Belt and Road Initiative aimed at expanding China's influence: expert

China's "Belt and Road" initiative is not only an economic project but also a diplomatic strategy aimed at establishing a China-centered regional order in the Eurasian continent, an American expert has said.

In the eyes of Nadege Rolland, senior fellow for political and security affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research, the "Belt and Road" initiative is an essential part of President Xi Jinping's idea of "greatly rejuvenating the Chinese nation", as the country is rising as a major power in the world.

Rolland said that the "Belt and Road" initiative cannot be easily seen as an economic development plan focused on infrastructure construction because China wants to use the initiative to expand its influence in the region where the Western countries have interests.

She said that the "Belt and Road" initiative could not help the impoverished countries in the region because the Chinese plan would deprive these countries of control over the valuable national assets, thus increasing their debts.

In addition, the "Belt and Road" initiative will face a series of problems such as the security risks caused by the terrorist activities, ethnic and territorial disputes in the countries along the Belt and Road, the possibility of low investment returns in the short term as well as the risk of intensifying unbalanced economic development within China with the implementation of the initiative.

The expert suggested that the US and European countries should positively take part in the affairs of the regions covered by the "Belt and Road" initiative and use the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as major investment channels, with a purpose of offering another option for the regional countries.

If possible, the policies that the US and European countries adopted after the Cold War should be resumed in the region, according to Rolland.

She also suggested that the Western countries should urge China to enhance the standards and transparency of the "Belt and Road" initiative before joining the Chinese plan.

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