China adjusts its foreign strategy: Consequences of "One belt, one road" summit

Author : Viktor Konstantynov

Source : 112 Ukraine

The Summit has not only opened a new stage in the history of China's most ambitious economic project, but also demonstrated the its encroachment on global leadership
14:37, 22 May 2017

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Summit "One belt, one road," held last weekend in Beijing, has not only opened a new stage in the history of the most ambitious economic project in the history of China, but also demonstrated the China's encroachment on global leadership.

This Summit gathered in Beijing 29 presidents and heads of governments and showed that the impact of this project is not limited to the economy. It leads to the transformation of Beijing's foreign policy.

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"One belt, one road" should be viewed from several perspectives. Firstly, variety of infrastructure projects. Some of them have already been sold, and some are planned for the near future.

And it is not just about the geographical expansion of Chinese activity in the world.

If the existing initiatives are successful, China will play a systemic role in Eurasia. Chinese projects are mainly concentrated in the Southeast and South Asia, in the traditional area of Chinese foreign policy. But in the future, China would also rely on corridors between China to Europe.

And the summit has marked a movement towards Central Asia, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. So, in the near future, China would have the same impact on regional policy, like the US, EU or Russia.

Second, China's changing approach to the implementation of economic policy. It includes not only expansion in existing markets, but also creating new ones, particularly in countries located along transit routes.

Total investments within "One belt, one road" are estimated at a whopping amount from 2 to 3.5 trillion dollars.

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Actually, China’s investment is really huge. Here are just two examples. About $ 12.5 billion China invested in creating a transportation hub, which bases on the Gwadar port in Pakistan and connects the port railway and highways of north-eastern China.

Nearly $ 5.5 billion of China and Chinese private investors allocate for the construction of Boten – Vientiane railway in Laos. And there's still an investment, not directly related to transport infrastructure. At the summit, Xi Jinping said that over the past three years, Chinese investment to the countries that have joined the initiative, amounted to about $ 50 billion. In the coming years, Beijing plans to triple that amount.

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Chinese long-term infrastructure investments require completely different approach to investment protection. China is not content with the role of an important trading partner.

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Beijing needs to have "shares" in the regional political projects, wants to participate in solving the problems of international security, and have leverage on the political situation in the partner countries.

China creates new or strengthens existing mechanisms for political dialogue across the whole "One belt, one road" area: with ASEAN, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Hungary and others.


Simola Heli (2016)

China's interest to internal processes in Eurasia becomes more notable: new, long-term interests would force Beijing to play an important role in the capitals of their partners, and use the same techniques and tools (lobbying, grants, 'm' by force "and hard political pressure) as, for example, the US do.

Thirdly, for the successful implementation of tasks, China would have to reconsider some principles of its foreign policy.

"One belt, one road" involves the creation of dozens of new diplomatic formats, signing hundreds of transactions, making thousands of overt and covert agreements. All these steps will change the political situation in Eurasia. Thus, the policy of the initiative ultimately prove China - a global player, active and independent. The current Chinese leadership finally gives up the tactical progress made on the reforms of Deng Xiaoping (focusing on the internal reform, non-involvement in foreign disputes).

Evidence of another important shift in Chinese policy is the absence of Indian representatives at the summit. Delhi has many reasons to be concerned about Chinese activity, but perhaps its most significant fear is associated with the construction of Karakoram Highway.

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This section of Pakistani transport corridor passes through the territory of Kashmir. India admits the territory of Kashmir. At the same time, China has decided to make substantial investment into the disputed territory.

Recently, Beijing implemented a very categorical policy, any intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state, carried out outside the UN Charter, was considered unacceptable. It seems that this doctrine is changed.

China would be more flexible, it would protect the sovereignty of third countries if this meets Chinese interests.

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In the future, it might be a dangerous signal for Ukraine. Assessing the scale of the event, as well as initiatives announced in Beijing, some experts said that China began moving west. This is absolutely true in geographical terms - Summit shaped the vector of Chinese expansion in the coming decades, and not only Asia gets in this scope, but Europe as well.

"One belt, one road" is a globalization project, but it is Chinese globalization. And it might be alien to the West, like Chinese Communist project was.

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