China takes lead in in­fras­truc­ture

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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.

Jiaru Li,

UPEI stu­dent

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