fbpx

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Prince Charles Versus Xi Jinping : Where The Commonwealth Meets The Belt And Road Initiative

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

The pre-covid British Royal Tour to New Zealand was somewhat overshadowed by the media coverage of Prince Andrews ill-advised interview concerning dodgy sexual escapades, however in an overlooked incident, a Gentlemanly gesture has the potential to create a little push-back against China’s Belt & Road Initiative. As part of the New Zealand trip, the Prince visited the Solomon Islands, which maintains the Queen as Sovereign Head of State. There is some significance here as the Solomon Islands had signed up to China’s Belt & Road Initiative just a month before.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had travelled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in October 2019, during which the standard MoU was signed off, with China promising an increase in the number of Chinese tourists, while Chinese interests will lie also in the development of fisheries, copra and palm oil supplies. Most of the Solomon Islands machinery and infrastructure has to be imported, and the Belt & Road agreement with Honiara is said to be worth US$500 million and to provide for the leasing by China of Tulaghi Island, which is the home of the Solomon Islands’ capital, Honiara, as well as and the construction of a gas and oil terminal. On top of that, the President of China Rail told Sogavare the company will help Honiara build facilities for the Pacific Games to be held in the Solomons in 2023.

The Solomon’s have been self ruling since 1976, although as Sovereign, the Queen appoints a Secretary-General to act on her behalf, subordinate to her, for a five-year term. Although the office holds considerable reserve powers, it is largely a symbolic position with little day-to-day involvement in government. The UK continues to provide developmental assistance to the Solomon Islands.

Prince Charles is well known for his distrust of the Chinese Government, and also for his commitment to environmental causes. With the potential for mass infrastructure and tourism development in the Solomon’s he will have been concerned by Chinese plans, as he will also have been concerning Chinese financing of such facilities. Neither the British Crown nor the British Government will want to have a member nation of its Commonwealth asset stripped with the Solomon Islands Government and citizens asking the UK for assistance and begging the Queen – or Prince Charles – to intervene in the wake of any Chinese or Solomon Islands mismanagement.

Here then, lies an interesting development. The British Royal Family, as Sovereign Head of State, potentially acting as due diligence advisers to its subjects over China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

Belt & Road Nations Where Queen Elizabeth II Remains Head Of State

Antigua & Barbuda

Barbados

Grenada

Jamaica

New Zealand

Papua New Guinea

Solomon Islands

There is room for such initiatives, as long as they are not considered to be interfering with Government. However, although China’s Belt & Road Initiative is largely a diplomatic effort backed up with financing, infrastructure and trade development, much of the role played by the Governor-General in each of the countries concerned is too. These far-flung remnants of the Commonwealth then play an intriguing role for Chinese diplomacy – dealing not only with the incumbent Prime Minister, but also with the Representative of the Queen as Head of State. Prince Charles himself will become the Head of State in due course. Should he choose to get involved as having a voice that matters when it comes to China, he is the sort of man to make his views known.

Meanwhile, on the New Zealand and Solomons Islands Royal Visit, Prince Charles ingratiated himself with the locals by both speaking in their local dialects in addition to engaging in a spot of nose rubbing as a traditional welcome. It is doubtful that Xi Jinping, even if he ever were to endorse China’s Belt & Road Initiative with a personal visit to these islands, would ever be seen in anything other than a dark suit or to be offering his nose for a bit of friendly native nasal massaging. For the locals, that might also prove symbolic. A sense of belonging to a family often runs deeper than wallets.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates and the Publisher of Asia Briefing.

Please see: www.dezshira.com and www.asiabriefing.com

Latest news

Opposition parties vote to revive special committee as China-Russia go under the microscope 

OTTAWA (CU)_Back in 2019, a Canada-China special committee was established by the Canadian parliament, focusing on Beijing’s aggressive conduct in Hong Kong and the...

Related news

Plans to ‘rip up’ the NI protocol denied: ‘We want a weapon on the table, we don’t want to use it.’

LONDON (CU)_Just last week, the Attorney General for England and Wales, Suella Braverman, gave her approval for a draft legislation that would unilaterally scrap...

Another ‘headline-grabbing stunt’?

LONDON (CU)_As households across the United Kingdom struggle with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to come up with...

Prince Charles steps in for the Queen, again!

LONDON (CU)_Earlier this week, Queen Elizabeth was forced to pull out of this year’s State Opening of Parliament on account of her mobility issues,...

No need for ‘drama’ ahead of crunch talks on Northern Ireland!

LONDON (CU)_The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is reportedly preparing draft legislation that is aimed at overriding parts of the post-Brexit deal on...

Macron invites Britain to enjoy full political integration with EU

LONDON (CU)_French President Emmanuel Macron, on Monday (9 May), put forward a proposal to redraw the political map of Europe, strengthening the EU’s relations...

Queen to miss major constitutional ceremony for first time since 1963

LONDON (CU)_Over the past few months, Queen Elizabeth has been forced to cancel several public appearances, including the Commonwealth Service and the Easter Sunday...

Polls to open as voters set to elect local representatives

LONDON (CU)_Millions of people from across England, Wales and Scotland will head out to vote in the local elections when polling stations open at...

Where does free speech end and abuse begin? Musk to discuss future of Twitter in UK Parliament

LONDON (CU)_ Last week, the board of directors of Twitter Inc. accepted a $54.20 per share proposal made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Opposition parties vote to revive special committee as China-Russia go under the microscope 

OTTAWA (CU)_Back in 2019, a Canada-China special committee was established by the Canadian parliament, focusing on Beijing’s aggressive conduct in Hong Kong and the...

Plans to ‘rip up’ the NI protocol denied: ‘We want a weapon on the table, we don’t want to use it.’

LONDON (CU)_Just last week, the Attorney General for England and Wales, Suella Braverman, gave her approval for a draft legislation that would unilaterally scrap...

Backing $1 an hour pay rise, Albanese no longer a ‘loose unit’

ZUCCOLI, Northern Territory (CU)_Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called his rival Anthony Albanese a “loose unit” for supporting a 5.1 per cent...

Federal Elections threatened by climate-conscious independents!

SYDNEY (CU)_Over the past few months, several parts of Australia have been reporting some of the worst floods ever to hit the country. Last...

India’s temporary restriction on wheat exports boosts global wheat prices

Mumbai, India (CU)_ The world's wheat supply has been dropping as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which accounts for approximately...

The government to focus towards a business-friendly climate, Marriyum Aurangzeb

Islamabad, Pakistan (CU)_ According to Marriyum Aurangzeb, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, the government was attempting to establish a business-friendly atmosphere in order...

Fast reform the EPZ Labor Act the EU encourages Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CU)_ The European Union (EU) has urged Bangladesh to quickly revise the EPZ Labor Act in order to keep the Everything But...

Bangladesh exports flourishing despite global unpredictability

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CU)_ According to the latest statistics, Bangladesh's export revenues increased by 51.18 percent annually in April to $4.73 billion. This growth was...

Hopes of additional EU members waiving visa mandates for Maldivian travelers

Male, Maldives (CU)_ In view of the improved EU-Maldives ties, Abdulla Shahid, Maldivian Foreign Minister and President of the 76th session of the United...

Police arrest three Niger bandits, parade alleged killers of Abuja Corps member

NIGERIA - Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command have arrested three bandits reportedly making encroachment into the Abuja area. It was gathered...

Eight killed, 32 vehicles burnt in Southeast’s bloody Monday

NIGERIA - It was a bloody Monday in the Southeast as gunmen again went on the rampage, killing and destroying properties. Worst hit were Imo...

Google Translate learns 10 new African languages

TECH/ AFRICA - Ten of the new language additions on Google translate are African languages including Lingala, Twi, and Tigrinya. There are now 133...