China's Belt and Road Initiative badly needs a road map

Right now, like most Communist Party campaigns, it's sprawling and uncoordinated

Strategists in the West fear that China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a vast, well-laid and finely orchestrated plan to extend Chinese hegemony over much of the developing world. They should be afraid of something else: It's nothing of the sort.

What many outsiders have missed is that the BRI is a vision, not a plan. When Chinese President Xi Jinping laid out the scheme five years ago, he proposed an ambitious transcontinental effort to link the economies of some 80 countries, covering two-thirds of the world's population, through improved trade and transportation links.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2018, with the headline 'China's Belt and Road Initiative badly needs a road map'. Print Edition | Subscribe