Time for Washington to consider joining Belt and Road

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/25 20:43:40

This could be good timing now for the US to deliberate signing up to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

From a narrow national interest point of view, the US' concerns about the BRI are understandable. But Washington's increasingly deep misunderstanding of the initiative is pushing the US to the sidelines of the economic and trade activities that are providing huge yields to the world. Hence, the US will miss opportunities for growth while forcing its allies away from development opportunities.

Ever since it kicked off six years ago, the BRI has always welcomed the US to join. It was the US that has refused to accept the BRI and has attempted to forge ideological opposition to it. 

Although the US government has intentionally ignored the benefits that the BRI could bring to US' companies, American entrepreneurs are keeping a clear head. According to the South China Morning Post, the US industrial giant General Electric has partnered with Chinese companies to tap the business potential via the land and maritime Silk Road initiative. Moreover, CNBC reported American companies like Honeywell, Chubb, and Waters had looked at the BRI as an opportunity for business growth.

As the world's second largest economy, China is willing to lend a hand to other countries in jointly progressing via cooperation. In a sense, conceptually, China has slipped "itself into American clothing which the US itself has discarded," Sourabh Gupta, senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington, told the Voice of America. The US hasn't done pragmatic things to promote global economic growth and has opposed the world's joint development. This, in turn, let China become mainstream as "a leader of the global development system."

If Washington still claims itself the leader of the world, if it wants to benefit more from the global growth and keep its leading status, if it wants to make the initiative operate conform to the US' rules, joining BRI as soon as possible is the best way. 

In the meantime, the initiative has inevitably encountered various flaws, all of which can be or have been adjusted and improved. However, the US, which has been reluctant to participate, is fond of criticizing and questioning the BRI. This is obviously unconvincing. Rather than be envious of China's increasing global charisma brought by the BRI, while introducing a $113 million "Indo-Pacific Economic Vision," intended to be a competing project of BRI, it is better for the US to be part of the real BRI. 

Washington should abandon the zero-sum mindset and pragmatically promote global economic development, which will eventually benefit US' growth. 



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