What Lying Media Call Belt and Road ‘Critics’ Are Actually Strong Supporters
April 29, 2019 (EIRNS)—The extraordinary attendance of governments, heads of state and government, and thousands of businesses at the April 25-27 Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), comparing with the largest international meetings in history, was already proof that the Belt and Road Initiative has expanded greatly since the first BRF in May 2017 and is now an unstoppable new paradigm of economy. After the second BRF, certain myths of “backfire” and “criticism” in Asia also fell away.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed gave interviews in which he expressed full confidence in the BRI and surprise at its scope. Speaking to Malaysian media April 28, he said: “We feel that the [One Belt, One Road] OBOR initiative is not a domination plan by China, which would end up being controlled by China. Instead, it is a policy developed by all the countries, and not only focused on China....
“Previously there were other development plans by developed countries to create a world without borders and free trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They ... made the proposals and asked us to accept them. This is not like that, the forum attendees are from small countries and they are sitting with China which has a 1.4 billion population. They sit together, at the same level, and talk about how to develop infrastructure projects.”
In an interview with China’s TV network CGTN, Dr. Mahathir said he had thought the Belt and Road was an infrastructure project for Asia.
“But now it is quite clear that it is practically a worldwide project involving not only Southeast Asia and China, but also Middle East, Africa and even Latin America. It is an effort to improve connectivity all over the world.... I am very glad that I’m here because now I understand better the intention behind this idea of the BRI. ... China has been able to develop a lot of new technologies and we need that technology.”
He forecast large-scale Chinese investment and exports into Malaysia.
Indonesia’s Investment Minister, Harvard graduate Tom Lembong, who had been critical of China’s rail investments, told South China Morning Post that Indonesia has
“found China’s openness to its feedback on improving the Belt and Road Initiative highly encouraging.... I believe in the next 5 to 10 years, BRI will stimulate additional investment in probably tens of billions of dollars”
in Indonesia, Lembong said.
In Europe, Italy and Austria are joining Portugal in planning issuance of “Panda Bonds”—infrastructure bonds issued by other countries in yuan, to be issued into China’s bond market. Even Germany Economics Minister Peter Altmaier found the Belt and Road Forum “better than expected,” and is headed back with a newly created Mittelstand delegation, the BVDSI, devoted to Germany industry’s relation to the BRI.