Belt & Road Initiative; One of the most ambitious projects that China has relied on to increase its presence in other countries and foster its geopolitical expansion announced in 2013, which focuses on carrying out large infrastructure projects in developing countries, which are financed and operated by Chinese banks and companies. 

The number of countries that have supposedly joined this initiative varies according to the sources consulted. Some sources in China mention having 140 signed agreements, while other sources report that around 70 Countries have actually established a formal commitment.

What is a fact is that this initiative has become an opportunity for some countries to carry out infrastructure works at more accessible long-term credit rates, while China strengthens its presence and develops infrastructure in neighboring geographies and also further afield to encourage trade. 

US & Japan signed to carry Infrastructure, Energy, Supply chain & Connectivity Projects Internationally

On January 14, 2021, seeking to establish a similar initiative, the US and Japan, the first and third global economic powers signed an agreement to carry out infrastructure, energy, supply chain, and connectivity projects internationally.

It is analysed that in addition to covering Western Countries, this initiative would focus on South and Southeast Asia, Central and Western Europe, and Africa.

As possible allies or formal Partners, India, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan could join, since the initiative is aligned with their interests and there were previously intentions of cooperation between these countries to form an alternative option to counterbalance China. 

It is worth remembering that carrying out large infrastructure projects in a country implies formalizing constant contact with local authorities, which translates into political and business relationship links that facilitate future projects, generate affinity, preference and long-term relationship.

Therefore, for both initiatives it is important not only the size of each project, but also the number and diversity of countries that are integrated, since they not only become commercial partners, but also potential allies on international issues. 

A category of infrastructure that stands out to encourage international trade is the development of ports, since maritime routes continue to be the most efficient way to manage volume and cost, but in addition, the construction and control of a port can also mean the opportunity for the establishment of military bases, an objective that China has begun to explore in different latitudes and that worries other military powers such as the USA. 

Ultimately, the success and expansion of these large infrastructure initiatives, led by China or by the US and Japan, will depend on the capital assigned and the ease of accessing credit, as countries will seek the most accessible option, favoring financial conditions. on geopolitics.

Author: Enrique Alanis
Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.