Belt And Road Initiative
GIS Dossier: China’s Belt and Road Initiative
In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a huge infrastructure-building project that includes investments in roads, railways and ports spanning three continents and two oceans. While Beijing claims the BRI is purely an attempt to better connect China with key markets, it is clearly using the investments to gain geopolitical leverage. This Dossier brings together GIS experts’ analysis of how China is using the BRI to build its influence, and how countries around the world are reacting.
China’s profile is rising in Latin America
As China’s growing economy made it an increasingly important player in Latin America, Beijing kept a low profile. Now, it can no longer avoid the spotlight. In Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil and Cuba, its position as a customer, financier and investor is leading to some complicated challenges. The question now is how assertive it will become in imposing its will on these countries – and how they and the U.S. will react.
Sino-Indian relations after the Wuhan summit
In late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an “informal summit” during which they reached a tacit understanding to turn down the heat on their countries’ contentious relationship. Both leaders have many more urgent issues on their plates, and need room to maneuver. But without any concrete steps taken to solve the Asian giants’ big disagreements, renewed confrontation is only a matter of time.
In Western capitals, shifting attitudes on China
Washington and Europe’s major capitals are taking a more critical view of China, and concern about the implications of Chinese investment is on the rise. The question is whether these governments can align their policies to formulate a coordinated response to the challenges posed by China’s rise. The international rules-based order is at stake.
Greater Eurasia – a Kremlin pipe dream
The Kremlin’s vision for a “Greater Eurasia” partnership with China is often held up as Russia’s most important geostrategic priority. According to this concept, the two countries would control a powerful bloc of non-Western states to challenge American hegemony. However, the two have vastly different goals, and it is becoming clearer that China would become the dominant member of the initiative.
ASEAN: A nexus of conflict and prosperity
For the first time since the Vietnam War, Southeast Asia has become a cockpit for great-power rivalries. China’s inexorable rise has split the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which had become a regional broker for peace and prosperity. The ASEAN countries have the demographics and infrastructure to leapfrog into the ranks of the advanced economies, but everything depends on whether China’s growing dominance can be accommodated peacefully.
The strategic implications of China’s Arctic Road
China has proposed building a link to Western Europe through the Arctic as part of its huge Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing insists its intentions are purely economic and scientific, but such a pathway dominated by China would tip the strategic balance in the region. So far, the Western response has been mixed, but as Chinese influence grows, so will concerns about its potential role in the Arctic.
A free and open Indo-Pacific: Regional and global implications
One of the techniques devised for managing China’s ascent and its destabilizing impact is the concept of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” This idea, embraced by the governments of Japan, India and the United States, includes military, economic, political, legal and diplomatic dimensions. Some argue it is a smoke screen to mask U.S. disengagement, while others maintain it is a Japanese-inspired effort to enlist American help.
GIS Dossier: The South China Sea
The South China Sea is critical for global trade and security. Beijing’s moves to extend its influence throughout the sea have heightened tensions, risking conflict with neighbors and the United States. China’s global position, economic power and energy riches are all at stake. This survey presents GIS experts’ analyses and predictions for this crucial body of water.
2018 Global Outlook: World trade
After a surprisingly good 2017, world trade should do even better this year. But that doesn’t mean that Europe and the United States can afford to be passive. China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which will turn most of Asia into a privileged trade zone, demands a choice – either join the initiative or promote free trade outside it. For now, the West is doing neither.