Introduced under considerable fanfare in 2015, CPEC provides much-needed financing for infrastructure and energy pipelines that Pakistan could not entice other investors to underwrite. However, the expected payoff is unlikely to compensate for the sizable risks to which these investments expose the Pakistani economy.
China’s infrastructure and energy driven US$1 trillion Belt and Road initiative involves risky bets across a swath of land populated by often illiberal or autocratic governments exercising power without independent checks and balances. Seeking to reduce risk, China is bumping up against the limits of its own long-standing foreign and defence policy principles, foremost among which its insistence on non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, the equivalent of the United States’ preference for stability rather than political change.
The ballots hadn’t even been counted yet when the deals were announced. On April 26, just two days after Election Day, Indonesia signed 23 memorandums of understanding with China, worth $14.2 billion in all, for several major infrastructure projects. They came after months of silence about Chinese investment in Indonesia—by design, as President Joko Widodo feared attempts by the opposition to paint him as being too pro-China.
More to the point, when it comes to China, we are dealing with a unique and very formidable cultural organism. The American foreign policy elite does not like to talk about culture since culture cannot be quantified, and in this age of extreme personal sensitivity, what cannot be quantified or substantiated by a footnote is potentially radioactive. But without a discussion of culture and geography, there is simply no hope of understanding foreign affairs.
Empirical evidence of China’s aggression is increasingly common, from its attempt to dominate the South China Sea, the neo-imperialist effort to gain control of states through the Belt and Road Initiative, to its technological imperialism to control 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. What is rather less frequent are statements from high-level Chinese officials proclaiming the country’s intent to be aggressive and offering an attempted legitimising principle justifying that aggression.
Port City Colombo, an ambitious Chinese-funded project to build a new metropolis on a 665-acre island reclaimed from the sea, is set to rise just off the popular spot in a couple of decades. Rising in tandem, however, are concerns about the amount Beijing is lending Colombo, and the circumstances of those loans – with the controversial China-backed Hambantota Port looming large in Sri Lankans’ memory.
Read Here – South China Morning Post
The fact that 37 heads of state and government attended the just concluded second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing proves that a growing number of states are seeking to jump on the BRI bandwagon and grab a slice of the pie. It is indeed a massive initiative, envisioning an integrated network stretching from the shores of the Pacific to the heart of Europe, while extending to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa.
A red carpet, gala dinner and a greeting at the presidential palace by guards on horseback – a privilege usually reserved for monarchs and popes – marked Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival in Italy last month for a landmark moment in his signature project to revitalise the ancient Silk Road.
The admiration of India’s attempt to engage China through the Modi-Xi Wuhan informal meeting has faded away in recent months, prompting some to ask: Did the Wuhan Summit provide India with any tangible outcome? A cursory response to the question seems a no if recent developments are taken into consideration.