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  • Chinese President Xi Jinping calls it the

  • project of the century.

  • China's sprawling belt and road initiative,

  • sometimes called the New Silk Road.

  • Measured in today's dollars it has already cost more

  • than the US Marshal Plan that rebuilt Europe

  • after World War II.

  • The World Bank estimates that some $575 billion

  • worth of energy plants, railways, roads,

  • ports, and other projects have been built

  • or are in the works.

  • With 130 nations signing deals or expressing interest

  • from power plants in Pakistan to a high speed rail line

  • in Indonesia it's one of the most ambitious

  • intercontinental infrastructure projects in human history.

  • The stakes for the belt and road project are astronomical.

  • Both monetarily as Morgan Stanley estimates spending will

  • total $1.3 trillion by 2027.

  • And for China's global image on the world stage.

  • China would like to make a deal much more than I would.

  • As President Donald Trump scales back

  • US involvement in international trade agreements

  • Xi is using the belt and road to position himself

  • as the champion of global cooperation, development,

  • and free trade.

  • But the project is not without its critics.

  • There are accusations that China is luring poorer countries

  • into debt traps for its own political

  • and strategic gain.

  • With some countries even downsizing or completely

  • canceling projects even as new deals are being signed.

  • Several countries have had to rethink their involvement.

  • Often after popular backlash or change of government,

  • or both.

  • For example Sri Lanka borrowed $8 billion to build

  • a new port, couldn't repay the loans,

  • and then gave a state-owned Chinese company

  • a 99 year lease in exchange for debt relief.

  • The port has little business now but provides China

  • a strategic berth along key shipping lanes.

  • Myanmar also drastically scaled back a port deal

  • struck under its previous military regime.

  • Originally to $7.5 billion reduced to just $1.3 billion.

  • China would like to get somewhat of a roll back.

  • The Trump administration has sought to

  • capitalize on the doubts with Vice President Mike Pence

  • telling southeast Asian nations the US would not offer

  • a constricting belt or a one way road.

  • In the face of criticism President Xi is doing

  • damage control.

  • Calling the project a road for peace.

  • In 2018 the initiative extended into South America,

  • the Caribbean, and even the Arctic.

  • In 2019 Italy became the first group of seven nation

  • to sign up, brushing off warnings from both American

  • and European allies.

  • In Asia these are the countries that approve

  • of the belt and road project.

  • These are cautious, and these are opposed.

  • Overall the World Bank says the revived silk road

  • has the potential to stimulate economic growth.

  • But with that growth comes challenges.

  • Some of the risks include allegations of corruption

  • like those the Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister is facing

  • and potential for environmental damage.

  • Which prompted a Kenyan court to order a halt to

  • a power plant being built on Lamu Island,

  • a major tourist destination.

  • Xi, who is dealing with China's own debt problems

  • and slowing economic growth has promised debt relief

  • to some African nations.

  • And a top Chinese regulator called for greater

  • social responsibility in overseas investments.

  • That's the kind of sensitivity China will need to show

  • and follow through on if it's to win over their skeptics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping calls it the

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B1 中級

中国の巨大グローバル建設プロジェクト (China's Giant Global Construction Project)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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