What does the Future Hold for China’s Belt and Road Initiative? | New Eastern Outlook


30-04-20 09:47:00,


The world has become all jumbled under the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic. Borders are being closed. National currencies are crashing. Airline flights are being cancelled between countries and regions, as well as domestic auto and rail connections. By and large, people have “fled” to quarantine and self-isolation. It’s too early to speak about positive results of many of these (at times) harsh measures (besides for China, which demonstrated to the world community an example of discipline and selflessness).

Unquestionably, the world will be different after overcoming COVID-19, something never before seen in human history. There will be clear differences in the principles and character of international relations, the workings of the world’s economy, traditional bonds of multinational cooperation, interrelationships (“people-to-people”), and universal human values. But looking at the big picture, can we speak at all now about globalization and the current world order, when governments, and people, in essence, have walled themselves off from each other, and hidden behind the doors of their “quarters” to survive this economic and geopolitical shock, and many of the severest types of consequences of the coming years?

But it is worthwhile and necessary, nevertheless, to contemplate the future, the fate of the largest projects, for example, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is founded on elements that are absolutely at odds with the pandemic – the widest integration and cooperation over a vast expanse of land and sea in various directions. At the same time, while the pandemic has exposed all the risks and weaknesses of global interdependence, we cannot discount that it will affect China’s initiative. Due to the tense situation, questions justifiably arise: is there a scenario for development of the BRI project in upcoming months, or on the horizon? What are the most difficult problems Beijing faces?

As a reminder: First: BRI is the favorite child of Xí Jìnpíng, who announced his plans for implementation in September 2013, a time noted for an annual GDP growth rate of nearly 8%, and China’s “stash” of about 4 trillion dollars. Expert opinion in Beijing formed around the view that both the overland project and Sea silk road were for the Chairman of the PRC priorities No. 9 and 10 out of a list of 10, with No.

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