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China’s Global Development Initiative Meeting Signals Growing UN Influence

China’s Global Development Initiative (announced by President Xi Jinping in 2021) took a massive step towards global influence this week. It got the UN stamp of approval and is being integrated into its development plans like Agenda 2030.

Indian External Affairs Minister: Managing China “Hasn’t Been Easy”

India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has admitted that his country’s relationship with China “hasn’t been easy” but said the two should find ways of working together to ensure the “rise of Asia.” Jaishankar was in New York for the ...

Pakistan Stocks Up on Chinese-Made Weapons

Pakistan is reportedly planning to increase its purchases of Chinese-made J-10 CE fighter jets and VT-4 battle tanks. The move will increase Pakistan’s Chinese-made tank arsenal to 680 and its number of Chinese fighter jets to 90.  (

China Hits Back at Debt Criticism

China rejected this week's criticism by Brent Neiman, a top advisor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, about its "unconventional" approach to debt restructuring.  Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin cited the relative size of Chinese debt ...

Vietnam-China Ties Warm Up as Trade Flows

China-Vietnam relations saw a major uptick this week, with new commitments to trade, facilitating the return of foreign students and continued work on a possible code of conduct for the South China Sea.  These were some of the outcomes of 

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

Misadventures in the Skin Trade

This week I spent a few days in Cape Town, in time for a minor, if telling, crisis in international agricultural trade. A ship crammed with 19,000 (mostly still living) cows was stuck in Cape Town harbor, en route from Brazil to the Middle East.
As South African animal welfare authorities scrambled to inspect the horrors on board, the city was enveloped in a powerful farmyard funk. The entire episode can ...

Mapping BRI Infrastructure

China's Belt and Road Initiative is a notoriously hazy concept, and almost a decade after its launch, it can still be difficult to get one's head around.  The Xavier Collaborative Research Center for Memory and Identity at the University of Saint Joseph ...

How Does the GDI Fit into China’s Global Development?’

In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, President Xi announced the Global Development Initiative (GDI) which outlines China’s vision to be a global leader in developmental affairs. The GDI is a wide umbrella that covers areas such as public health, poverty alleviation ...