China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s globe-girdling infrastructure and trade corridor project, is a rare watershed in international affairs. It affects, whether directly or indirectly, nearly the entire world, directly involving more than 60 countries, nearly 4.5 billion people (about two-thirds of the world’s population), up to $8 trillion, and around 40 per cent of the global economy.
BRI also entails a rising power—perhaps the next superpower—endeavouring to build one of the biggest and most expensive super-projects the world has ever seen. If it achieves its potential, BRI could even pose a threat to the Bretton Woods global economic model that has prevailed since the end of World War II. BRI has the potential to change the world in a big way. And yet, the project also confronts security and financial challenges that are as serious as its potential is soaring. In this way, BRI is a topic that needs serious examination. This book features chapters on BRI prepared by top international scholars who have been tracking the project closely. The chapters assess the project’s impact across Asia, highlight its opportunities and challenges, and consider what might be in store in the future.
The chapters in this book were first published as a special issue of the Asian Affairs.
Table of Contents
1. The Belt and Road Initiative: Modernity, Geopolitics and the Developing Global Order
2. China in Central Asia: The First Strand of the Silk Road Economic Belt
3. Beijing’s Response to the Belt and Road Initiative’s "Pushback": A Story of Assessment and Adaptation
4. The China–Pakistan Economic Corridor: The Lure of Easy Financing and the Perils of Poor Planning
5. Flawed by Design: The Challenge of Flawed Democracies to China’s Rise
6. Is the Belt and Road Initiative a Chinese Geo-Political Strategy?
Viwei Wang and Xuejun Liu
7. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – Is it the Road to the Future?
Bijan Omrani is Editor of the journal Asian Affairs. He is author of several books, articles, and chapters on Afghanistan and Central Asia, amongst other areas. He is an honorary associate research fellow at the University of Exeter, UK.