China goes gentle on Belt and Road Initiative
Published: April 27, 2019
The Chinese government is trying to put up a gentler face on its huge plan for recreation of old Silk Road at a summit where it explained that it has to do more to explain the program and hence boost sustainability even as the state-led media hit at the critics.
The Belt and Road Initiative which is considered as the cornerstone of the Jinping administration has faced severe opposition from some nations who had fears that the opaque financing arrangements will lead to unsustainable debt. They also state that the program is largely about the promotion of Chinese influence than bringing development in reality. There have been times when China has angrily reacted to such accusations and have to characterise its critics as having anti-Chinese sentiment and being the ones who want to contain the rise of the country and completely overlooking its honest intentions.
China has always maintained that the Belt and Road initiative only seeks to build a modern version of the Silk Road for linking China with Asia, Europe and even beyond via large-scale infrastructure projects. President Xi Jinping told the foreign leaders which also included the allies like Russian President Putin and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan that the BRI should be green and sustainable and said that the plan will bring in high-quality growth for all the parties involved.
In his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Xi said that the Belt and Road were all about the promotion of mutually beneficial and win-win international cooperation. Xi stated, “We must explain this point to the world, to win even greater understanding and support”. China is trying hard to show the acceptance of the Belt and Road Initiative even in the Western nations, especially after Italy had become the first G7 country to opt of it last month. The event was attended by the finance minister of Britain, the foreign minister of France and even the economy minister of Germany. The countries, however, reiterated the need for high standards and transparency. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Foreign Minister of France said that the success of the initiative and projects “will depend on our determination to keep our commitments. Commitment to openness, commitment to transparency, commitment to fair competition and, of course, commitment to environmental sustainability as well”.