Renewals of the China's Mammoth Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) were in full swing this week as the country hosted a huge forum, denouncing President Xi Jinping the benefits of multinational cooperation and sustainable infrastructure, while he pointed to the effort to find a solution.
The size and breadth of the Second Belt and the International Cooperation Road Forum in Beijing, which spanned everything from environmental policy to corruption and China's lending practices, underlined China's efforts to restore BRI's image.
Apart from the hundreds of meetings and signed agreements, the photo ops with three dozen heads of state, and the promises of both private and public investment in infrastructure and trade, Xi sought to underline China's good intentions and commitment Transparency and building a "high-quality, sustainable, risk-resilient, affordable and inclusive infrastructure", as he said in his keynote address on the opening day of the three-day forum.
He sought to become louder and fearing that the BRI was a tool for China to expand its influence and earn some money by sharing this news during a roundtable meeting of Heads of State and Government and a rare meeting Journalists repeated on Saturday afternoon.
Xi said a total of $ 64 billion in agreements had been signed during the forum, but he gave no details or confirmed who signed them. The initiative he launched in 201
"It looks like this is a kind of readjustment of the original One Belt One Road, now the BRI," said Bruno S Sergi, a senior economist and political economist in Russia and China Harvard University and an associate at the Harvard Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
"Zero corruption, green, multilateral, quality, sustainability are the new glossary terms of the Chinese president," said Sergi. "Undoubtedly, these new terms are pointing in the right direction."
The forum did not shed light on whether all of these new terms are translated into more than just talking and a lot of marketing.
Debt Traps Concerns
At age six, it's still a start to a very long-term plan, Sergi said.
To date, around $ 90 billion has been invested in several BRI funds. related projects, but several hundred billion have been loosely tied, and it will be years before all the capital is invested, even though China's policymakers have more than $ 300 billion in outstanding funding.
WATCH: China's Xi Promises to Fight Corruption "at the Belt and Road Summit
The plan has certainly attracted attention and 125 countries have signed up.
Italy joined the first major European economy in late March
But the backlash has grown in recent years.Some countries fear that China is forcing them into a debt trap or that the plan is another form of colonialism.
Malaysia canceled Some BRI projects related to widespread corruption Turkey overruled the forum, citing fears of debt trap diplomacy In Montenegro, BRI financing has dramatically increased public debt.
Xi endeavored to address these concerns by advocating the environmental and financial sustainability of projects and investment used.
However, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what the BRI is and what its benefits are, not because there are none, but because the initiative is so great that it defies a simple definition.
At the forum, Xi linked the BRI with connectivity and cooperation, with the "Challenges and Risks of Humanity", Global Economic Growth, International Trade and Investment, Governance, Multilateralism, Green Development and Innovation.
He pledged to invite 10,000 representatives of "political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations" to expand market access, improve intellectual property protection, boost imports, co-ordinate macroeconomic policies, and promote larger ones Opening.
While the BRI has started as an infrastructure investment and loan program, it has become an all-rounder for virtually everything China does overseas. Joshua Eisenman, assistant professor at the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a China expert who has accompanied the BRI since its inception
"Over time has become BRI has become a nickname for everything, "Eisenman said. "When people ask, will the BRI work?" They essentially ask, "Will Xi Jinping's foreign policy work?"
However, China is closing a funding gap that exists for many countries, especially emerging markets.
It is a gap that seems to fill no other major economy for the time being, and it gives huge amounts to countries that can not afford these loans. 19659026] Workers inspect railways that serve as part of the Belt-Road freight rail link connecting Chongqing with Duisburg at Dazhou Station in Sichuan Province, China [Reuters]