By Tenzin Monlam
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the final day of the One Belt, One Road Forum in Beijing on May 15, 2017. Photo-Reuters
DHARAMSHALA, May 16: European Union’s (EU) refusal to sign the trade document has dealt a huge setback to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambition project of ‘One Belt, One Road’ also known as OBOR.
The several members of EU have refused to sign the trade statement citing concerns over lack of environmental and social sustainability as per the international standard and transparency of public procurement.
A top EU diplomat told the Guardian, “We made clear that, for Europe, the Belt and Road initiative can only be a success if it’s based on transparency and co-ownership.”
“Apparently to Chinese surprise, the EU was united on this,” the diplomat said anonymously.
Out of the 28 members of EU, France, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Portugal and Britain are among those who have voiced against the project. Five member countries of EU also attended the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 13 and 14.
US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May chose to skip the event, which introduced the multibillion-dollar project aimed to create a new Silk Road.
India too had given the event a miss by not sending official representatives as they objected to China’s inclusion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as a part of the project. The planned road passes through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, a disputed region.
The Indian foreign ministry said in a statement last week, “No country can accept a project that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Urging China to engage in a meaningful dialogue over the matter, New Delhi said that they hope for a positive response.
However, China’s state-run media, Global Times
today said that India’s missing the Belt & Road Forum was a cry for seeking special attention from China.
"India hopes that it can shape bilateral relations more actively, and expects China to give special attention to the interests of India. But this is not how countries interact," the daily said, adding that absence of India has not affected the forum.