TIES THAT BIND
WORDS BY IRIS LIM PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES
CHINA’S ASCENDANCE CONTINUES with the next edition of the Belt and Road Forum, which Beijing will host next year. The country’s One Belt One Road initiative involves expanding China’s maritime Silk Road, which mirrors the historic overland trade route that connected China to Europe and the Middle East.
The new Silk Road will link 65% of the world. While helpful to China, its benefit for the rest is still murky with some calling it a “trillion-dollar mistake”. For one, many participating countries risk financial and environmental damage. Sri Lanka’s ill-advised, poorly financed Hambantota Port is an example. Sovereignty issues abound too with Vietnam and India having territorial disputes with China. India had declined the invitation to attend the 2017 Belt and Road Summit. For all its considerable resources, China is also possibly overstretching itself with the initiative. Perhaps the upcoming forum will offer an accurate idea of how things will develop. AM