23.02.2017

China's "Belt": perspectives on cooperation and security

New report by SIPRI and FES sheds light on the wider security dynamics of the Silk Road Economic Belt and EU–China cooperation prospects

Photo: One Belt One Road by Tart CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: iStock.com / FredFroese

One Belt One Road (OBOR) which was recently renamed as The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) can surely be considered to be China’s most ambitious foreign policy endeavour since the People’s Republic’s foundation in 1949. The initiative was introduced by China in 2013 and consists of two major components, the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (the ‘Belt’) and the sea-based 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the “Road”).

Much has been debated and speculated about this initiative and about China’s ambitions by furthering such a project. At first glance, the focus of BRI on infrastructural development, connectivity and economic cooperation planned at an immense scale and across an expansive landscape that encompasses the whole Eurasian continent seems to suggest a very altruistic motivation.

While an economic initiative at first glance, still the question arises about the important strategic implications of the “Belt“ initiative and its interaction with local security dynamics in the states with which China is partnering.

A new report jointly produced by the renowned Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and FES, provides a detailed analysis of the “Belt.” It looks into China’s motivations behind BRI, dissects the security implications, and comes up with a list of recommendations on how the European Union should react to China´s initiative. The report´s authors Richard Ghiasy and Jiayi Zhou relied on a year-long series of workshops and consultations which FES offices in Beijing, Islamabad, Astana, Moscow and Brussels helped to facilitate. The report´s findings were recently discussed in depth at this year’s conference “Re-Thinking Asia” in Tutzing (Germany) that was organized by FES and they will shortly be presented to audiences in Brussels and Berlin.

Read and download The Silk Road Economic Belt: Considering security implications and EU–China cooperation prospects.

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