China’s empire of money is reshaping global trade

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2009

[Reading level: B2 – Upper Intermediate]

Xi Jinping’s new “Belt and Road” initiative is designed to promote economic development and extend China’s influence. Bloomberg Markets reports on the massive project’s impact along the Silk Road.

 

China is building a very 21st century empire – one where trade and debt lead the way, not armadas and boots on the ground. If President Xi Jinping’s ambitions become a reality, Beijing will cement its position at the center of a new world economic order spanning more than half the globe. Already, China has extended its influence far beyond that of the Tan Dynasty’s golden age more than a millennium ago.

 

The most tangible manifestation of Xi’s designs is the new Silk Road he first proposed in 2013. The enterprise morphed into the “Belt and Road” initiative, a mix of foreign policy, economic strategy, and charm offensive that, nurtured by a torrent of Chinese money, is rebalancing global political and economic alliances.

 

Xi calls the grand initiative “a road for peace.” Other world powers such as Japan and the U.S. remain skeptical about its stated aims and even more worried about unspoken ones, especially those hinting at military expansion. To assess the reality of Belt and Road from the ground up, Bloomberg Markets deployed a team of reporters to five cities on three continents at the forefront of China’s grand plan.

 

What emerges is a picture of mostly poor nations – laggards during the past half-century of global growth – that jumped at the promise of Chinese-financed projects they hoped would help them catch up. And yet as some high-profile ones falter and the cost of their Chinese funding rises, would-be beneficiaries from Hambantota, Sri Lanka, to Piraeus, Greece, are questioning the long-term price.

 

Xi intends a century-long enterprise. China has already outspent the post-World War II U.S. Marshall Plan, measured in today’s dollars. Within a decade, according to Morgan Stanley estimates, China and its local partners will spend as much as $1.3 trillion on railways, roads, ports, and power grids. “Economic clout is diplomacy by other means,” says Nadège Rolland, Washington-based senior fellow for political and security affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research. “It’s not for today. It’s for mid-21st century China.”

 

Belt and Road is very much about politics at home, too. With the government and state-owned enterprises investing vast sums outside China, Xi is encouraging Chinese companies to channel their spending into domestic projects that will directly benefit the economy and, incidentally, the popularity of his regime.

 

Businesses aren’t exactly defying Xi, but they’ve adjusted their plans to fit his. With the Belt and Road project enshrined in the Communist Party’s constitution as of last year, Chinese companies are using it to help them navigate Xi’s restrictions on foreign investment and capital outflows. Many are sheltering their overseas projects under the umbrella of Xi’s pet project to get the state’s blessing. Belt and Road, says Michael Every, head of financial markets research for Rabobank Group in Hong Kong, is “a political special sauce. … If you drizzle it on anything, it tastes better.”

 

At first, the sauce whetted the appetites of many developing countries in Asia and Africa. As the notion of a modern Silk Road gained traction, Belt and Road meandered into places that had never had any connection with ancient caravans. This year it reached South America, the Caribbean, and even the Arctic. In June it rocketed into space: Beijing announced that Belt and Road-participating countries will be among the first in line to plug into China’s new satellite-navigation services.

 

Most of the proposed plans are infrastructure-based, such as a new deep-sea port in Myanmar and power lines in the Maldives. But almost any overseas investment gets tagged as being part of the initiative: a freight train carrying Chinese sunflower seeds to Tehran, a new courthouse in Papua New Guinea, an irrigation system in the Philippines.

 

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-08-01/china-s-empire-of-money-is-reshaping-lives-across-new-silk-road

WORD BANK:

initiative /ɪˈnɪʃ.ə.tɪv/ [C1] (n): sáng kiến

promote /prəˈməʊt/ [B2] (v): thúc đẩy

extend /ɪkˈstend/ [B2] (v): mở rộng

influence /ˈɪn.flu.əns/ [B2] (v): ảnh hưởng

massive /ˈmæs.ɪv/ [B2] (adj): lớn, to lớn

empire /ˈem.paɪər/ [C1] (n): đế chế

ambition /æmˈbɪʃ.ən/ [B1] (n): tham vọng

cement /sɪˈment/ (v): củng cố

span /spæn/ (v): bao phủ

far beyond (adj): vượt xa

dynasty /ˈdɪn.ə.sti/ (n): triều đại

millennium /mɪˈlen.i.əm/ [C2] (n): thiên niên kỉ

tangible /ˈtæn.dʒə.bəl/ [C2] (adj): nổi bật

enterprise /ˈen.tə.praɪz/ [C1] (n): doanh nghiệp

charm offensive (n): Sự công kích vào cảm tính

nurture /ˈnɜː.tʃər/ (v): nuôi dưỡng

alliance /əˈlaɪ.əns/ (n): đồng minh

torrent of money (n): dòng tài chính

skeptical /ˈskep.tɪ.kəl/ [B2] (adj): hoài nghi

hint /hɪnt/ [B2] (n): (lời nói) bóng gió

expansion /ɪkˈspænd/ [B2] (n): sử mở rộng

deploy /dɪˈplɔɪ/ (v): triển khai

the forefront /ˈfɔː.frʌnt/ (n): sự đi trước, diễn ra trước

emerge /ɪˈmɜːdʒ/ [B2] (n): hiện lên

laggard /ˈlæɡ.əd/ (n): sự lạc hậu, sự đi sau

catch up (v): bắt kịp

falter /ˈfɒl.tər/ (v): ngập ngừng

beneficiary /ˌben.əˈfɪʃ.ər.i/ (n): người hưởng lợi

intend /ɪnˈtend/ [B2] (v): ý định

clout /klaʊt/ (n): sự ảnh hưởng (về quyền lực)

diplomacy /dɪˈpləʊ.mə.si/ [B2] (n): ngoại giao

state-owned (adj): được sở hữu bởi nhà nước

vast /vɑːst/ [B2] (adj): lớn, quy mô lớn

encourage /ɪnˈkʌr.ɪdʒ/ [B1] (v): khuyến khích

domestic /dəˈmes.tɪk/ [B2] (adj): quốc nội, trong phạm vi một quốc gia

regime /reɪˈʒiːm/ [C2] (n): chế độ, thể chế

defy /dɪˈfaɪ/ [C2] (v): xem thường

adjust /əˈdʒʌst/ [B2] (v): điều chỉnh

enshrine /ɪnˈʃraɪn/ (v): lưu trữ

constitution /ˌkɒn.stɪˈtʃuː.ʃən/ [C1] (n): hiến pháp

navigate /ˈnæv.ɪ.ɡeɪt/ (v): điều hướng

restriction /rɪˈstrɪk.ʃən/ [C2] (n): sự giới hạn

capital outflow (n): dòng tiền (vốn) đổ ra nước ngoài

shelter /ˈʃel.tər/ [C2] (v): bảo vệ

blessing /ˈbles.ɪŋ/ (n): phước lành, bảo hộ

drizzle /ˈdrɪz.əl/ (v): rưới lên

whette the appetite (v): khơi dậy vị giác (tính thèm ăn)

traction /ˈtræk.ʃən/ (n): sức hút

notion /ˈnəʊ.ʃən/ [C1] (n): ý tưởng

meander /miˈæn.dər/ (v): luồn lách

ancient caravan [B2] (n): lữ đoàn cổ xưa

reach /riːtʃ/  [B2] (v): vươn tới

rocket /ˈrɒk.ɪt/ [B2] (v): lao lên

satellite /ˈsæt.əl.aɪt/ [B2] (n): vệ tinh

announce /əˈnaʊns/ [B1] (v): tuyên bố

plug into (v): thêm vào, gia nhập vào

irrigation /ˌɪr.ɪˈɡeɪ.ʃən/ (n): thủy lợi

get tag (v): liên kết vào, gắn vào


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