The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced countries around the world to rethink their investments and partnerships, faced with restarting their economies and protecting their citizens. With the projected recession in the aftermath of the pandemic, incentive to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), often touted as a way for countries to improve infrastructure and movement, has taken a hit due to the rapid spread of the disease, as many have blamed increasing globalisation and free movement across borders for the extent o(cal impacts that China, along with the rest of the world shall face in the post-COVID world. The economic demands of the pandemic may force countries to prioritise profligate spending, while any blame aimed at China for the pandemic may reduce willingness to ally with it. For now, at least, the ball remains in China’s court, and their economics and diplomacy in the near future will play the largest part in deciding the future of the BRI.
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