It is all but certain that western powers are indifferent or covertly hostile to China’s One-Belt One-Road (OBOR) project – a new Silk Road linking Asia, Africa and Europe with one trade route. Only one G7 leader is going to be attending the all-important summit on the issue next month, with the US, the UK having declined to send their leaders. France and Germany has cited upcoming elections for not sending their heads of state and will be sending high-level representatives instead. The list of countries that will be sending their leaders include, Pakistan, Russia, China, Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland and Switzerland, among others.
The reasons for the snub by western leaders is not clear – perhaps they feel the project is not yet substantial enough to participate in. Or maybe their many disagreements with China over foreign policy issues might be the prime motivator. And then there is the Russia factor – it is becoming increasingly hard to find President Putin on the same table as many of the western leaders. It could even be the fact that China stands to get the biggest share of the (many) associated benefits. But given that the Asian giant is looking to invest $40 billion in to a Silk Road Fund, this should not come as a surprise.
China’s ambitions are clear, it wants to be the ‘global friend’ but the rapid development it is undertaking could leave all other powers miles behind the Asian country on its path to progress.
At the end of the day, the countries that choose to not participate are the ones that lose out. This is a huge project, and its impact is likely to be felt across three continents. China is moving forward towards progress, and by taking developing countries along with it, it all but ensures that its power and standing among them, and the world at large by extension will greatly increase. Alliances will be formed, and anyone choosing to sit this out will be left out in the cold later as well.
This is not to say that absentee countries will be barred from participating, but obviously the countries that stuck with the project from the very start are the ones that will benefit the most. Western powers are still resistant to any changes in the old world order, and the development of China is a symbol of a new world, with the balance of power shifting by the day. If developed countries in the west choose to not see this, they are the ones that will be left behind.