China’s ‘New Silk Road’ stokes opposition
The Belt and Road Initiative is a massive China-led infrastructure project that aims to stretch around the globe.
New Delhi: The Belt and Road Initiative is a massive China-led infrastructure project that aims to stretch around the globe.
Some analysts see the project as a disturbing expansion of Chinese power, and the United States has struggled to offer a competing vision, as per an article in the Council on Foreign Relations.
The initiative has stoked opposition in some Belt and Road countries that have experienced debt crises, the article said. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road, is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived.
Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the vast collection of development and investment initiatives was originally devised to link East Asia and Europe through physical infrastructure. In the decade since, the project has expanded to Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, significantly broadening China’s economic and political influence.
Some analysts see the project as an unsettling extension of China’s rising power, and as the costs of many of the projects have skyrocketed, opposition has grown in some countries. Meanwhile, the United States shares the concern of some in Asia that the BRI could be a Trojan horse for China-led regional development and military expansion, the article in the Council on Foreign Relations said.
To date, 147 countries -- accounting for two-thirds of the world’s population and 40 per cent of global GDP -- have signed onto projects or indicated an interest in doing so, it added. China has both geopolitical and economic motivations behind the initiative. Xi Jinping has promoted a vision of a more assertive China, even as the country’s outstanding loans have grown to the equivalent of over a quarter of its GDP, the article said.