Paper: “ONE BELT, ONE ROAD: CHINA’S GREAT LEAP OUTWARD”

Link: https://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/China_analysis_belt_road.pdf

An analysis by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Some quotes:

**This is also a geopolitical and diplomatic offensive; Xi Jinping talked first of a “community of destiny” among Asians, and our sources offer reassurance that China is seeking to “supplement” the existing international order rather than to revise it. But money also talks, and a strategy largely based on loans and aid is building China’s financial power, in addition to the trade power it already possesses. **

**Japan, for example, has just announced a $110 billion infrastructure fund for Asia, and the Asian Development Bank is hurriedly revising its disbursement rules to increase its lending capacity. This does not even include the grand bargain being discussed with Russia on overland transport, energy, and cyber-connectivity. **

**Much of China’s logic on the project is based on geopolitics and on the export of its huge infrastructure-building capacities. But even within China, these sectors are leading loss-makers. For the time being, however, no partner can ignore China’s throwweight and its track record in building massive infrastructure. Europe itself is also setting up a €315 billion infrastructure investment plan that is contingent on market financing. How it will manage to leverage China’s capital export drive for European growth is another interesting question – and perhaps a more important issue than that of a European minority stake in the AIIB. **

**The reasons of Asian and emerging countries for joining the AIIB are quite straightforward. However, Meng tries to understand why European powers have embraced the AIIB […] Meng says that the European countries’ decision to join the bank is not irrational. Europe has experienced economic difficulties over the past few years, and it is looking to benefit from Asia’s impressive growth. Besides, in spite of its own depressed economic environment, European Union member states have plenty of funds available for investment, and they are looking for more profitable opportunities than those available in Europe. […] Meng also points out that, since China’s influence in the world is growing fast, EU countries see the AIIB as an opportunity to deepen their relations with China. […] Therefore, just like emerging countries, the EU might be growing more interested in building a space for itself outside US influence, and in looking to increase its “speaking rights” in the international order.**