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中国-巴基斯坦经济走廊:机遇与风险
中国-巴基斯坦经济走廊:机遇与风险
The Coronavirus Crisis is a Diplomatic Opportunity for the United States and Iran
The Coronavirus Crisis is a Diplomatic Opportunity for the United States and Iran
A Chinese worker sits near trucks carrying goods during the opening of a trade project in Gwadar port, some 700 kms west of the Pakistani city of Karachi on November 13, 2016. AAMIR QURESHI / AFP
Report 297 / Asia

中国-巴基斯坦经济走廊:机遇与风险

2015年启动的中国--巴基斯坦经济走廊可为巴基斯坦带来所需的就业机会和投资。但许多项目也具有加剧沿途的社会分歧和政治紧张的风险。伊斯兰堡当局应在北京的支持下寻求公众的投入,以确保经济利益的公平分配。

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最新动向:巴基斯坦领导人表示,2015年启动的中巴经济走廊(CPEC)是该国经济不景气的“破局之变”。但走廊计划的不透明,走廊沿途剧变对当地人可能产生的影响,以及利润主要流向局外人都可能引发动荡。目前,政府对CPEC的批评声音采取了压制。

重要因素:CPEC可帮助恢复巴基斯坦的经济。但如果该项目在议会和省立法机构没有进行更彻底的讨论、以及与当地人进行磋商的情况下继续推进;则将加深联邦中心与外围之间的摩擦,引起长期被忽视的省份的混乱,扩大社会分歧并可能产生新的冲突根源。

可采取的措施:2018年7月选举之后执政的政府应鼓励关于CPEC的辩论;咨询商业领袖、民间团体和受影响的当地人;确保土地所有者获得公平的补偿;支持雇请当地劳动力;并允许异见的存在。北京当局和有关中国公司应该支持这些措施。

于2013年年中初被构想,并于2015年4月启动的中国巴基斯坦经济走廊(CPEC)是中国一带一路倡议下的一系列项目。该项目标志着历史上由安全合作定义的中巴双边中关系开启了经济联系的新时代。巴基斯坦经济显然需要通过改革才能更好地为本国人民服务,许多官员表示,中巴经济走廊将有助其改善。但就目前实施情况而言,该项目可能会加剧政治紧张局势,扩大社会分歧并在巴基斯坦造成新的冲突根源。在7月选举之后掌权的巴基斯坦政府应该采取一些举措来减轻这些风险,包括在中巴经济走廊计划方面表现出更加透明的姿态,咨询所有利益相关方,包括较小的省份、商业界和民间团体,对待该项目将巴基斯坦利益置于中国利益之下的担忧。就中国而言,在与巴基斯坦携手确定项目的过程中,中国应该与作为中巴经济走廊项目实施区域的利益相关方进行磋商。北京方面应该要求中国企业展示对这些项目实施地区居民的关注,包括雇请当地劳动力。

包括贷款、投资和捐赠在内,中巴经济走廊项目总规模可扩大至600亿美元,。该走廊穿越2,700公里的路线,始于巴基斯坦阿拉伯海港城市俾路支省的瓜达尔,沿着喀喇昆仑山脉公路穿过吉尔吉特 - 巴尔蒂斯坦的昆吉拉布山口,之后进入中国新疆地区的地级市喀什市。在巴基斯坦境内,经济和发展项目将优先考虑交通基础设施、工业发展、能源和当地具有重要战略位置的俾路支省瓜达尔港口的发展;农业现代化和农业生产是项目另一个关键组成部分。

于2013年选举后上台、并于2018年5月31日下台的巴基斯坦穆斯林联盟(谢里夫派)(PML-N)政府将中巴经济走廊描绘为中巴关系和巴基斯坦经济发展的一大跨越。有意角逐中央政府的各派政界人士也普遍赞同这一观点。然而,巴基斯坦商界的一些高级官员和有声望的人士则担忧该项目无法保护巴基斯坦当地的经济利益,对中国投资者的回报过于高企,以及会筑下难以负担的国债。

虽然现在评估中巴经济走廊是否能够实现伊斯兰堡承诺的经济利益还为时尚早,但由于经济发展和资源分配不公平,中央和较小联邦单位以及省份内部长期存在紧张关系,项目可能会面临激发长期紧张关系的风险。俾路支省和信德省等欠发达省份认为,中巴经济走廊的路线、基础设施和工业项目将主要有利于旁遮普省,而该省已经是巴基斯坦经济上最富裕和政治势力强的省份。然而,即使在旁遮普省,当地居民也可能会对中央政府为中巴经济走廊的农业项目征地而强力抵抗。

在俾路支省,中巴经济走廊项目正在加剧当地人民现有的不满情绪。当地人民之前一直认为自身受到剥削并被中央忽视,加之当局对异见人士的压制,因此当地长期以来一直存在叛乱。该省不会从瓜达尔港口这一经济走廊计划中关键的项目中获得直接的经济利益,这意味着当地人对中央政府的愤怒可能会加剧。该项目并没有将一个沉睡的渔村发展成伊斯兰堡和北京所承诺的繁华商业中心,而是造就了一个高度军事化的管制区域,遣散当地居民并剥夺他们的经济命脉。在信德省的塔帕卡县地区,燃煤电厂项目不仅破坏环境,而且迫使当地居民离开家园、摧毁他们的生计。

诸多这类问题源于不透明的政策制定,以及当政者未能对区域和当地问题给予重视。 中巴经济走廊的长期规划(2017-2030)由中央制定,地方领导、企业或民间社会参与却很少。该计划直到2017年12月都尚未明朗,之后也才公布出一些粗略枝干;而当时一些核心项目早已启动。从该项目的起点瓜达尔,到终点吉尔吉特 - 巴尔蒂斯坦,中央政府对当地持异议人士的反应是采取专横的军事安全手段,典型特征包括设置军事检查站、对当地居民进行恫吓和骚扰、以及镇压对中巴经济走廊项目的有关抗议活动。

预见中的地缘政治方面的益处也可能优先于经济上回报。巴基斯坦军方认为,与中国建立更深层次的经济关系 ——哪怕这一关系更有利于北京,也可以帮助巴基斯坦制衡美国对巴不断施加的外交和经济压力,即要求巴方结束对那些针对阿富汗和印度的军事代理人的支持。但随着北京不断扩大其在巴基斯坦的经济布局,中国政府似乎也越来越担心这些代理人对中国国家和地区安全利益将构成威胁。此外,利益的不对等,再加上认为中巴经济走廊项目损害了关键利益方的经济、社会和政治利益的观点,可能会加剧巴基斯坦国内的反华情绪。在中巴经济走廊项目中,已经发生了几起针对受雇于中巴经济走廊项目的巴基斯坦人的袭击事件。

伊斯兰堡应确保中巴经济走廊的导向和目标强调巴基斯坦的经济和政治利益,采取下列措施:

  • 就中巴经济走廊的项目方向建立政治共识,包括在国家和省级议会进行相关讨论,以确保各个省份能够均能受益;同时停止对批评人士的逮捕、骚扰和其它强力手段。
  • 咨询经济学家、商会、巴基斯坦商业理事会、行业协会和其他商界利益相关方,并采取措施在中巴经济走廊经济特区和发展项目的新框架中解决他们关切的问题。
  • 雇请当地劳动力,确保中巴经济走廊项目实行劳工保护和相关措施。
  • 广泛与当地社区广泛协商重大发展项目的潜在成本和效益,并为所有需要安置的人员制定适当的补偿和安置计划;这些人员不仅包括正式的土地所有者,也包括巴基斯坦普遍的非正式土地所有者。如有必要,议会应考虑对1894土地征收法案进行相关改革。
  • 中国政府和中国的企业应该:
  • 在中巴经济走廊项目的确定和/或实施过程中,与巴基斯坦从精英到基层的各利益相关方进行全面磋商和接触,并优先为当地人创造就业机会。
  • 对中巴经济走廊项目进行全面的风险和政治分析,确保相互竞争的各方之间公平共享所得。
  • 在地方、区域和国家层面上促进与巴基斯坦利益攸关方进行有效和广泛的沟通,以体现共同利益。

尽管面临着种种风险和挑战,中巴经济走廊为改善巴基斯坦陈旧破败的基础设施,振兴低迷的经济提供了良机。不过,为了实现这些承诺,伊斯兰堡和北京需要较以往更加随机应变、进行更多的协商,并让受影响最大的省份和社区在中巴经济走廊建设中拥有更大的话语权。当地人需要看到该项目带来的红利;如果绝大多数的利益都流向了外人,这将加剧社会和政治分歧,造成紧张局势,并可能引发冲突。随着巴基斯坦的民主过渡迎来另一个里程碑——连续第二个民选政府即将完成其任期,其继任者应抓住施政新机会,引导针对中巴经济走廊的公共讨论,并采取将巴基斯坦人民的福祉作为核心的相关政策。

布鲁塞尔,2018年6月29日

The Coronavirus Crisis is a Diplomatic Opportunity for the United States and Iran

Originally published in Foreign Policy

Washington and Tehran could use the public health emergency to show goodwill, dial down tensions while saving face, and avoid a dangerous confrontation.

If Iran’s leaders thought things couldn’t get worse, they were wrong. The country faces three simultaneous crises: a public health emergency that is worsening by the hour, tensions with the United States that have once again grown in the past few days, and an economic picture that could go from troubled to dire in a matter of months.

The confluence of a coronavirus pandemic, security threats, and financial troubles has deepened the political system’s legitimacy crisis in the wake of last month’s parliamentary elections that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Washington might view this as a validation of its so-called maximum pressure strategy against Tehran, but if it fails to capitalize on this moment to de-escalate tensions and lay the groundwork for a mutually beneficial diplomatic settlement, the leadership in Tehran is likely to become more aggressive in the region, increasing the risk of a conflict that neither side appears to want.

Since the dramatic escalations of late 2019 and early 2020, which culminated in the killing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Suleimani and Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. forces, both Iran and the United States appeared content to return to their respective corners.

But there has been a steady stream of incidents in Iraq, with at least seven attacks near U.S. diplomatic facilities inside Baghdad’s Green Zone and U.S. military installations in Iraq throughout January and February. These attacks spiked on March 11 following a barrage of rockets that killed three members of the U.S.-led coalition, including two Americans, and injured more than a dozen others at an Iraqi army base, Camp Taji, north of Baghdad.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper subsequently assessed that “Iranian-backed Shiite militia groups” were responsible. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned ­that “those responsible must be held accountable.” A day later, the United States retaliated against an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia in Iraq, which in turn fired more rockets into Camp Taji on March 14 and again on March 17.

The impact of the rapidly spreading disease and collapse in oil prices will likely present almost unprecedented challenges to an economy that is already beset by government mismanagement and U.S. sanctions.

This latest moment of peril is playing out against the backdrop of a dramatic COVID-19 outbreak in Iran, which has the third-highest number of confirmed cases and fatalities anywhere in the world. The Iranian government was slow in responding to the outbreak; and when it finally realized its scale and scope, Tehran was hampered by shortages caused by sanctions. Moreover, the government has kept a worryingly tight grip on the information flow to save face, prompting fears that the death toll—currently listed as 988—is probably much higher than the official figures suggest.

With Tehran’s initial response being dismissive of the risks of the virus’s spread and slow to mobilize against it, the government is now pleading for international assistance. Having already scored several calamitous own goals in recent months—raising fuel prices with little warning in November 2019, then violently suppressing subsequent protests, and in January downing a Ukrainian civilian airliner in the apparent belief it was an incoming U.S. missile—the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis could increase the population’s sense that its leadership is incompetent.

Meanwhile, the impact of the rapidly spreading disease and collapse in oil prices will likely present almost unprecedented challenges to an economy that is already beset by government mismanagement and under siege from U.S. sanctions.

One Iranian official calculated a drop of 18 percent in trade as a result of the pandemic—and that was before Iraq, a key regional trade partner, announced a full closure of the two countries’ common land borders and the price of crude tumbled below $30 per barrel. (While Iran’s exports have been blocked by the United States since April 2019, it has continued to make sales to China, albeit at sharply reduced levels.) The combination of reduced regional trade, evaporation of remaining oil revenue, and COVID-19’s impact on domestic business could prove catastrophic.

But that doesn’t mean that Tehran will bow to U.S. pressure and back down. Indeed, since May 2019, when the Iranian government chose to counter U.S. maximum pressure with a blend of nuclear and regional provocations, the system’s hard-liners have contended that high-risk brinkmanship yields greater dividends than restraint.

Feeling besieged and with no obvious diplomatic exit ramp, Iran might conclude that only a confrontation with the United States might change a trajectory that’s heading in a very dangerous direction.

The coronavirus outbreak has now put more pressure on the leadership’s calculus. Feeling besieged and with no obvious diplomatic exit ramp, Iran might conclude that only a confrontation with the United States might change a trajectory that’s heading in a very dangerous direction. This is also the view of Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, who told Congress on March 10 that the outbreak “probably makes them, in terms of decision-making, more dangerous rather than less dangerous.”

With U.S. President Donald Trump focused on the domestic economic and electoral effects of the coronavirus and the Iranian leadership highly reluctant to display any weakness to the United States, neither side is likely in the mood to engage the other.

That would be a missed opportunity. Indeed, both Washington and Tehran have floated ideas that, if acted upon, could break the current vicious cycle. Pompeo has urged the Iranian government—which furloughed tens of thousands of convicts due to fears of an epidemic in prisons—to free U.S. prisoners and other dual and foreign nationals on humanitarian grounds. The death of any of those inmates from COVID-19 would be a stain Iran might find hard to erase.

Conversely, Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund for emergency funding and a substantial list of essential equipment ranging from gloves and masks to portable respiration and X-ray machines. If the Trump administration stands in the way of such basic needs—by voting against an IMF loan to Iran—the United States would find it hard to overcome the impression that it had acted inhumanely.

The most logical and mutually beneficial outcome would be a two-phased humanitarian de-escalation.

The most logical and mutually beneficial outcome would be a two-phased humanitarian de-escalation. Iran would need to first agree to furlough all detained foreigners as the U.S. facilitates the transfer of medicine and medical equipment Iran needs to contain the outbreak and save lives without any sanctions-related delays.

In the second phase, the U.S. government could agree not to block the IMF loan to Iran while Tehran freezes its nuclear escalation and reins in its allied groups in Iraq, preventing any further attacks on U.S. forces and assets. This phase could also comprise another prisoner swap, either on par with the one-for-one exchange that happened back in December or, even better, a broader exchange of prisoners. This would be a win-win: putting tensions with Iran on ice, providing Trump with another success in his efforts to free Americans detained abroad, and providing Tehran with some economic reprieve and the means to save lives at home.

Since 2018, when the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran, Washington and Tehran have been on a collision course pitting unrealistic U.S. demands against Iranian inflexibility. For either side to let a possible diplomatic off-ramp pass by would mean that a dangerous and deadly situation might again take a turn for the worse.

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