China takes lead in infrastructure
I commend Colin Cram’s argument for the economic benefit and international clout derived from China’s Belt and Road initiative (UK ignores China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road plan at its peril, 24 July). Regarding the status quo of infrastructure construction in China, can Britain’s poor investment in transport reasonably be compared with the massive infrastructure spending in China? As a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Britain is on board. How much will it benefit from the scheme?
By the end of 2013, there were four western Chinese provinces in which some towns and villages have not been connected with highways. In Shanghai, the most developed and densely populated city of China, the highway density just reached 5.31 kilometers per 10 thousand people.
It seems the length of the highway network China’s government plans to extend, as well as some funds it is ready to appropriate, is much more admirable than Britain’s. Taking China’s backward situation in western areas and large population base into account, no wonder its government spends much more on transport than Britain’s does.
On December 25, 2015, Lou Jiwei, China’s secretary of treasury announced that AIIB Agreement signed by 57 founding members, Britain included, formally came into effect. Only when this touchstone of Belt and Road runs transparently and remains profitmaking, will the initiative make a great difference.
According to the agreement, developing countries are entitled to 70 per cent of votes. Whether Britain can take a share of the spoils remains untested.