Launched in 2013, the One Belt One RoadInitiative (OBOR or BRI) is a Chinese foreign policy of a transnationaleconomic belt. The scale of the initiative is astonishing for it is so far thelargest of its kind launched by one single country.
The OBOR is consisted of twoparts: The Silk Road Economic Belt, historically it was a route for ancientChina to communicate and trade with Central Asia and the Middle East over 2000years ago, with the first record of the Silk Road can be dated from Handynasty, when emperor Wudi send Zhang Qian from west China to the Middle East.Another segment is the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is a maritimeroute that goes around Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the Horn ofAfrica. In summary, more than two thirds of world population and more than onethird of global economic output will be involved in the initiative, and couldinvolve Chinese investments that total up to $4 trillion.But despite the huge economic influenceof the BRI, the initiative was described as a “response” to the newgeopolitical situation marked by the U.S.
“rebalance to Asia,” Japan’saccelerated “steps toward normalization,” India’s rapid economic growth, andincreasing worries toward a stronger China among China’s “neighboring Asiancountries.” From this geopoliticalperspective, the One Belt, One Road initiative can be seen as a new kind of”strategy” designed to support the larger effort announced by Xi Jinping, tostrengthen Beijing’s periphery diplomacy and create a “new type of majorcountry relations”. From a foreign relations perspective,Under Xi China has taken a more critical stance on North Korea, while improvingrelationships with South Korea. China-Japan relations became worse under Xi’sadministration and there’s still a territeorial dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyuislands. Xi Jinping called the China–US relations in the contemporary world a”new type of great-power relations”, and he said, “If China and theUnited States are in confrontation, it would surely spell disaster for bothcountries”. Xi has cultivated stronger relations with Russia, particularly inthe wake of the Ukraine crisis of 2014, and Xi seems to have developed a strongpersonal relationship with Putin, given the fact that they are both viewed asstrong leaders with a nationalist orientation.
In conclusion, goals of Chinese foreignrelations strategies under Xi Jinping are mostly economic-oriented, and couldrepresent a bold attempt to be actively engaged in the construction of newglobal economic and financial institutions, which can promote the establishmentof the new international political and economic order. From a securityperspective, Xi Jinping’s policies project a more nationalistic and assertiveChina on the world stage. Comparisonof International Orders During Mao era, China was among oneof the less developed countries in the world, especially economically. Beginningin the early 1950s economic planning was introduced in China that was modeledafter the planning system of the Soviet Union. It was in 1978 that Chinastarted to abandon the planning system gradually and return to a more market-orientedeconomy and now it has become the second largest economy in the world.According to prediction, it will become the world’s largest economy succeeding theU.
S. in the 2030s.Source:Based on data from China Data Online (All China Data Center, 2011).China’snineteenth century was a dismal contrast. There were a whole series of internalrebellions which were difficult and costly to suppress. The biggest, theTaiping rebellion, lasted 14 years and involved enormous damage to China’scentral provinces. The traditional military forces failed to suppress it andfiscal resources were under great strain in developing a new military response.The authorities ceased to be able to maintain major hydraulic works.
The YellowRiver dikes were not maintained. There was a disastrous change in the course ofthe river in 1852–55, and a silting up of the Grand Canal. By the end of thecentury it could no longer be used to provide grain supplies to Peking. As aresult of these disasters, China’s population wasnohigher in 1890 than in 1820, and its per capita income was almost certainlylower. China had been the world’s biggest economy for nearly two millennia, butin the 1890s this position was taken by the United States.
The record under thevarious Republican regimes (1912–49) was also dismal. Chinese GDP per capitawas lower in 1952 than in 1820, in stark contrast with experience elsewhere inthe world economy.China’sshare of world GDP fell from a third to one twentieth. Its real per capitaincome fell from parity to a quarter of the world average.
Duringthe Cold War, the world was under a bipolar international system, with twosuperpowers, which were the United States and the Soviet Union.