26th May Highlights

All aboard on the China-Europe economic belt (Source: Euractiv)

Academic Exposure: The Chinese Journal of International Politics

Several interesting articles in the latest issue of this academic journal, two of which I want to take a closer look at. In his study of the AIIB, Yu Wang analyses the expansion of the bank’s prospective founding membership and how these countries decide on joining the AIIB. As the results of this study show, less democratic countries, countries that are underrepresented in the current international financial system, and countries that are physically close to China are more likely to join. However, for other countries, it is not physical distance but the AIIB’s intrinsic uncertainty that has an impact on the decision-making process.

Yu Wang is a joint PhD candidate in political science and computer science, University of Rochester.

Shih Chih-yu offers an assessment of the theoretical implications of the relationship between China and Pakistan and the theoretical challenges this ‘iron brotherhood’ poses to International Relations Theory (IRT). Going beyond the economic corridor, Shih argues that the concept of ‘relationality’ is the “proper perspective to take on the evolution of the Sino-Pakistani friendship.” Running counter to more realist theories that view the world in terms of self-help, the authors thus argues that the focus ought to be on those “purposes and processes and relating that enable one to know one’s world and one’s own identity.”

Chih-yu Shih is Professor at the Department of Political Science, National Taiwan University

Expert View: China’s Grand Strategy and How it Relates to the UK and China

This interesting policy paper by Shirley Ze Yu discusses the grand strategic aims behind China’s Belt and Road and its implications for the UK. Labelling it the “grand strategic framework” since 2013, the BRI has a clear “two-pronged strategy” (economic-political). This is a clear-minded approach to the subject, as the width of the strategic aims behind the global project can lead to much heated debate.

Biggest News: Trump Cancels Meeting with Kim

Is the sun setting over the post-Olympic détente on the Korean Peninsula? With a formal letter to Kim Jong-un, the Trump administration decided to cancel the upcoming summit between both country’s top political leadership in Singapore, originally scheduled to take place in mid-July. For South Korea’s Moon Jae-in these must be chaotic times.

To Read over Breakfast: Beijing’s Building Boom

Discussing the infrastructure building, this article argues that the project under China’s BRI is its main lever of global influence. Not only the AIIB, but also China’s bilateral policy banks provide the financial firepower behind the project. As the authors argue: “the truth is that the West long ago ceded leadership to China.”

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