The Geopolitics of China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative

Panel Code

Launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) proposal formally aims to improve connectivity and cooperation among Asian, African and European countries by linking multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects across land and maritime routes from China to Europe.
Critics of the initiative dismiss it as primarily a geopolitical undertaking, whereby China deploys economic instruments on behalf of its two principal strategic goals: sustaining investment and growth in the Chinese economy while asserting a confident leadership role in Asia and beyond. Clearly driven by China’s ambitious national domestic and foreign policies, the OBOR initiative is nevertheless of such historically unprecedented scale and scope that it must inevitably have long-term geopolitical implications for the study and conduct of world politics.
Taking the debate over China’s motivation as a starting point, this joint RC-41 (Geopolitics) and RC-15 (Political & Cultural Geography) panel will address the geopolitical underpinnings, dynamics and likely consequences of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Papers addressing any of the following and related questions are welcome: What does China aim to achieve by OBOR? How could the initiative re-shape the Eurasian regional balance of power? What impact will it have on global politics? Not least, what theoretical insights might the initiative offer students of international relations, and of Integration Theory in particular?
Convenor: Aharon Klieman
Co-Chairs: Tolga Demiryol, Heriberto Cairo Carou
Discussant: Aharon Klieman