If large powers in the region and the world do not actively cooperate with the BRI, risk factors will greatly increase over time for the project, says Chinese scholar Huang Renwei
By Duncan DeAeth,Taiwan News, Staff Writer
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Monday May 14, at the “First Shanghai Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative”scholars met to discuss the Chinese project that has been dubbed the “new silk road,” with at least one scholar raising warnings about the long-term sustainability of the project.
If China’s campaign to integrate Asia’s regional markets under Chinese leadership does not have the support and cooperation of the major regional powers, then the One Belt, One Road Initiative (BRI) will become increasingly difficult to maintain, and is unlikely to yield long-term success, argued one scholar.
Huang Renwei (黃仁偉) is the dean of Fudan University’s Belt, Road and Global Governance Research Institute (一帶一路及全球治理研究院). His remarks at the forum put the challenges faced by the BRI in stark contrast to the usual effusive praise that comes from Chinese state run media.
Scholars agree that the BRI project, promoted in China as the brainchild of Xi Jinping, faces a certain amount of risk for the sheer amount of investment spanning so many countries and industries. Huang however explained that if large powers in the region do not actively cooperate with the BRI project, then risk factors will grow immensely over time.
His assessment focused primarily on the idea that cooperation of the large regional powers, such as India, Japan, and Russia, would help mitigate risks that the BRI faces moving forward. If any of these powers were to actively seek to impede the progress of the initiative, risk factors would increase dramatically.
Huang suggests that all three of the countries have interests that could be served by the BRI. Russia is very likely to support China’s initiative going forward, however Japan and India are currently weighing the risks versus advantages of active participation in the BRI project.
More worryingly for the BRI are the current attitudes of the European Union, and the Unites States towards China’s trade policies and its strategy to dominate regional markets. Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has openly criticized the project.
The United States in particular views the BRI project as a clear attempt to directly subvert the current international order, by creating a vassal system giving China regional hegemony in Asia.
Beyond the risk factors associated with political power, Renwei also noted other serious risks for the initiative related to issues like international currency exchange rates; the long term performance of loans for infrastructure projects given to foreign countries; ecological problems; and organized crime are all items that will continue to figure prominently in risk assessment for the BRI, reports Liberty Times.