Balance of Power: Xi’s VisionBy and
As Washington fixates on the latest White House crisis, Xi Jinping is making another long term power play.
The Chinese president will host the first Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Sunday, the centerpiece of a soft-power push backed by hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects. For Xi, the initiative is designed to solidify his image as a leading globalist in a new era of “America First” protectionism.
Twenty eight leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, will listen to him extol the virtues of a vast network of ports, railways and pipelines that will plug China’s economic hubs into key markets across Asia and Europe.
Much could still go wrong. The U.S. and India worry it could help China expand its military footprint. Plus, slowing growth could leave China with less money to spend on the project.
Still, Xi will use it cement his status as China’s most powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping as he starts to think about his second term. And it has the potential to reshape Asian trade patterns. As U.S. and Europe turn inward and debate their roles in the world, Xi is taking a longer view.
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