Will ini­tia­tive help build a fairer world or­der?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

In the three years since Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­posed it, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tury Maritime Silk Road) has at­tracted many coun­tries as­pir­ing for true win-win co­op­er­a­tion, as op­posed to the West-cen­tric glob­al­iza­tion.

The rise of trade pro­tec­tion­ism in some Western coun­tries has cast a shadow over the al­ready weak­en­ing global eco­nomic growth. The Bei­jing-led ini­tia­tive, how­ever, is gain­ing fresh sup­port to serve as an apt al­ter­na­tive and cover ar­eas long ne­glected by the West-cen­tric glob­al­iza­tion and help em­bat­tled economies tide over the con­tin­u­ing fall­out of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

This year has seen ma­jor Belt and Road projects mak­ing huge progress and be­gin­ning to gen­er­ate de­cent div­i­dends for coun­tries along the two routes. With a ca­pac­ity of 50 megawatts and an an­nual av­er­age power gen­er­a­tion of about 317 gi­gawatt hours, the Up­per Marsyangdi A Hy­dropower Sta­tion, the first hy­dro­elec­tric pro­ject built in Nepal by a Chi­nese en­ter­prise (the Power Con­struc­tion Cor­po­ra­tion of China), has been put into op­er­a­tion.

The Ad­dis Ababa-Dji­bouti Rail­way, which con­nects the cap­i­tal cities of Ethiopia and Dji­bouti and was in­au­gu­rated two months ago, is Africa’s first cross-bor­der stan­dard gauge rail line as well as the first rail­way built com­pletely on Chi­nese stan­dards, tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment out­side China. Such projects, com­pleted or un­der con­struc­tion, are a boon for coun­tries with un­der­de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture and have great po­ten­tial to in­crease lo­cal em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic growth.

More­over, an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese en­ter­prises, in­clud­ing pri­vate ones, are will­ing to ex­plore over­seas mar­kets cov­ered by the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Non-State cap­i­tal has played a key role in ad­vanc­ing big multi­na­tional projects. On the one hand, many pri­vate en­ter­prises have felt a strong urge to re­lo­cate their ex­ces­sive ca­pac­ity in apt over­seas mar­kets in their pur­suit of in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion. On the other hand, sens­ing un­tapped busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties em­bed­ded in some coun­tries along the two routes, they have sought to fol­low and work with their State-owned coun­ter­parts there.

Pri­vate en­ter­prises’ in­creas­ingly ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in such projects fur­ther pro­motes the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. As a re­sult, more coun­tries along the routes are now will­ing to co­op­er­ate with Chi­nese com­pa­nies, adding more weight to China’s ca­pa­bil­ity to be a leader in global gov­er­nance.

The new Ad­dis Ababa-Dji­bouti Rail­way, for in­stance, is a gamechanger in the eyes of some lo­cal of­fi­cials, be­cause it can re­in­force the de­vel­op­ment of in­dus­trial parks, spe­cial eco­nomic zones and other in­dus­trial chains along the way. The same changes have also been felt by coun­tries like Cam­bo­dia, Laos and Myan­mar af­ter three years of co­op­er­a­tion.

As China strives to have a big­ger say in global af­fairs through ma­jor in­ter­na­tional events such as the G20 Lead­ers Sum­mit in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhe­jiang prov­ince, and the 8th BRICS Sum­mit in Goa, In­dia, its Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is ex­pected to serve as a lead­ing plat­form for more coun­tries to co­op­er­ate on an equal foot­ing.

That the coun­try is sched­uled to hold the first in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit fo­rum on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive next year may help trans­form more in­ter­ested ob­servers into par­tic­i­pants. Once a pro­posal, the ini­tia­tive will pro­duce both tan­gi­ble and in­tan­gi­ble fruits to safe­guard peace­ful de­vel­op­ment and re­cal­i­brate the world or­der in a fairer, more rea­son­able di­rec­tion.

The au­thor is an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, and a re­search fel­low at the Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion.

CAI MENG / CHINA DAILY

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