OBOR to Export Overcapacity and Improve Relations
As China prepares to host its inaugural One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) summit on 14-15 May in Beijing, global leaders are bracing for a more outward-looking China that is ready to expound upon its influence and increase regional co-operation.
The forum will see leaders and heads-of-states from 28 different countries, as well as more than 1,200 industry experts and business leaders from across the region attending. First mooted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the initiative has a collective aim to spearhead trade & economic integration across Asia, Europe and Africa – creating a revamped version of a Modern Silk Road.
Approved funding for OBOR projects from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund (SRF) totaled RMB 11.8 billion (USD$ 1.71b) and RMB 23.5 billion (USD$ 3.4b) respectively since 2015. As of Feb’17, China has built 56 Economic Co-operation Zones (ECZ) in 20 OBOR nations with a cumulative investment of USD 18.5 billion and generate on average 4,500 jobs per ECZ.
Xi’s OBOR initiative will enable China to export some of its overcapacity while advancing relations with participating countries.
Warming US-China Relations
We are also witnessing a new era of close personal relations between the two largest economies, i.e. US and China. Following Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s visit with US President Donald J. Trump, the latter has discarded his anti-China rhetoric and focused instead on family ties – charming Xi and the Chinese public’s opinion when his grandchildren Arabella and Joseph performed a traditional Chinese song and recited poetry for Xi during his visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort in Florida.
Post-visit, both parties claimed to have reached a common understanding and vowed to work towards establishing good, working relationships. Both leaders repeatedly advocated the use of close communication and co-ordination to resolve major international and regional issues.