New Straits Times - - World -

con­tracts, ex­pand­ing China’s eco­nomic reach and Xi’s per­sonal author­ity as holder of the purse strings. The Asian Devel­op­ment Bank says the re­gion, home to 60 per cent of the world’s peo­ple, needs more than US$26 tril­lion (RM113 tril­lion) of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment by 2030 to keep economies grow­ing.

“China has not just the re­sources, which is key, but also the vi­sion and de­sire and strat­egy to push its en­gage­ment out­side its bor­ders,” Afghan am­bas­sador to Bei­jing Janan Mosazai said.

Yet, the ini­tia­tive also comes with sig­nif­i­cant risks to Xi’s stature and legacy.

It could set back the goal of es­tab­lish­ing a do­mes­tic econ­omy cen­tred on con­sump­tion rather than in­vest­ment, said po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Hu Xing­dou.

“China’s in­vest­ment pri­or­ity should be at home, not abroad. It’s pos­si­ble that such for­wardleap­ing overseas in­vest­ments may de­lay do­mes­tic devel­op­ment.”

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