The BRI “is a made in China, made for China” initiative, a senior Trump administration official has said as he asked Beijing to uphold internationally accepted best practices and adopt an open and inclusive approach to its overseas infrastructure projects. The Belt and Road Initiative is a multi-billion-dollar initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he came to power in 2013.
It aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea route. Welcoming contributions by China to regional development, Brian Hook, senior policy advisor to the Secretary of State and Director of Policy Planning, said the US just wants Beijing to adhere to high standards and to uphold areas such as transparency and rule of law and sustainable financing.
His comments came ahead of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to make major policy initiative announcement for the Indo-Pacific region during the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum hosted by US Chambers of Commerce.
“I would not say that this (new economic engagement) is a strategy to counter the one belt, one road,” Hook said. “The belt and road is for the moment China’s way of doing things. It is a made in China, made for China initiative,” he said. Asserting that the US and its economic engagement benefits the Indo-Pacific region, Hook said that the Trump administration believes that America’s model of economic engagement is the “healthiest” for the nations in the region. So the US encourages China to adhere to best practices and infrastructure development financing, he said. “And this only occurs when, infrastructure in other areas are physically secure, financially viable and socially responsible.
“We encourage China to promote an uphold internationally accepted best practices and infrastructure development and financing and to adopt an open and inclusive approach to its belt and road initiative, especially these overseas infrastructure projects,” Hook said.
The US, he said, has a vision of a free and open Indo Pacific, which does not exclude any nation. The initiatives to be announced at the Forum by the Trump administration is meant to advance America’s cooperation with its partners and to encourage new forms of collaboration between the United States and Indo-Pacific nation.