By Dingding Chen
The Diplomat - November 10, 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping just announced that China will establish a Silk Road fund with
$40 billion to support infrastructure investments in countries involved
in the “one belt, one road” plan. This new proposal is in addition to
the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
proposal that 21 countries have already joined. A critical element of
such plans is to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia and beyond,
which has seriously hindered development in many developing countries.
Presumably a large amount of funding will go to building roads,
railways, and ports in these countries. Thus, many analysts (see for
example here, here, and here)
have labeled China’s new initiatives as a Chinese version of the
Marshall Plan, indicating that China would use such initiatives to seek
influence and even dominance in Asia.
To be sure, there are some seeming similarities between China’s “one
belt, one road” initiative with the U.S. Marshall plan, with the main
one being that both plans aim at exporting their country’s capital,
technology, and capacity to others who need them badly. But there are
some major differences
between China’s “one belt, one road” initiative and the Marshall Plan,
which have not received adequate attention from many analysts. More
specifically, China’s Silk Road vision is different from the Marshall
Plan in motivation, challenges, and potential impact.