“I suggested we should have, essentially, a similar initiative, pulling from the democratic states, helping those communities around the world that, in fact, need help,” Biden told reporters before departing for Delaware.
Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the BRI program in 2013, creating the world’s largest infrastructure program with multi-trillion dollar plans for international development and investment, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
The program was originally intended to unite the Asian superpower with neighboring countries, known in China as “One Belt, One Road” in tribute to the Silk Road, but has garnered agreements or investments in 139 countries – accounting for 40 percent of the worlds’ GDP.
The majority of countries that have joined the BRI plan are underdeveloped nations that now rely in part on China for development on 5G networks, railways, and power plants. The multi-nation agreement has worried officials in the U.S., along with their western allies that China is using the initiative to extend its influence around the world.
Biden is expected to introduce a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill next week, aimed at improving roads and bridges while also addressing climate change initiatives.
“The next major initiative is – and I’ll be announcing it Friday in Pittsburgh in detail – is to rebuild the infrastructure, both the physical and technological infrastructure of this country so that we can compete and create significant numbers of really good-paying jobs,” Biden said during his first White House press conference Thursday.
But while the U.S. expands on its infrastructure initiatives at home, it remains unclear if the United Kingdom or other allied nations would be interested in establishing a multi-nation infrastructure system to rival China’s.
Megan Henney contributed to this report.