Engineering, Freight Rail, Rail Supply

Officials split over One Belt, One Road

Australian bureaucrats are divided over China’s ambitious push to dominate global trade, with a number of key Government departments against the plan, despite 68 countries already signing up.

Beijing’s trillion-dollar ‘One Belt, One Road’ plan, initially proposed in 2013, and further progressed earlier this year, is the marquee project of President Xi Jinping.

It is based around a number of new free trade deals, a network of new trade routes across the globe, high speed rail links between China and Europe, and major port developments in Africa and Asia, which proclaims to improve China’s ability to take advantage of the global market – with mutually beneficial results for cooperating nations.

New Zealand is among the 68 countries to already sign up for the program.

But according to an ABC report this week, a number of senior figures in Australia’s national security community are opposed to the idea, and are joined by Immigration Department secretary Mike Puzzullo, and former Defence Department head Dennis Richardson, who retired in May.

Officials are said to be encouraging the Turnbull Cabinet to reject the plan.

The deal has reportedly driven a wedge between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s diplomats – who are said to be against it – and its trade officials, who are reportedly in favour.

One senior official was quoted by the ABC, saying, “the economic case for Australia formally joining simply wasn’t made … We saw very little in additional economic benefit for signing up, but a lot of negative strategic consequences if we accepted Beijing’s offer.”

President Xi pushed for more development on the Belt Road Initiative at China’s 19th Party Congress last week, saying “an opening-up economy will improve while a closed one will lag behind”.


  1. Hi All,
    Perhaps One of the Advantages the Chinese could use is a Trade Route from Burma on the Indian Ocean Coast to Ship Goods/Services plus Exports/Imports to Australia using the Northern Port of Darwin. As Darwin is on the Standard Gauge Network This would allow the Chinese to save Time and Money Rather then Going Around to.Australian East Coast. By using Darwin it Still lets the Chinese ship tp Perth, Adilaide Melbourne,
    Sidney and Brisbane by Rail Using Double Stacks and the Future Inland Rail Routes plus the National Transcontinental Routes, North/South and East/West, Interesting Things to Consider,

  2. You just don’t get it do you. China’s push is about militarism and domination over all trade so it can tax the routes. Think Trade federation in star wars and this is what we will end up with allowing China to dominate trade routes. Why do you think there is tension with the US over their island building in the Philippines sea.