China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative has a newly found rival in Australia. Australia is now joining hands with the US and Japan to invest more in infrastructural projects in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region in order to compete with China’s OBOR. The One Belt One Road project is a massive state-sponsored project led by the Chinese state.
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As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia aims to join the US and Japan in providing greater assurances to private investors for buying projects which may otherwise seem risky. The US and Japan have traditionally shared concerns over China’s massive One Belt One Road initiative and also its growing presence in disputed waters.
Canberra too shares the concerns of Tokyo and Washington over China’s ambitions to have a spree of infrastructural projects in Asia and the Pacific region which will assert a thumping influence in the region.
The OBOR is a highly ambitious project of the Chinese state to revive the traditional silk route. Through this silk route, China will then be able to expand its market to Central Asia and Europe. Given that the Chinese economy is already tottering amid the trade tirade with the US, China is pushing even harder.
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Under this state-led project, China has invested billions of dollars in building ports, railways, bridges, roads and communication networks. But experts believe that this is a mere strategic play which is not really in the interest of the nations which receive investments from China under the OBOR.
Experts feel that Japan, the US and Australia will have to convince the nations that even though China sets a lower bar, these investments will eventually challenge their sovereignty. Can this alliance of Australia, Japan and the US topple China’s smooth pursuit of hijacking the Asia-Pacific under the OBOR?