Workshop — China’s OBOR Initiative and Its Impacts for Asian Countries

WORKSHOP DIRECTORS:

Anh Nguyen Dang
Vice-President, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences
danganhphat1609@gmail.com

Wenfei Winnie Wang
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Bristol
w.wang@bristol.ac.uk

CALL FOR WORKSHOP PAPERS:

In 2013, Chinese premier Xi Jinping announced a pair of new development and trade initiatives for China and the surrounding region: the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “Twenty-First- Century Maritime Silk Road,” together known as “One Belt, One Road“ (OBOR). Along with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the OBOR policies represent an ambitious spatial expansion of Chinese state capitalism, driven by an excess of industrial production capacity, as well as by emerging financial capital interests.

Several “corridors” will link specific Chinese regions with countries throughout Asia. A massive “Silk Road Fund” will finance infrastructure projects, like deep water harbour construction, satellite towns and fast railroads. Financial and business circles are by and large enthusiastic about the OBOR project and expect high profits for banks and the construction industry. Massive investments are planned and construction has started on several mega projects such as deep water harbour construction, land traffic infrastructure projects and large scale urban development projects. The development plan also includes the building of a network of fast railway lines, connecting China with Central Asia, Southeast Asia, India and eventually Europe.

The increasing dominance of the Chinese economy throughout Asia and beyond is, however, clearly visible. As the Chinese Government has embarked on the new strategy of OBOR, there will be obvious commercial benefits to economies along the Southern Silk Road, but also geo-political effects like increasing political dependency due to Chinese capital investments and acquisition of property rights in ports and estates.

The Chinese government insists that the OBOR strategy is peaceful and directed at only one aim economic prosperity for all countries involved. China’s leaders have stressed the shared benefits of “peaceful development and prosperity” brought about by the OBOR initiative, while many scholars and political scientists considered it as a tool for China to control the “pivot area” of Eurasia for benefits and geopolitical domination. There will be long-term predictable and un-predictable outcomes for Asia countries who critically need policy to deal with OBOR and China’s influences. A different picture of Asia may emerge with OBOR’s impact. Who is going to benefit in the long run; whether peaceful development is maintained in Asia will have to be seen.

This workshop concentrates on the present and future impacts of China’s OBOR initiative. We invite contributions on all aspect of OBOR, particularly its present and future impacts on Asia and its integration. We welcome papers from authors coming from various disciplines, especially those who can bring intensive ideas and different perspectives to the workshop.