China's Belt and Road Initiative: at the crossroads of challenges and ambitions


PACIFIC REVIEW, vol.31, no.3, pp.373-390, 2018 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 31 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09512748.2017.1391864
  • Journal Name: PACIFIC REVIEW
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.373-390
  • Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative, challenges of China, ambitions of China, China, global economic order, FOREIGN-POLICY, GREAT POWER, SILK ROAD, WORLD, ORDER, MULTILATERALISM, CAPITALISM, PLACE, BANK
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Interpretations of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mostly agree that it is a policy opening that offers some remedies for China's economic and security challenges, as well as reflects China's increasing regional and global ambitions. This paper argues that the multiple drivers characterizing the BRI result from the multiple identities of China as a developing country struggling with several sources of instability and macroeconomic problems and, simultaneously, a regional and an emerging power, and finally a major global power with significant economic capacity to shape the global economic order. The paper aims to substantiate the entanglement of the defensive and ambitious motivations behind the BRI by examining the background against which the Chinese Communist Party leadership has suggested it. In so doing, it draws on Chinese official policy documents and statistics, speeches from Chinese leaders and existing social-scientific research on the transformation of China's economic and political landscape in recent years.