CHINA: ONE BELT, ONE FOE
As a grim-faced Xi Jinping took the stage at the China National Convention Center on May 14, the Chinese president may have allowed himself a smile. Less than four years after he floated the idea of building ‘a new silk road' - similar initiatives by Europe, the US and Russia had largely fizzled out-here was Xi, being feted by 29 visiting world leaders, from Putin and Erdogan to Sharif and Wickremasinghe, as the new champion of globalisation.
Xi offered over a hundred billion dollars in loans and investments at the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF), a summit to formalise his pet One Belt, One Road (OBOR) plan that consists of a land belt of economic corridors to Europe and a maritime silk road network of ports in Southeast and South Asia.
The conspicuous absentee, of course, was India, the only major country to boycott the BRF. While no big Western leader was present, Trump sent a fairly high-powered delegation, led by Senior Director for Asia at the National Security Council (NSC), Matt Pottinger. The UK, France and Germany sent ministers
Xi with Putin and other world leaders at the BRF venue