Index > Research
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
What Happened Before? - The Formation of the Belt and Road Initiative
Tony Yu Pan, Chan Kung

As the most crucial grand strategy of China in the 21st century, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has reached its sixth year since its revelation in 2013. Although its influence continued to grow, the challenges are also prominent for the Chinese central government. Compounding such challenges is the Chinese opaque policy-making process which led most researchers to regard 2013 (Xi Jinping's remark in Kazakhstan) as the initiative's starting point.

The author believes that this split has caused some misunderstandings among the Western observers toward this Initiative in terms of its goal and current circumstances. This paper provides a plain background for the viewer to better understand the reasons behind Beijing's decision to launch the BRI. This paper is divided into three different parts.

The first part focuses on the Chinese economic development from 2000 to 2010, arguing that despite its prominent achievement, Beijing desperately needs a new strategy to solve the problems that left from the previous economic miracles around 2010. The second part explains the influence of the New Silk Road Initiative (NSRI) toward the Chinese leadership. The author believes the NSRI gave Beijing a significant lesson about how to use the regional economic project to solve its own problems. The final part then introduced the details about the process of how the NSRI produced its influence on the central leadership in Beijing.

As a conclusion, this paper argues that the BRI was never a project that combined the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with the massive infrastructure building projects. China does not wish to use the BRI as a tool to control other countries, and the recent situations indicated a dissimilation of this Initiative. Furthermore, the launch of the BRI also marked as a symbol that Beijing, after becoming a great economic power, began to think equivalently.

The full text can also be downloaded. Learn more in PDF version.


The Golden Age of Chinese Economy

The New Silk Road Initiative

Chinese Policy-Making Process



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