15 April 2015
China is trying to connect more than 20 countries along the ancient Silk Road under a grandiose program christened “One Belt, One Road.” But the more than $140 billion program is facing challenges in many places over wars, territorial disputes and domestic unrest.
The plan involves expanding China’s economic influence by establishing two big foreign trade routes. One stretches overland from China through Central Asia and on to Europe, traversing many countries that are desperate for more trade options to grow their economies. The other route is a maritime trade link connecting Chinese ports with coastal trading hubs in Africa and the Middle East.
For many countries along the route, China’s ambitions could bring a welcome economic boost.
… Countries that are extremely reluctant to join include Vietnam and the Philippines, according to Li Mingjiang, associate professor and coordinator of China Programme at Singapore’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. Vietnam experienced anti-China riots last year after a Chinese oil rig parked in waters claimed by Vietnam. The Philippines has sought international arbitration in contesting Beijing’s claims to remote reefs that Manila claims as its own.
“There is also a feeling among ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries that China’s influence will rise much higher through the Silk Road program. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are concerned about this issue,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015