People take pictures of the "Golden Bridge on Silk Road" installation by Chinese artist Shu Yong, set up ahead of May's Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Photo: Reuters, Thomas Peter

Jean-Pierre Lehmann argues today in the South China Morning Post that the US and Japan are missing an opportunity by not participating in China’s grand One Belt, One Road investment push.

“The potential benefits of the belt and road, if the dream were even only partly realized, could be enormous. The inclusion of the Middle East and Central Asia could contribute to peace and prosperity in these currently dramatically turbulent regions,” writes Lehmann.

Despite this potential, there will be no representative from the US attending the much anticipated OBOR summit in Beijing this weekend, and while Japan to its credit is sending the secretary-general of the ruling party Toshihiro Nikai, Prime Minister Abe will not be there.

Leaders from Washington and Tokyo are no doubt not ready to endorse Beijing’s expanding role on the global stage, but in their absence it seems the rest of the world will.