The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious Chinese program to influence global affairs through geoeconomics. Since its inception in 2013, it has become fundamental to understanding China’s grand strategy. Eight years later the BRI has over 145 member countries, many of whom seek infrastructure development. This pre-submission seminar by Pete Connolly examines changes in Chinese statecraft across Timor-Leste, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji, since the introduction of the BRI in 2018 and 2019.
The future of Taiwan, important though that is in itself, has become the focus of something much bigger – the strategic contest between America and China over which of them will be the primary strategic power in East Asia over the decades ahead.
The tense situation in US relations with Russia over the massing of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and with China over an increasingly militarily threatened Taiwan confronts a domestically distracted America with the prospect of conflicts on two separate fronts.