WALLINI, Indonesia (Reuters) – In a rural part of Indonesia’s Java island, two orange-clad workers confer in Mandarin over plans to lay tracks on a stretch of a $6 billion high-speed rail project between the capital Jakarta and the textile hub of Bandung.
Both are employees of the state-owned China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC), and have previously worked on a rail project in Uganda, another part of Beijing’s sweeping multi-billion dollar “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond.
Years - Land - Ownership - Issues - Construction
Delayed for nearly three years over land ownership issues, construction on the 142 km (88-mile) Indonesian line finally kicked into high gear in 2018.
When China hosts its second summit of nations that are part of BRI this week, Beijing is likely to showcase the Indonesian project along with its recent success in getting Malaysia’s East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) back on track after months of negotiations.
Analysts - Projects - China - Answers - Criticism
Analysts say the two projects will be held up as China’s answers to criticism about high debt and the lack of transparency in the BRI and its attempt to refocus the program on sustainable financing, green growth, and high quality.
China’s foreign ministry said last week Beijing would “work together with all parties to benefit people across the world by jointly promoting the high-quality development of BRI in line with the national conditions of each country”.
BRI - Policy - Chinese - President - Xi
The BRI is a key policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping but has been controversial in many Western capitals, particularly Washington, which views it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt through nontransparent projects.
According to a draft communique seen by Reuters, participants at this week’s summit will agree to project financing that respects global debt goals and promotes green growth.
Trend - Headlines - BRI - Challenges
“This bucks the trend of recent negative headlines around the BRI and challenges...
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