'Belt and Road Initiatives' no Marshall Plan of China

Updated: 2015-01-31 08:02


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'Belt and Road Initiatives' no Marshall Plan of China

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) visits Port of Duisburg of Germany March 29, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

Commentators have found certain parallels between China's "Silk Road Economic Belt" and "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiatives and the Marshall Plan, indicating that China would use them to spread its influence across Asia and other regions as the United States did in post-World War II Europe.

While a good knowledge of history can help us understand current politics, inadequate comparisons of concepts based on their superficial similarities can distort information and mislead politicians to make the wrong decisions.

China has said it is establishing a fund for the "Belt and Road Initiatives" to promote regional integration, cooperation and common development. The initiatives may be similar to the Marshall Plan in terms of the commitments of China and the US to help other countries' economic development. But a deeper analysis will show the fundamental differences in the historical context, motivation and potential impact between China's approach and the US' postwar plan to provide economic and military assistance to its allies in Western Europe.

The Marshall Plan was part of the US' attempt to contain the expansion of the Soviet Union, and excluded all Communist countries. The Cold War mentality and bipolar structure, however, have no place in China's Silk Road initiatives, which are open to all countries and aim to achieve win-win results rather than regional hegemony. China has no intention of establishing alliances to confront any country.

Unlike the Marshall Plan, the "Belt and Road Initiatives" impose no political conditions on the participants, as China has always advocated that countries should respect each other's rights to choose their own social systems and development paths.

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