Continuing to raise concerns in China, Radio Free Asia cited a study by AidData to report that at least one-third of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects have run into major implementation problems. The report claimed that the problems arose due to factors such as corruption scandals, labour violations, environmental hazards, and public protests. The study cited Vietnam’s first elevated railway line in Hanoi which suffered years of delay due to budget ballooning by more than 60% of the original cost, as an example.
The report went on to say that the Chinese authorities are trying to avoid the works due to corruption and overpricing concerns. “Host country policymakers are mothballing these high-profile BRI projects because of corruption and overpricing concerns, as well as major changes in public sentiment that make it difficult to maintain close relations with China,” said Brooke Russell, an associate director at AidData and one of the other co-authors of the report.
Meanwhile, the study also claimed that Beijing’s debt-trap strategy could have caused delays in projects.
“Beijing seeks to bankroll projects in risky countries than other official creditors, but it is also more aggressive than its peers at positioning itself at the front of the repayment line (via collateralization),” AidData added.
Meanwhile, China is confidentiality clauses in agreements keeping terms and conditions of the engagement and details of debts as unavailable.
Growing concerns over China
Amid growing anti-China sentiment across the globe, while some nations are showcasing a united front to tackle its growing assertiveness, others seem to be not showing much interest. Ever since Joe Biden took over the US presidency, he embarked on a strategic path to counter Xi Jinping’s China and its surging global influence. From stirring support among allies to joining blocs that display the strength of countries in the face of Beijing, his administration’s agenda is fairly clear when it comes to the Communist nation. Several nations have raised their voices against China regarding its repression of Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and claim on Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Most recently, the US announced a defence strategic pact with UK and Australia angering China, yet again. China’s embassy in the US called out Washington, London and Canberra of “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.” Meanwhile, European nations are also mulling to develop deep Indo-pacific ties amid China concerns. Even Japan, which has avoided any direct remarks against China has revamped its policy recently.
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