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China deepens militarization of One Belt, One Road initiative

China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe in Moscow, Russia on April 04, 2018.
China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of Naval Staff in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe announced that China was “ready to provide security guarantees for the One Belt, One Road project” (OBOR).

Why it matters: Beijing has long pitched OBOR — a $4 trillion–$8 trillion integrated energy, transport and mega infrastructure project envisioned as a modern Silk Road — in economic terms. But this latest statement contrasts with Beijing’s earlier rhetoric, suggesting that the project has more important defense-related motives.