Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road Defeats Obama’s Pivot to AsiaPosted: May 12, 2017
China has the economic resources to fund the construction of infrastructure in its neighbors and along its Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (OBOR). In doing so, China certainly takes political risks as quite a few of those countries lack political stability. Those countries will first be benefited while China will be benefited in the end if it is lucky enough. Anyway China can afford that.
China’s OBOR plan aims at benefiting itself through benefiting others with no intention to cause difficulties or contain any other countries but it in fact effectively counter US pivot to Asia that aims at containing China.
US pivot to Asia, however, solely aims at containing China. To make other countries join it, it creates the mythology of Chinese threat, but China’s OBOR initiative thoroughly breaks such mythology.
To attract other countries to join the US in containing China economically, former US president Obama almost succeeded in establishing his favorite Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by promising some benefits to some Asian countries, but Obama’s successor Trump and Clinton who tried but failed to succeed Obama, both find that the US cannot afford giving others such benefits. Trump withdrew from TPP as soon as he was inaugurated.
Now, Reuters says in its article “China says has ‘positive’ talks with Vietnam on South China Sea” today, Vietnam, “the country most openly at odds with China over the waterway since the Philippines pulled back from confrontation under President Rodrigo Duterte”, has sent its president Tran Dai Quang to attend China’s OBOR summit.
Obviously, Vietnam also wants to be benefited from China’s OBOR initiative though, strictly speaking, it is not a country along the Silk Road. It will certainly be pleased if China is willing to provide funds for construction of its infrastructure. That will make Vietnam put aside its disputes with China in the South China Sea.
In its article “Why China’s trump card in global diplomacy is fraught with peril” SCMP points out the lots of risks in China’s OBOR plan in its article “Why China’s trump card in global diplomacy is fraught with peril” on May 10. Like other Western and pro-Western media, SCMP believes China’s OBOR initiative aims at expanding its world influence and perhaps replacing the US as world leader.
If so, China certainly will make efforts alone instead of inviting as many countries as possible to share the benefits of its OBOR plan. To have world hegemony, one shall make oneself much stronger than others instead of making others grow stronger along with oneself.
Xi is very pragmatic. Take Vietnam for example, it is quite enough that China funds Vietnam’s infrastructure to facilitate moving its labor-intensive industries to exploit Vietnam’s cheap labor.
For Southeast Asia that is far from Silk Road, the infrastructure funded by China will first of all facilitate rich overseas Chinese there in growing their business. As overseas Chinese love their motherland, China’s influence will be greatly expanded there.
What is the use of US pivot there compared with China’s OBOR initiative that has in fact nothing to do with Southeast Asia as the area has never been along China’s Silk Road.
In my opinion, China holds the OBOR summit to mark the collapse of US pivot to Asia and China’s success in resisting the pivot.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ and SCMP’s articles, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-vietnam-idUSKBN1871HH and http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2093140/why-risks-abound-belt-and-road.