From Asia Times
Trump remains hostage to his own election rhetoric, legacy of past policies. Meantime, Beijing is delivering its strategic vision for a new Pax Sinica
When President Xi Jinping visited the United Nations in Geneva last month, before his landmark pro-globalization speech in Davos, he said China's proposition to the world was to "build a community of shared future for mankind and achieve shared and win-win development."
Then came the astonishing numbers. "In the coming five years, China will import US$8 trillion of goods, attract US$600 billion of foreign investment, make US$750 billion of outbound investment, and Chinese tourists will make 700 million outbound visits."
For most of the "community of shared future," it didn't take long for the implications to sink in.
Then came the threat of a US-China trade war. The possible ending of the One China policy. The threat of a blockade in the South China Sea.
Then came The Letter. From Trump to Xi, sending good wishes to "the Chinese people." Too little, too late -- over a week after the start of the Year of the Rooster. Still, with great tact, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing stressed communication was always on, "led by China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister."
Then, finally, came The Phone Call. The first time they ever talked. Trump told Xi he plans to respect the One China policy. Game on.
What's next?Exit "borders"; enter "corridors"
It's open to debate whether any of Trump's China hands -- in fact, they are virtually non-existent -- have written him a memo laying out the magnitude of what Beijing is trying to accomplish, business-wise. That won't last long because Trump eventually will wake someone up with a 3am phone call wondering, "How come we're not part of the action?"
Inbuilt in the New Silk Roads, aka One Belt, One Road, is a new transpolitical concept; territoriality is extrapolated from national borders towards belts and roads -- in fact, supply chains. This goes way beyond mere technicalities: supply-chain management; inter-modality; inter-operability; a new approach to logistics; you name it. It's posing the foundation of a transnational new geoeconomic model, and, if successful in the long run, a new geopolitical model.
The model implies that China is proposing through all these corridors -- across the upgraded high-speed Trans-Siberian rail route, across Southeast Asia, across Pakistan -- whole new layers to the notion of multinational cooperation; political, economic, financial (as in the role of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund). No wonder a group of Chinese researchers recently published a groundbreaking essay in Monthly Review titled One Belt, One Road: China's strategy for a new global financial order.
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