Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Geopolitical Challenges.

  • Pablo Ibañez Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro

Abstract

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an extremely new and fast-moving project which, as part of a strong effort toward consolidating Chinese power on the international stage, has faced a series of challenges, suspicions and criticisms (especially from Western analysts). What China is proposing is more than a revolutionary infrastructure project. It represents, without doubt, an ambitious geopolitical plan which challenges geopolitical analysis itself. This paper, therefore, presents a theoretical review of geopolitics in order to analyze one of the main projects of the BRI: the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), identifying the challenges relative to comprehending not only the initiative but also Sino-Pakistani relations based on recent experience. While the use of classical theories, such as retrieving the concept of heartland, has proven inadequate, new propositions, such as the concept of geoeconomics, provide analytical support that is better suited to this new geopolitical moment. Also of note is the volume of ongoing projects in distant economic areas and the lack of military objectives under the auspices of the corridor. There is a latent concern regarding security, but to date, no elements of militarization have been observed in the corridor. The Sino-Pakistani relations that were firmly grounded on border protection, territorial delimitation and the development of the arms industry, including nuclear weapons, on the conveyor belt of the corridor, are now focused more on the economy with a view to increase trade flow, thereby consolidating the energy sector while creating industrial zones and operations of the Gwadar port.

Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Geopolitics, Geoeconomics

Author Biography

Pablo Ibañez, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro

Pablo Ibañez is a Professor at the Departament of Geography at Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. He was a Visiting Scholar at Fudan Development Institute at Fudan University.

Published
13-03-2020
Section
Research Article