Key South East Asian nations have echoed India’s position on President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and expressed concerns over the Chinese debt trap ahead of the second BRI summit to be convened by Beijing As many as 70% of the respondents in a recent survey conducted by a Singapore think tank among stakeholders in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand pointed out that their governments should take a very careful and conservative attitude when discussing BRI.
One-third of those surveyed complained about the lack of transparency of the One Belt One Road plan, and 16% predicted the plan will eventually fail. About half the people surveyed recognised that China has superior regional influence than the US. 60% of the respondents said US global power has declined in the past year. One-third thought the US has completely lost its influence in the region.
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India has not joined BRI and has expressed strong reservation on the funding pattern and objectives of the plan. India has made no bones about the fact that big Chinese loans under BRI are pushing countries towards a debt trap. Delhi is also hoping to create connectivity projects in SE Asia based on requirements of the nations in the region.
But it is not just SE Asia that is worried about Chinese ambitions. The Federation of German Industries NSE 1.93 % recently called on the European Union to take a stronger economic position against Mainland China to help EU firms fight unfair competitive methods like product dumping, compulsive technology transfer and inequality in financial backing.
The Federation made its official announcement on January 10 with 54 requests for the German government and the EU to provide assistance. The announcement emphasised that while German firms need the Chinese market, the Chinese government had refused to provide necessary market access.