Australia-US-Japan form a new front to counter Chinese OBOR

Canberra: Although China is investing billions of dollars in the ambitious ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) project, its implementation and success has been questioned. The international financial institutions as well as leading analysts and economists are raising questions on the ambitious Chinese project. Against this background, efforts are being made by major countries in the world to counter this project and now Australia, the United States and Japan have formed a new front to add to these efforts.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made the declaration. The declaration said that Australia, the United States and Japan will be jointly investing in the development of infrastructural facilities in the Indo-Pacific region. The three countries are partnering to identify the challenges for development and to improve communication and economic development in the region, clarified the Australian Foreign Minister in his address.

The new front has been formed considering the financial need for the prosperity and peace of the region, said the Australian Foreign department. ‘Australia-United States-Japan’ have also issued a joint statement which states the need for good investment in the Indo-Pacific region.

The United States-Australia-Japan front targeted China saying ‘We share the belief that good investments stem from transparency, open competition, sustainability, adhering to robust global standards, employing the local workforce and avoiding unsustainable debt burdens.’’ The joint statement clarified that the core of the new partnership will be built around the commitment to keep the Indo-Pacific region free and prosperous with a stress on investment in the sector.

The Australian department of Foreign Affairs and Commerce, the Overseas Private Investment Corporations of the United States and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation will be responsible for the new front. Indications are that the new front will make financial aid and investment to the high risk projects in the Indo-Pacific region. Stephen Kirchner, an Australian analyst claimed that this new front is nothing but providing an alternative of private investment to the ambitious Chinese OBOR project.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the OBOR project 5 years ago and promised a huge investment of $ 1 trillion into the project. Although, China has started many projects under the OBOR in different countries, they are not as successful as expected and on the other hand the OBOR is being criticised as a Chinese ploy for fulfilment of its ambition of world domination. Voices are being raised against the non-transparency of the scheme and the imposition of the debt burden on the underdeveloped countries by China.

Therefore, the indications are that this new front by the United States-Australia-Japan will only be adding to the Chinese woes. While the announcement was being made by Australia regarding the new front, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has declared that the United States will be investing $ 113 million in the Indo-Pacific region.