Thursday, April 18, 2019
Resistance to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is growing ahead of the second BRI summit in China
Source: Source: Oxford Analytica
International pushback against the BRI is a response to its successes, but large and potentially unsustainable debt burdens arise from bad lending decisions rather than strategy. More ominous for President Xi Jinping are the signs of discontent with the Initiative within China.
The Belt and Road Forum in China this month gives Xi a chance to reinvigorate the initiative. The meeting will be stage-managed to ensure this happens, but it could still be embarrassing if poorly attended or if opponents of the BRI are able to take advantage of the publicity it generates to broadcast negative messages of their own.
Malaysia’s success in bargaining down the price of a major rail project may embolden other governments to attempt the same thing.BRI projects will play into election debates in host countries; transitions to new administrations will call projects into doubt.Joining the BRI is not a sign that a country sides with China against the United States, though some in Washington may view it this way.