Why Does China Plan to Build the New Silk Road?

Announced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the grand vision of a Silk Road Initiative includes the concept of ‘the Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the other concept of ‘21st-century Maritime Silk Road’ during his visit to Kazakhstan and Indonesia. The Silk road project has two new trade corridors which connect Asia, Europe and Africa. The New Silk Road Project is an important key to understand China’s current diplomacy.

China aims to revive the Ancient Silk Road, a trade corridor which connected Xian to Europe.  At that time silk was a symbol of power, thus we called this route as Silk Road. The New Silk Road Initiative is a project involving about 65 countries, about 4.5 billion people and about %40 of global GDP. China has set up to finance the Silk Road Initiative by the Silk Road Fund, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), BRICS New Development Bank. China’s plan is to construct roads, railways, ports, pipelines and other infrastructures.

There are major reasons for the emergence of China’s desire to revive the Silk Road in this new period. The most important reason is economic one. The growth of China’s economy has begun to slow in recent times. Thus, China is looking for new investments and long term trade opportunities beyond the borders. However, the gap between China’s eastern and western regions are the other factor of economic reasons that triggers China’s need for the Silk Road. At the same time, China is increasingly dependent on energy resources. The Middle East is the region which has the largest oil reserves. China is taking its crude oil from the Middle East through the Malacca Strait. If China creates the alternative resources and routes, its dependence reduces on the Malacca Strait.

In political terms, China is concerned about the Asia Pivot Strategy the US. Because of the Asia Pivot strategy, China supports the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. This initiative will increase Chinese influence. China has recently begun to become a global leader thanks to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the New Silk Road initiative. It is part of China’s grand strategy. Economically, politically and culturally China has applied this new initiative to assess its regional leadership in Asia. China has recently achieved win-win cooperation and shared benefits with all other countries to promote One Belt One Road. In this way, Chinese dream and European dream can complete each other. It will help China integrate with Europe, Asian and Africa.

On May 14-15, Chinese President Xi Jinping will inaugurate the One Belt, One Road Summit. 28 heads of states and government leaders have confirmed to gather in Beijing for the One Belt One Road Summit. Trump’s new paradigm, Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the instability in the Middle East and even Syria crisis provided an unexpected opportunity for China’s New Silk Road initiative. For this reason, China should map out the initiative, the benefits of it and remove the raising doubts. The New Silk Road is the largest initiative of the world. This initiative is necessary for the economic instability of the world. OBOR may play a positive role for the world and help the sustainability of global development in emerging economies.

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Dr. Özlem Zerrin KEYVAN
Dr. Özlem Zerrin KEYVAN
2007 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümünden onur derecesiyle mezun oldu. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2010 yılında Gazi Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümünde tamamladı. Doktorasını Gazi Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümünde “Soğuk Savaş Sonrası Avrupa Birliği-Çin İlişkileri- Tehditler, Fırsatlar, Öneriler başlıklı teziyle 2015 yılında tamamladı. Asya Pasifik bölgesi, Çin dış politikası, Güney Çin Denizi, Doğu Asya ve Güney Doğu Asya başlıca araştırma ve çalışma alanları arasındadır. İngilizce, Almanca ve Çince bilmektedir.