Mainland China going West strategically with ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative

In 2013, during mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping's visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, he put forward the initiative of building a Silk Road economic belt and a 21st-century maritime Silk Road. Xi pointed out that the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative is not meant to replace existing mechanisms or initiatives for regional cooperation and that mainland China will build on the existing foundations and focus on connectivity and cooperation between the mainland and the rest of the countries of Eurasia. The initiative has drawn much international attention in a relatively short period of time.

Looking closely at Xi's speech, mainland China's economic growth is apparently entering a "new normal," and the mainland has to deal with the severe problem of surplus production capacity and to explore external markets. Furthermore, the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative provides a strategic exit for mainland China at a time when the Pacific Ocean is being blocked by the United States.

Through the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative, mainland China seems to be attempting to elevate its economic and strategic influence in the region by investing in infrastructure construction in neighboring countries. The mainland has even established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in part to finance the initiative. At the same time, neighboring countries are growing increasingly wary of the possibility that the mainland might at some point attempt to interfere in their sovereignty. However, the spread of mainland China's influence westward via the land-based and sea-based channels seems unlikely to be stopped.

The 'One Belt, One Road' is a part of an international strategy, and Taiwan should find a way to ride on its wings. Taiwan companies in the transportation and freight sectors are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the initiative.

Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs