mandag 15. mars 2021

China Prepares New Era Of 'Belt And Road' Amid Pandemic Pressures

After declaring victories over extreme poverty and the coronavirus, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has laid out a new path for China's economic rise at home and abroad that could force Beijing to adapt to new difficulties caused by the pandemic.

The future direction came as the Chinese Communist Party's legislature, the National People's Congress, convened in Beijing on March 5 for a more-than-week-long gathering to unveil a new economic blueprint -- known as the country's 14th five-year plan -- and chart a broad course for China to claim its place as a modern nation and true global power. The annual summit of Chinese lawmakers laid out broad guidelines that would shape the country's growth model over the next 15 years. Preoccupied with growing China's tech industry amid a deepening rivalry with the United States, it also provided a platform for Xi to tout the merits of his autocratic style and tightening grip on power at home.

While the stagecraft of the conclave focused on China's domestic goals, they remain deeply intertwined with Beijing's global ambitions, particularly the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) -- a blanket term for the multibillion-dollar centerpiece of Xi's foreign policy that builds influence through infrastructure, investment, and closer political ties.