When China’s president Xi Jinping baptized his edition of the former silk road, he called it “One Belt, One Road“. That idea and its name went against the idea of the old silk road, which was an organic set of trade routes, says Harry Broadman, former PwC Emerging Markets Investment Leader, in the Gulf News. The centralized approach by Beijing does not appeal to all stakeholders, he says.
Only after criticism was voiced by a number of countries that Beijing was looking to sign up that the OBOR labelling conveyed China’s aim for regional domination did Xi ordered the “One” to be dropped. However, by the time the change was implemented damage has been done.
In May 2017, Xi held a Belt-Road gala, but less than half of the 65 partnering countries were represented by heads of state. At the close of the summit, Xi issued a “joint” communique, but it was signed by only 30 countries. Not an overwhelming endorsement.
And in the beginning of December 2017, Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar announced they cancelled or sidelined three major Chinese hydroelectricity Belt-Road projects worth nearly $20 billion due to unfavourable financing terms or irregularities in the sponsoring firms’ irregularities.
As China continues to roll out its Belt-Road program it would do well to work in full collaboration from the ground up with proposed partner countries.
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