China’s massive, continent spanning OBOR project is attracting increasing support from Asian governments, including many that have long had poor relations with China. This development has to be understood in terms of the regions’ enormous infrastructure deficit, the lack of alternative funding, and the changing reality of Asian geopolitics and economic relations. China has become the principal driver of regional growth and integration, at a time when the USA’s support for Asia is increasingly in doubt. This does not mean that even those Asian countries who are most openly supportive of OBOR do not harbour concerns over individual projects, the programme as a whole, the extent of China’s control and broader geopolitical agenda. Nor are they blind to the enormous financial, technical, environmental, diplomatic and security challenges that China faces in implementing this programme. Indeed, it may well never be fully completed in its current form. But even a partial completion could be a game changer for many countries and lead to major geopolitical shifts.
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