目正在按计划推进,没有受到最近朝鲜危机的影响。世界银行中国局交通部主任任斌(Binyam Reja)说,这可能是跨境贸易的一个“发射台”,不过主要是为了方便中国东北地区的人员流动和城市化,不会运货。

但在中国看来,这三条高速铁路是显然与朝鲜有关的一项战略的主要组成部分,这项战略可追溯至平壤以前进行的核试验。

2006年朝鲜进行首次核武器试验后,中国公开表示抗议,支持联合国制裁朝鲜,并且视平壤采取的放弃核武器计划的措施为前提,改善了与平壤的关系。但2009年朝鲜再次进行核试验后,中国改变了策略,承诺如平壤开放经济,回到多边谈判中来,将增加对朝鲜的援助、投资和贸易。

到目前为止,北京的对朝政策收效甚微,但却改变了中国边境的状况,促使大批朝鲜人从事跨境贸易。

此外,这个战略还与中国推动东北经济发展的规划交织在一起。东北曾是中国计划经济时代的重工业中心。中国打算建设通往蒙古、俄罗斯和朝鲜的公路和铁路运输通道,并让内陆省份吉林利用附近的朝鲜罗先港(Rason),从而推动东北地区的经济发展。朝鲜已在罗先周边建立了经济特区。

吉林因为朝鲜族人口众多,受到特别关注。北京担心,如果平壤政权垮台,朝韩统一后由韩国管理,吉林的朝鲜族人可能会受影响。

东北经济发展项目政府研究报告显示,中国国务院2009年批准通过了那项规划,制定了2020年前GDP年均增速19%的目标。吉林省政府今年3月说,打算在2020年前将与俄罗斯和朝鲜的贸易额每年增加13%。

这项计划的关键点就是罗先港。中国专家说,中国东北地区的公司若经由该港口货运,煤炭和农产品运至日本、韩国和华南地区的时间将比目前经由超负荷的丹东或大连港运输要缩短几天。中国公司在罗先租用了两个码头,在朝鲜另一个港口清津(Chongjin)也租用了两个码头。

吉林省委机关报《吉林日报》今年4月援引吉林省长巴音朝鲁的话说,我们希望共同推动搞好罗先港口开发与临港商务区建设,并且在金融、地产等更宽领域扩大合作。

该省另一家报纸5月援引有关官员的话说,将加快珲春到朝鲜的铁路建设计划。

中国外交部发言人洪磊本周没有直接答复有关中国是否在推进发展中朝边境贸易、基础设施和投资计划的问题。他重申,中国呼吁朝鲜半岛和平,呼吁中国、日本、俄罗斯、美国、朝鲜和韩国重新展开“六方会谈”。

中国国家和地方政府的其他几名官员不予置评。但研究过这些规划并向政府提供相关咨询意见的中国专家说,这些规划没有受到最近这次危机的影响,甚至在某些方面还在加速推行。

研究了该计划的中国发展研究院的教授章琦说,不仅计划没有改变,我们还在加速推进这一计划;我们希望鼓励朝鲜开启改革开放进程,我们认为中美两国应该携手鼓励朝鲜走上正确的道路。

他说,最近几年的进展一直缓慢,一个原因是朝鲜仍然对过快地开放经济持谨慎态度,另外的一个原因是朝鲜半岛反复出现的政治危机。不过,珲春和罗先特别市之间的第一条柏油马路已于去年完工。最近曾走过这条公路的一名人士说,这条路将两地间的车程从大约三小时缩短到了仅45分钟。

根据地方政府3月份发表的一份声明,中国已经批准了建设一条使罗先接入珲春中国国家电网的运输电缆的计划。这条运输电缆的长度大约90公里。据国有媒体的报道和一些专家的说法,这将是中国国家电网首次直接向外国提供电力。

中国的分析人士还说,该计划拥有一个强大的政治靠山,那就是前吉林省省委书记孙政才。孙政才去年11月晋升至由中共最高的25名领导人组成的中共中央政治局,孙政才被认为是将在2017年或2022年进入中共中央政治局常委会的热门人选。

孙政才去年被任命为重庆市市委书记。据外交人士及中国的朝鲜问题专家说,朝鲜劳动党中央军事委员会副委员长崔龙海(Choe Ryong Hae)上个月访问北京时,孙政才是少数与其见面的中国官员之一。

这些人士说,目前仍不清楚金正恩是否比他的父亲更有可能采纳中国式的改革,但是到目前为止,金正恩的姑父兼主要顾问将军张成泽(Jang Seong Taek)对改革表示支持。

根据中国和朝鲜的国有媒体的报道,张成泽去年8月带领朝鲜代表团访问了中国,并与中国探讨了经济合作方面的事宜。在访问期间,他在北京主持了一个旨在吸引更多中国投资的商业会议。同月,中国宣布建立一只人民币30亿元的基金,以对朝鲜进行投资。

管理着这只基金的中海投(China Overseas Investment Co.)今年3月在网站上公布了20个寻求中国投资的朝鲜项目的具体信息,其中包括17个矿业公司。一名熟悉这只基金的人士说,预计一些企业的管理人员将很快前往朝鲜进行实地考察。

中国专家说,中国企业对投资朝鲜兴趣不大,而且有兴趣的主要是东北地区与政府有联系的企业。中国公司通常难以在朝鲜获得利润,因为朝鲜缺乏法律框架和以企业为导向的政策。许多公司称受到欺诈。

中国企业还意识到,由于在中国和朝鲜缺乏政策支持,1991年以来在朝鲜建立特别经济区的多次尝试已经失败。

夏威夷智库太平洋论坛(Pacific Forum CSIS)的非常驻研究员、研究中国与朝鲜往来的李成贤(Sunny Seong-hyon Lee)说,这一次情况不同了,因为这些计划拥有中国中央政府的直接支持。

李成贤说,朝鲜的行为对中国的整体战略不会有任何影响,重要的是美国会在亚太做些什么。

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