NIGHTWATCH Extract: China Captures Indonesia

02 China, 03 Economy, 04 Indonesia, 10 Security, 11 Society

China-Indonesia: Representatives from nine Chinese companies will visit Indonesia on 5 January to consider investment in transportation infrastructure in the Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesian New Guinea, according to Indonesian Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi. The companies' representatives, accompanied by Chinese officials, are on a fact finding trip for constructing airports and seaports, and will consider upgrading airports in Manokwari, Timika, Biak and Sorong into international airports. The governors of Papua and West Papua Provinces will also present investment opportunities during the visit.

Comment: It was only a matter of time before Chinese investment and mining companies made a move to obtain rights to the almost unexplored mineral wealth in the Indonesian half of New Guinea. The Indonesian half of the island has no ground access from the coast to the interior except jungle trials. Air access is limited by the lack of serviceable airfields and other amenities, including power.

These are conditions that seem to attract Chinese developers. It has become a familiar pattern. As in Afghanistan, the Chinese infrastructure builders will be the advance teams for the mineral exploiters.

In Afghanistan, the Chinese are building a railroad to service their exploitation of the Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, which geologists have assessed as potentially the largest in the world. In Indonesia, the Chinese are promising to build airfields and ports which they will need and use to exercise their mineral rights in New Guinea.

No Western developers apparently are willing to or able to match the Chinese terms and enticements to work in such rugged terrain. Without outside help, Indonesia also will never benefit. But the Indonesians will learn that the costs of dealing with the Chinese are always higher than the benefits the Chinese bestow. The Chinese communists have learned well the lessons of capitalism.

Before the Indonesians settle any deal with China, they should consult the Malawi leaders for a few tips on how to deal with Chinese infrastructure and mining investors.


Phi Beta Iota: In capturing Indonesia with infrastructure, and Papau New Guinea in particular, the Chinese are sweeping the table–if you build the airports and ports you own the country–you can get anything in or out with ease, build and stock the underground bunkers “in passing.”  China has a coherent strategy, the USA does not.  China has captured Indonesia, which along with Brazil, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela puts six of the eight demographic powers against the USA, whose past incursions hardly merit support, and whose future contributions are in doubt.  Domestically the USA is beset by an astonishing range of preconditions of revolution, while internationally it has become a bad joke…how many Americans does it take to save the world?  Create your own punchline.

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