Connecting Regions of Asia.

China, Sisci: “Signs of second thoughts on the Silk Road”


The Chinese Silk Road. The American alternative, Build Back Better World. The European answer, the Global Gateway.
 “The battle over infrastructures between global powers is a waste of money and resources”: with this title, the South China Morning Post opens the debate among experts and insists on “global cooperation”, for a “coordinated global approach”, leaving aside the “rivalries”.
 For the sinologist Francesco Sisci it is an intervention that could “indicate a beginning of Chinese rethinking” with respect to the “one-sided” approach of the Asian giant regarding the Silk Road. Words clue to “one of the thoughts circulating in Beijing”. 
Without forgetting that “now” the Silk Road “is part of a complex mosaic of growing tensions and mistrust around China”. 
It is not the official version, but – he says – it seems “they are starting to understand that the unilateral approach does not work” because “there are two other initiatives”, B3W and Global Gateway, “both more ambitious and bigger than the Chinese one”. 
In fact, they “minimize the Chinese project”, even if they are all “projects on paper”. 
And, according to Sisci who reads between the lines of the SCMP, “one of the thoughts circulating in Beijing” is that of a “sort of infrastructure monetary fund”, but – he warns – “now the game has changed” and it is “too little and too late “, in addition to the fact that” international institutions are much weaker “than in the past” because they have not been adapted “to the times. 
‘The People’s Republic, often a prisoner of its own small calculations, loses sight of the general vision’ think for example of the United Nations Security Council and permanent members.
 “In Europe – he says – we have France and the United Kingdom, but there is no Germany. In Asia, China is part of it, but not Japan or India”.
 And, he adds, “the only international institution modified after the Cold War, the GATT, which became the WTO, is ceasing to function because in essence China has tried to bend the rules to its needs”, without excluding “American responsibility. and other countries “. 
And, he continues, “as evidence of the lack of functionality is the fact that the two American and European infrastructure projects are separate” or “they are not under an international hat”. 
And there is, in addition to the tensions and mistrust towards the Asian giant, another ‘problem’ that Beijing has to deal with. “China – says Sisci – often seems a prisoner of its schematisms, of small calculations that make it lose sight of the general vision”. 
An example? The sinologist talks about Kazakhstan and Xinjiang, the Chinese region theater of the repression of the Uighurs.
 “It would be in Beijing’s interest to increase, at any cost, relations with Kazakhstan, the first major frontier west of the Silk Road, but – he concludes – this extension is struggling. Kazakhstan had asked to double the railway line. 
For now, the Chinese do not seem interested and it seems that China is putting pressure on Kazakhstan by threatening to limit rail traffic because the country allows anti-Chinese protests about Xinjiang. ”
 “China – he concludes – for a purely internal question risks deteriorating relations with a neighbor who is strategically very important”.

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