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China Must Slow Down and Change Lanes With the Belt and Road Initiative (The Wire)
September 19, 2018
By Ravi Bhoothalingam
From the article:
These are not happy times for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Just five years after China’s President Xi Jinping launched his signature multi-billion-dollar scheme for trans-Asian connectivity and infrastructure, its projects have aroused disquiet in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia and most recently in Pakistan.
In short order thereafter, concerns emerged about other Chinese projects. The Centre for Global Development, Washington D.C., published a study of 68 BRI-linked countries worldwide amongst which eight nations (including Maldives and Pakistan) were listed as ‘highly vulnerable to debt distress due to future BRI-related financing.’ Malaysia recently cancelled about $3 billion worth of BRI pipeline deal (where some Chinese-invested projects are entangled in a graft probe) and wished to renegotiate another – the prestigious East Coast Rail Link – with China. And right now, Pakistan has sought to ‘review or renegotiate’ parts of the $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC). “Et tu, Brute!” might be China’s rueful response to its ‘iron brother’.