While China promotes its BRI to developing countries, these countries are often at risk of a poor economy, political instability and other domestic problems. This means that even as China’s influence is growing, the final result may be less than ideal, says Lianhe Zaobao journalist Miao Zong-Han.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has gone beyond just infrastructure projects to other areas such as digital development, health and green energy. In the face of negative perceptions of China, Beijing has sought to show its commitment to forging a multilateral BRI that would generate benefits for all participating countries and not China alone. But do old habits die hard?
US President Joe Biden has suggested an alternative to China’s BRI — one that is enterprise-led, rather than country-led, bringing together democratic nations to help developing nations to upgrade their infrastructure. How attractive would this option be amid some countries’ fears that China is extending its influence through the BRI?
More than three quarters of the vaccinations that have taken place worldwide have been done in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP, while 2.5 billion people in almost 130 countries have yet to receive a single dose, according to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. China and India have since embarked on “vaccine diplomacy” in a bid to despatch vaccines to developing countries. They may have their own goals in doing so, but their timely humanitarian aid for others is exemplary, says Zhu Zhiqun.
Despite China identifying itself as a developing country at the WTO, it has been viewed in several quarters as one of the top countries in the world in terms of its economy and national strength. Economics professor Zhu Ying asks: is it any surprise that the US has never recognised China as a developing country?