Chapter 9 The strategic rationale of Chinas Belt and Road Initiative
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Touted somewhat inaccurately as the Chinese Marshall Plan, the BRI holds out the promise of bringing much needed development to regions of the world that have been starved of infrastructure. But of course, the BRI is not only about infrastructure. It is also about connectivity, jobs, healthcare, technology, cultural exchange, etc. At the same time, the BRI is also not without its detractors and sceptics, many of whom question the intentions behind the BRI, and the objectives that the Chinese are trying to fulfill with the most ambitious development project in modern history. This chapter explores the geoeconomics, diplomatic, and security dimensions of the BRI from the context of China’s wider strategic interests. It argues that while the value of the BRI as a public good is apparent, it is also in possession of political and security dimensions on which its strategic logic is underpinned. In essence, apart from enhancing the prospects for prosperity for China and its neighbours, the BRI is also proving a major vehicle through which Chinese influence can – and has – been spread globally even as it also helps to address Chinese vulnerability to supply chain disruption and an increasingly tense relationship with the US.

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