After decades of rapid growth, China is now the world’s second-largest economy and intends to increase its influence by bankrolling its “One Belt, One Road” policy.
The goal of the initiative is to boost trade and development by connecting Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Numerous foreign diplomats and business leaders are expected to attend a two-day meeting in Beijing this weekend to discuss the policy.
Announced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the “One Belt, One Road” policy is noted as one of China’s three national strategies which will connect 65 countries via a vast logistics and transport network, using roads, ports, railway tracks, pipelines, airports, transnational electric grids and fiber optic lines.
According to Oxford Economics, the countries included in the plan account for one-third of global GDP and 60 percent of the world’s population, or 4.5 billion people. The four big state-owned banks in China are estimated to have extended $90 billion in loans to the targeted countries in 2016. Credit Suisse has estimated that China could invest up to $500 billion in the associated countries during the next five years.
The “One Belt, One Road” policy is China’s initiative to increase global influence while also benefitting less-developed western China and helping the country obtain access to energy resources. Many of the proposed projects involve China’s state-owned enterprises, including oil and gas companies and railway construction entities.
Some experts contend that China has an opportunity to assume the global leadership role that the United States previously held. They cite that America’s move to second place connects to President Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
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