km. From 12 to 14 May 2017, representatives from 100 countries, including 29 heads of state and government, met in the Chinese capital Beijing at a summit about the further expansion of the Belt and Road initiative (B&R).
Since 2013 work has been done on this project. It is connected to the medieval Silk Road, which linked Europe with China, and already made possible a fruitful exchange of goods and ideas. Preliminary considerations for the new project date back to the beginning of the nineties, when the Cold War seemed to be over and all nations and peoples were expecting a peace dividend and an equal exchange between states and peoples.
The “One Belt, One Road” initiative started out from China. The President of the country, Xi Jinping, had discussed the idea for the first time during a state visit in Kazakhstan in September 2013. Shortly after, in a speech before the Indonesian Parliament, he extended the approach by additionally proposing the expansion of sea routes.
The aim of the “One Belt, One Road” project is to build an intercontinental infrastructure network between China, other Asian countries, Europe and Africa. The project now covers both land and sea routes. Six different corridors are planned, which are to be developed step by step. 65 countries can participate in the projects. All this is to be financed through a Silk Road Fund and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). At present, a total volume of investments amounting to 1.1 billion Swiss francs is expected. At this year’s summit in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised around 120 billion Swiss francs of investment funds from his country for the coming years.
The states involved not only expect economic advantages but also a gain in freedom from the B&R project. In contrast to the current globalisation, which has always been linked to an attempt at economic domination and hegemonic striving by a few, the concept of “One Belt, One Road” is one of respect for national sovereignty and the idea that all parties are equal and entitled to benefit equally. This is testified by the two following texts from two European countries, from Serbia and Hungary.
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