Pro-Beijing factions in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party see an AIIB membership as a way to improve Sino-Japanese relations but those who oppose it may be worried about rivalry with the Asian Development Bank.
The outlines of the Trump administration’s policy toward China and the South China Sea are emerging from a fog of confusing and contradictory statements and actions. It is beginning to look more or less like a continuation of that of the Obama administration, with some new twists.
Within the Asia-Pacific, there are opportunities for China’s role to grow, for example, by contributing to the region’s connectivity through the Belt and Road Initiative and the multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
In a surprising move on May 12, 2017, just a day before the opening of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Nepal signed the framework agreement in Kathmandu. However, this has raised strategic apprehensions in India.
With deepening cooperation between China and countries along the Belt and Road, more needs to be done in institutional arrangement, policy chains, risk assessment and control as well as communication at different levels.
When world leaders gathered in Beijing for the first Belt and Road Forum in May 2017, they were greeted by clear blue skies. However, five days after the conclusion of the Forum, Beijing residents braced for another round of polluted days caused by photochemical smog.
Opponents of the Belt and Road Initiative see it as part of China’s grand strategy to assert its power and influence. A counternarrative embedded in the BRI’s developmental approach to be pursued multilaterally is that it is instead restoring globalization.
On May 15, 2017, Japan signaled its intention to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank initiated by Beijing. The condition is for the AIIB to address Japan’s concerns about the environmental impact of AIIB-funded projects and other matters.
We live in a world of contradictions. However, there is no doubt that the Chinese mind and heart prefer to emphasize harmony. Confucius speaks of the Middle Way. Facing a dilemma, a person would choose not to go to extremes.