Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order
By JANE PERLEZ and YUFAN HUANGMAY 13, 2017 /NYTIMES
The projects inherently serve China’s economic interests. With growth slowing at home, China is producing more steel, cement and machinery than the country needs. So Mr. Xi is looking to the rest of the world, particularly developing countries, to keep its economic engine going.
“President Xi believes this is a long-term plan that will involve the current and future generations to propel Chinese and global economic growth,” said Cao Wenlian, director general of the International Cooperation Center of the National Development and Reform Commission, a group dedicated to the initiative. “The plan is to lead the new globalization 2.0.”
Mr. Xi is rolling out a more audacious version of the Marshall Plan, America’s postwar reconstruction effort. Back then, the United States extended vast amounts of aid to secure alliances in Europe. China is deploying hundreds of billions of dollars of state-backed loans in the hope of winning new friends around the world, this time without requiring military obligations.
Mr. Xi’s plan stands in stark contrast to President Trump and his “America First” mantra. The Trump administration walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the American-led trade pact that was envisioned as a buttress against China’s growing influence.
As head of the Communist Party, Mr. Xi is promoting global leadership in China’s own image, emphasizing economic efficiency and government intervention. And China is corralling all manner of infrastructure projects under the plan’s broad umbrella, without necessarily ponying up the funds.
China is moving so fast and thinking so big that it is willing to make short-term missteps for what it calculates to be long-term gains. Even financially dubious projects in corruption-ridden countries like Pakistan and Kenya make sense for military and diplomatic reasons.The United States and many of its major European and Asian allies have taken a cautious approach to the project, leery of bending to China’s strategic goals. Some, like Australia, have rebuffed Beijing’s requests to sign up for the plan. Despite projects on its turf, India is uneasy because Chinese-built roads will run through disputed territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Read more…
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