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

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

Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

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.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

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. Subscribe