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US information war on BRI continues despite‘phase one’ trade deal

2019-12-27 08:56:22 CGTN

The decision to implement what is popularly being described as "phase one" of a more comprehensive China-US trade deal was met with applause by the international community because it was widely believed to signal the beginning of the end of their trade war. Recent comments by a high-ranking American official, however, suggest that his country's information warfare against the global economic interests of China won't end anytime soon.

Adam Boehler is the chief executive of the recently created "US International Development Finance Corporation" (DFC) that was established following the passage of the "Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development" (BUILD) Act last year. His organization came about following the merger of the"Development Credit Authority" (DCA) with the "Overseas Private Investment Corporation" (OPIC) and is thought by some to be an asymmetrical response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Although Boehler claimed in an interview with Financial Times earlier this week that the DFC "is not a reaction to China," it's difficult to believe him after what else he said about the BRI. The outlet reported that he called China's international investments "100 percent like a House of Cards because of debt overload, poor infrastructure, bribes and lack of transparency," which led him to predict that "it's only a matter of time" before it collapses. "When it does," he said, "we have to be there as an alternative".

By "we," it's inferred that he means the DFC and its US government patron. This is also self-evident when he later added that "the answer to Huawei is not 'don't buy Huawei and that's it.' You need an effective and credible alternative," which is why the DFC plans to focus some of its foreign investments in this sphere. Boehler also described Chinese investment as a "drug," but claimed he "thinks that people are pretty circumspect about it nowadays."

All of those aggressive comments contradict the spirit of "phase one" and prove that the DFC is indeed envisaged by its chief executive as a so-called "alternative" to the BRI. Boehler is waging a information warfare against Chinese investments in the hopes that his fearmongering campaign can convince some of Beijing's partners to team up with the DFC at BRI's expense. All countries have the right to choose their economic partners, but he seems to want them to pick the DFC after distancing themselves from BRI first.