US Blue Dot Network won’t succeed if it targets China

By Shi Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/5 20:43:41

Photo: GT

The US, at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Monday in Thailand, unveiled a new scheme called Blue Dot Network, aiming to "promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development" "in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world." Australia and Japan also joined to lead the initiative.

Although China was not mentioned by name, it's widely suspected that Washington's new plan is directed against the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Financial Times, for example, headlined its article, "US backs infrastructure scheme to rival China's Belt and Road."

The BRI has never "rivaled" any project of any country, and it never will. Instead of benefiting China itself, the initiative has upheld the spirit of "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit" and has always put this into practice. 

As of September, China has signed 195 intergovernmental cooperation documents with 136 countries and 30 international organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), under the BRI framework. Asia-Pacific countries are major beneficiaries.

If the BRI is a tool to "rival" somebody to strive for influence, as some in the US claimed, how can it be so well received and supported?

Similarly, if Washington's Blue Dot Network is designed to offer mutual benefit and achieve common progress in the Asia-Pacific and around the world, China and other countries are all for it. But if the US capitalizes on the plan to divide the region and force other countries to take sides, it is doomed to fail. 

Washington has long attached great significance to the Asia-Pacific. Although US President Donald Trump's absence from the ASEAN summit is seen as a snub by many regional countries, Washington has in fact never given the region a cold shoulder.

According to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday, the total value of bilateral foreign direct investment between this region and the US reached US$1.6 trillion, which is "far more, for example, than China's foreign direct investment in the region." Ross added, "Our numbers will only get bigger."

The Blue Dot Network might be a new means for the US to make the numbers "bigger" and reap benefits. But it should never be used as a stumbling block to "rival" China and hinder China's cooperation with other regional members. Instead, with the growing investments of both the US and China, the two countries can join hands for better cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

If Washington hopes to make this plan a success, it needs to offer more than words and to show more sincerity. It should abandon its zero-sum mind-set, and focus more on the win-win outcomes. China is waiting for the US to prove its earnest, so do other Asia-Pacific countries.

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