By Yunong Sun - Student of the General Studies course
A new direction was pointed out by the Chinese 7th president Xi Jinping, in 2013, which is the “Belt and Road Initiative”. In the last decades, the Chinese economy has shown rapid growth on the world stage, which is seen as a threat by the U.S. As more of the regulations and limitations were stressed on the Chinese international companies, such as Zhongxing and Huawei, China came up with this economic strategy “One Belt One Road”, which is shortened from “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road”. The initiative focuses on infrastructure investment, education, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile, real estate, power grid, and iron and steel between China and the rest of the world, specifically, with the countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. (Kuo & Kommenda, 2018). The Belt and Road Initiative will bring a massive amount of opportunities in both economic growth and cultural exchange. It will not only benefit China and the countries on the road in the big picture, but also every single business and individuals on both sides.
From the perspective of China, the motive of the “Belt and Road Initiative” is deeper than just the economy. This ally forming strategy has been used by the US and the Soviet Union. However, for the US and the Soviet Union, military cooperation and forming politic allies are the starting points, where the economy was never the main goal (Huang, 2016). Nevertheless, business and transportation along the silk road between China and other countries will guarantee the dominant position of China in the European and African markets. And this dominance in the economy will also strengthen the position of China in politics facing the US and Russia.
From the perspective of the European and African countries, the benefit from the “Belt and Road Initiative” is unaccountable. China is known to be a manufacturing country, especially the province Yiwu. As the trade connects with the initiative, European countries can purchase materials and goods directly from the original manufacturer, which will be a lot cheaper, faster and easier.
Also, for the people in China and the countries along the road, the opportunities from the initiative are focusing on education, cultural exchange, and tourism. Young people will have more options on study abroad, not just limit the vision of the US, Australia, and Canada. So far, the Chinese Ministry of Education has already built 4 organizations and 98 study programs in 14 countries beyond the border. Most of the programs are scattered along the “Road and Belt” area. More job opportunities can be created as the initiative opens the market. And entrepreneurship and investment projects will be encouraged taking place with the road and belt countries as the tariff decreases. Also, the cultural festivals in the belt and road countries will attract a huge number of tourists from China, which will bring another big flow of business.
In conclusion, the “Road and Belt Initiative” is a smart move from China. It not only aims to open and connect the markets with Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia, but also intends to form a tight bond with these countries, which will strengthen the position of China in the world stage. The opportunities and benefits from the “Road and Belt Initiative” have an important impact on both countries and individuals.
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Huang, Y. (2016). Understanding Chinas Belt & Road Initiative: Motivation, framework and assessment. China Economic Review, 40, 314–321. doi: 10.1016/j.chieco.2016.07.007
Kuo, L. & Kommenda, N. (2018, July 30). What is China's Belt and Road Initiative? The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2018/jul/30/what-china-belt-road-initiative-silk-road-explainer