The Belt & Road Initiative: Bold Economic Agenda or Chinese Political Ploy?

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By The China Africa Project, Eric Ol, er, and Cobus van Staden. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In the U.S. and many parts of Europe, China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is often seen as "Trojan Horse" where Beijing uses the lure of trade and investment to discretely extend its political influence around the world. Not surprisingly, in China, those U.S. and European fears are quickly dismissed.

Understanding these different perceptions is very important given how high the stakes are, both for the member states in places like Africa and the international system as a whole.

"More than any other project, [BRI] has come to symbolize a new phase in China's rise, the moment when Beijing embraces its role as a new superpower, capable of remaking the world economy and attracting other countries to its own economic orbit and ideological model," said Portuguese minister and Hudson Institute fellow Bruno Maçães in his new book "Belt and Road - A Chinese World Order."

In our ongoing series that explores different interpretations of the BRI, Eric and Cobus are joined this week by Zhu Zheng, an international affairs columnist for the financial newspaper Caijing and a research fellow at the China-Eastern Europe Institute. Zhu has traveled across Belt and Road countries in Asia, the Americas, and Eastern Europe and writes extensively on the subject for his readers in China.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION:

What do you think of the Belt and Road Initiative? Do you want your country to join in the hopes of tapping investment funds for infrastructure development and increased trading opportunities with China? Or, do you share the U.S. concerns that this whole thing is really just a ploy to expand Chinese political influence throughout the developing world? Let us know what you think.

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289 episodes