The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Asian Development Bank are widely seen as competitors in shaping a new world order. The former, sponsored by China, has already outstripped the membership of the latter, backed by Japan and the U.S. But what matters is whether these institutions can help provide an effective framework for infrastructure planning and financing -- the key to Asia's growth.
In late March, soon after the annual session of the National People's Congress -- China's legislature -- several Chinese economists visited Japan, one after another. Their goal was to promote a better understanding of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative. Li Xiangyang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences stressed that this plan to forge new land and sea trade links between Asia and Europe through infrastructure development is neither colonialist nor an effort to build another Sinocentric tributary system.