South Asia

China’s Silk Road to counter Washington’s FTA move

China’s drive to deepen linkages among the littoral states in South and South East Asia through a revival of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project, has deeper geopolitical resonance as it follows the U.S.-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiative, which seeks to forge a regional free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region. The twelve participating countries in the TPPP include Washington’s major allies such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand, apart from Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

Observers point out that Beijing is interpreting the U.S. Pivot to Asia — a doctrinal shift of concentrating additional forces and equipment in the Asia-Pacific, that runs parallel to the TPP -- as part of a “China containment” strategy steered by Washington and its allies.

The MSR is part of a string of Silk Road initiatives that the Chinese are undertaking that includes the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor, which aspires to establish economic linkages between South and Southeast Asia. Analysts point out that the recently established BRICS Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIDB) could be roped in to fund projects within the Silk Road framework. Officials in the Fujian province say that China will support funding for the development of marine industry, including ship building, logistical infrastructure and industrial parks in countries that participate in the MSR initiative.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 7:31:25 PM |

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