Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Not a new Marshall Plan

By Zheng Xie (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-18 07:59

China's two Silk Road proposals, unlike the postwar initiative of the US, are a way to share the fruits of regional development

China has declared it is establishing a special fund for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, two initiatives proposed by China to promote regional integration, cooperation and trade. It is making action plans to start cooperation with the relevant countries to translate the blueprints into tangible achievements. Meanwhile, the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is also picking up speed.

However, some in the West have misinterpreted, either willfully or shortsightedly, the two proposals and describe them as being China's equivalent to the Marshall Plan, which was the economic assistance provided by the United States to its allies in Western Europe to help them reconstruct their countries after World War II. This is easily sensationalized.

Yet comparing China's two Silk Road projects to the Marshall Plan only exposes the diehard Cold War mentality that still casts shadows in the West.

In fact, the two Silk Road plans, which will greatly improve the connectivity of the Eurasian continent and the coastal countries of the Pacific and Indian oceans, are completely different from the Marshall Plan.

First, the Silk Road projects and the Marshall Plan embody different purposes. The US was seeking to contain the rise of the Soviet Union. The Marshall Plan was an economic tool that started the Cold War, split the European market, and aggravated poverty and hunger worldwide for more than four decades.

China's Silk Road plans, on the other hand, advocate peace, development and win-win cooperation, which are the trends of the times. Promoting economic globalization and regional economic integration benefit China and all the parties participating in the plans.

The Silk Road proposals promote common development and create more opportunities for complementary cooperation, opening-up and growth.

Second, the Marshall Plan was a manifestation of an ideological war. All countries receiving assistance from the US had to support it in the confrontation with the former Soviet Union and its pursuit of hegemony. The US consolidated its status as a global superpower step by step by means of the plan.

In contrast, the purpose of China's Silk Road plans is to boost development and guarantee peace, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutually beneficial cooperation. No political conditions are enforced upon those participating in the Silk Road frameworks, which are open to all countries pursuing development and growth.

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