Daily Management Review

China’s Belt And Road Must Be Green And Sustainable, Says Chinese President Xi


While claiming that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China, with its massive infrastructure and trade opportunities, would be able to offer “high-quality” growth for all participants, the country’s President Xi Jinping said that the project must be green and sustainable.
There has been several controversies regarding the high cost of infrastructure projects as expressed by some countries, even as the BRI plan aims to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond by rebuilding the old Silk Road.
Even though no specific costs of the ambitious project has been outlines by China, according to experts and making independent estimates, the costs cal can be equivalent to several trillion dollars.
Even though China has made repeated clarifications about its intention of not letting in participating countries into a debt trap, there have been serious concerns expressed by some participating countries about what would happen is if they are unable to repay the debt provided by China.
The initiative must underpin environmental protection “to protect the common home we live in”, Xi said in a keynote speech on Friday. “Operate in the sun and fight corruption together with zero tolerance,” Xi said. “Building high-quality, sustainable, risk-resistant, reasonably priced, and inclusive infrastructure will help countries to fully utilize their resource endowments,” he added.
Allegations from Western countries have centered around concerns of the attempt of China using this project to spread its influence across the world by providing unsustainable debt to poor countries. A few of the BRI projects have been caught up by changes in government in countries such as Malaysia and the Maldives, even though most of the projects are continuing as planned.
An airport in Sierra Leone and a power plant in Pakistan are among the projects that have been abandoned under this grand project. However, Beijing has continued ot argue that no country has been overburdened because of the so-called “debt traps”.
China’s finance ministry said in a report released on Thursday that calls for working together for building of a long-term, stable and sustainable financing system to manage risks have been given by the finance ministries of 28 countries to governments, financial institutions and companies from BRI countries since 2017.
The ministry said in the report that funds mobilization takes into account debt sustainability. The report also provided a framework that is put to use for analysis of debt sustainability of low-income BRI countries and the manner of managing such risks.
 “The BRI is an extraordinarily ambitious vision. To turn that vision into a sustainable reality, it must work for everyone involved,” British finance minister Philip Hammond said at the summit.
He said that highest global standards have to be considered while operating BRI despite the potential benefits of the project are clear. He also stressed that all of the related parties also need to function together according to the rules-based international system. That was the way for developing win-win outcomes for all, he said.
He said China will “improve laws and regulations, regulate government behavior at all levels in administrative licensing, market supervision and other areas, and clean up and abolish unreasonable regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market.”
 “Cambodia has not only been able to plan this project for the benefit of the people but also achieve financial engineering that does not increase public debt to the state,” said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.