U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
February 9, 2023
When Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping announced what would become known as the BRI in 2013, he sold it as a pathway to prosperity for developing nations…. It seemed too good to be true—and it was. BRI partners are now realizing that many of their projects are not functional.
Last July, Pakistan shut down the 969-megawatt Neelum-Jhelum hydropower plant on its side of Kashmir after less than four years of operation because of cracks in a key water tunnel. Ecuador is considering the same action with the Coca Codo Sinclair dam, which has thousands of cracks and appears to be causing erosion damage to nearby communities….
Some may be content to chalk these failures up to honest mistakes, but…there is nothing charitable about the BRI…. BRI projects are driven by loans from banks controlled by the Chinese government. As soon as economically fragile nations found that they were unable to pay their debts, Beijing began extorting concessions to expand its political and military influence….
Meanwhile, Chinese companies contracted to carry out international projects, many of them state-owned enterprises, have become embroiled in hundreds of human rights violations over the course of the BRI's life span….
It is not too late to learn the lesson that "Made in China" projects are glorified money pits at best, and serious security threats at worst. That is why I am committed to ensuring America's financing agencies offer developing countries meaningful alternatives to the BRI in the form of affordable and lasting solutions to infrastructure problems….
There should be no excuse for continuing to pay a genocidal, totalitarian regime for worthless infrastructure.