The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, said recently that though Europe should work with China on trade issues, it must also work to ensure that Chinese trade is not “one way.”
In September 2013 the People’s Republic of China unveiled what has become known as its “Belt and Road Initiative” or as the “new Silk Road.” The word “belt” is meant to refer to land-bound projects such as railways, special economic zones, and oil and gas exploration in the regions between China and Europe. The word “road” in this context has a maritime significance, referring for example to Chinese support of modernization of the Gwadar Port in Pakistan.
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Macron was expressing, in diplomatic language, an anxiety felt by many in Europe that the Belt and Road Initiative is more about the extension of China’s power throughout the Eurasian landmass than about the mutual prosperity of participants in the prospective broadened trade.