What is OBOR? World media says it is ‘global commerce on China’s terms’

By: | Updated: May 15, 2017 6:50 PM

The two-day Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Beijing has raised apprehensions about Chinese ambitions across the world.

obor, belt and road summit, belt and road forum, obor forum, What is OBOR, obor summit, future of chinaThe Grand National Theatre is illuminated ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, May 12, 2017. Picture taken May 12, 2017. (Reuters)

The two-day Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as OBOR (One Belt, One Road) project, summit in Beijing has raised apprehensions about Chinese ambitions across the world. While most of the international media publications have noted how this massive project could potentially change the face of the earth, they have also highlighted OBOR could very well make China world’s most powerful country in 21st Century. India refused to participate in the summit due to sovereignty and leadership concerns but leaders from over 100 countries participated in the first OBOR summit.

The OBOR initiative includes a maze of roads and port projects including CPEC, Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar, (BCIM) Economic Corridor, New Eurasian Land Bridge, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor and 21st century Maritime Silk Road.

Here we take a look at the way some of the popular international media publications reported about the OBOR summit:

A day ahead of the OBOR Summit in Beijing on Sunday, The New York Times said: “It (Belt and Road initiative) is global commerce on China’s terms.” It added: “Mr. Xi is aiming to use China’s wealth and industrial know-how to create a new kind of globalisation that would dispense with the rules of the ageing Western-dominated institutions. The goal is to refashion the global economic order, drawing countries and companies more tightly into China’s orbit.”

On Sunday, the NYT termed President Xi Jinping’s inaugural speech at the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative summit in Beijing on Sunday as a “sweeping vision of a new economic global order.” Xi also termed the OBOR initiative as the “project of the century.”

The report also highlighted as to how some top world leaders snubbed China by not sending their top leaders for the summit. “China, seeking validation for the project, pressed Western countries and American allies to dispatch their leaders, but most declined, sending lower-level officials instead.”

The Guardian reported OBOR summit as China’s “latest bid for global leadership”. It termed the summit as a “potentially historic Chinese infrastructure campaign that could transform swathes of the developing world.”

The Guardian also highlighted Xi attempt to contrast himself with US President Donald Trump. “In a clear attempt to contrast himself with the US president, Donald Trump, who has vowed to devote his presidency to putting “America first”, Xi urged his audience to reject protectionism and shun “exclusive arrangements”.

The Washington Post talked about the “unease” over the project expressed by India, US and Russia. “The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ calls for building ports, railways and other facilities in a vast arc of 65 countries. Other countries welcome the investment, but governments including the United States, Russia and India have expressed unease that Beijing also might be using the effort to increase its political stature.”

CNN compared Belt and Road Forum as “China’s answer to Davos or the G20, centered around the colossal One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade initiative, which takes its inspiration from the ancient Silk Road trading route.” With this, CNN said, Chinese leaders are “ringing in what they hope is a new world order.”

“It is China’s push to put it in a position of world leadership as the US under President Donald Trump takes a more protectionist approach and gives up the mantle of globalization,” CNN said.

In an “exclusive” report, Pakistan-based Dawn.com revealed a lot about Chinese ambitions to be achieved with the CPEC, which is the flagship project under OBOR. It revealed how CPEC projects would give primacy to the interests of Chinese companies, not just in the infrastructure sector, but agriculture, media etc. sectors as well.

Dawn also published a Reuters report saying Xi welcomed Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a delegation including four chief ministers. A Radi Pakistan report said that Xi expressed satisfaction over the pace of bilateral Sino-Pak ties and communicated his resolve to further strengthen the relationship through increased cooperation in various fields.

(With PTI input)

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