Sydney: India, the United States, Japan and Australia have prepared to reply to the ambitious Chinese project ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR). A senior Australian official has attracted media attention disclosing this information. Over the past few days, the United States and the European countries have started criticising the Chinese OBOR project openly and the allegation that it is a part of the Chinese policy for colonialism has started surfacing. On this background, the information provided by the Australian official assumes significance.
A senior Australian official, on condition of anonymity, has disclosed this information to the media, on the basis of a report published in Australia. The official informed that Australia is thinking of taking up a project, with co-operation from the United States, Japan and India, that can prove to be an alternative to the OBOR. But, talks for the same are still in nascent stages. Therefore, no announcement regarding this plan is expected in the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s US visit, next week, clarified the official. However, it is possible that the issue will feature in the discussions between the US President and Australian Prime Minister Turnbull, indicated the official.
The official advised the media, to look at this plan as an alternative for OBOR and not as a rival. Also, the multi-billion OBOR project by China is not economically viable and China will not be able to derive too much financial benefits from it. The official added that the project being conceived by Australia, Japan, the United States and India will be an economically viable one and it will be planned accordingly. After the information disclosed by the official, Japanese Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga had to face a volley of questions by the media.
Answering these questions, Yoshihide clarified that Japan, the United States, Australia and India perpetually discuss such type of projects. Importantly, Yoshihide did not refuse the possibility of the concerned project. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility of receiving more information about the project in future. It appears that the criticism on the OBOR has intensified in the last few days. The German Foreign Minister recently said that the OBOR project is due to the Chinese tendency to dominate the other countries. French President Macron has also criticised the project. The United States is claiming that this project is challenging the sovereignty of other countries.
On this background, the information received from the Australian official and the reaction of Japanese Cabinet Secretary, indicates a big challenge to the Chinese OBOR project.