Tuesday, November 11, 2014

China's 'Marshall Plan' Is Much More China’s ‘one belt, one road’ initiative is no Marshall plan — it’s far more ambitious.

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.