The Watcher: How China benefit from its Belt and Road Initiative?
By Robert L. Kuhn
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching - China’s Belt and Road Initiative: large-scale development, especially infrastructure in developing countries.
China’s President Xi Jinping combines the grand vision of the “project of the century” with specific commitments of resources and financing.
Over 70 countries and international organizations have signed agreements with China. Chinese investment has surpassed 50 billion US dollars.
A multi-dimensional infrastructure network is taking shape – economic corridors, land-sea-air transportation routes, and major rail, port and pipeline projects.
I applaud China's aim to instill world-class “best practices” in project management and finance. Why such significance for the Belt and Road?
For the world, poverty, under-development, and vast inequalities are deep, seemingly intractable problems – and economic development, catalyzed by infrastructure construction – for which China has the most experience – is an essential part of the solutions.
Some critics question China’s motives in the Belt and Road Initiative; some even accuse China of fostering “economic neo-colonialism.”
It would be a mistake for Chinese officials to counter such accusations by implying that China is all-altruism, giving without getting, a paragon of selfless virtue – which only increases suspicion.
China’s President Xi Jinping’s “win-win” philosophy means that both sides win. This is why China’s three “joint” principles of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits" are essential. Explaining how China benefits from the Belt and Road Initiative builds credibility for China.
Here are seven ways:
First, China’s industrial overcapacity can be utilized or moved. Second, China acquires preferential access to natural resources.
Third, infrastructure projects mean business for Chinese companies. Fourth, economic growth in developing countries diversifies China’s trade.
Fifth, China’s provinces heavily involved in Belt and Road projects are relatively underdeveloped, thus helping to rebalance dangerous imbalances. Sixth, China builds international support for its “core issues.”
Seven, China contributes to the world, especially the developing world, by sharing the fruits and principles of its developmental success.
President Xi proclaims that China’s rise will benefit all mankind. I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
(Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a CGTN anchor, a public intellectual, international corporate strategist and investment banker.)