(Dec 13): In the sidelines of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership conference in Bangkok, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the US-led Blue Dot Network. He was flanked by enthusiastic supporters, Japan and Australia, who are officially described as “spearheading” the initiative.

The official release refers to the Blue Dot Network as “a multi-stakeholder initiative to bring together governments, the private sector and civil society to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development”.

The network is essentially expected to serve as a globally recognised evaluation and certification system for roads, ports and bridges, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. It will give a “seal of approval”, according to the US State Department. The clear slur is that Belt and Road projects lack trusted standards, but the intent is to develop unilateral standards.

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