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Solving the ‘Rise’ Dilemma: How the Chinese Silk Road Initiative Could Challenge the United States

Symbolic image of a clash between the US and China. Image: Iecs/Wikimedia

On March 28, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade presented the first national action plan to promote the “One Belt, One Road” initiative (一带一路, Yīdài yīlù). This initiative has become the economic and diplomatic priority of Chinese President Xi Jinping since the presentation of two complementary projects in late 2013: a “Silk Road Economic Belt” throughout the Eurasian continent, and a “21st century Maritime Silk Road”, connecting the South China Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. These initiatives aim to boost economic integration on the Eurasian continent and its peripheral seas through the construction of an infrastructure network. Beijing has been pursuing this goal through the creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has been joined by 56 countries including France and Germany, recently announced investments worth $46 billion to build a China–Pakistan Economic Corridor bypassing the Strait of Malacca, and the creation of a $40 billion Silk Road Fund.