In this article, the author argues that the new Belt & Road Initiative is an opportunity for the US to engage with China in a constructive manner. China’s “One Belt, One Road” marks an unprecedented shift of China’s economic diplomacy from a low-key approach to an ambitious China Circle.
The Initiative has a great significance in that a massive China Circle will be formed that does not overlap with US territory. With this emerging circle, China will have more equal footing vis-à-vis US in the international economy:
· The China Circle is partly driven by Obama’s pivot to Asia strategy. The de facto containment effects of these policies prevent China from expanding its influence to the East and South.
· The circle opens diversified export markets for China. China will have better access to energy and food, becoming less dependent on transportation routes controlled by the US military.
· The China Circle has a potential to be a renminbi circle, allowing China to optimize use of its foreign reserves and accelerate internationalization of the currency.
· Finally, the China Circle is a manifestation of commitments to improving international governance and increasing the representation of developing countries in dealing with global affairs.
It is argued that the new Silk Road can improve international governance, and increase the representation of developing countries in dealing with global affairs. For the US, containing China does not work, and it’s not wise to bury their heads in the sand as the rise of emerging countries is inevitable. US should welcome China’s participation in updating rules and recognize that its growing influence can be good, as it can create a bigger economic pie.
Shuaihua Wallace Cheng, PhD, is managing director, ICTSD China, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, and a Yale World Fellow in 2015.
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