Title

The Geopolitics of China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Geopolitics

Volume

22

Issue

2

Publisher

Routledge

Publication Date

4-18-2017

First Page

223

Last Page

245

Abstract

China’s “One Belt, One Road” project is comprised of two components: the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) and the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB)—that were announced separately in 2013. Each component has the potential to transform the global geopolitical landscape through the construction of interrelated infrastructure projects including ports, highways, railways and pipelines. Such hard infrastructure requires the complementary construction of soft infrastructure, such as free trade and investment agreements, and other accords. We introduce a special section focusing specifically on the geopolitics of the MSRI that stems from a workshop hosted in November 2015 in Shanghai. The origins, scope and content of the MSRI are described, along with a summary of the current literature discussing the project, and dominant geopolitical representations. The MSRI is a geopolitical project that involves a number of actors (governments, private companies and Chinese state-owned enterprises) at a number of geographic scales (cities, provinces, states and continents). Arrghi’s twin logics of territorial and economic power help frame and connect the papers of the special section to illustrate the complexity and dynamism of the geopolitics of the MSRI. The articles provide insights into the geopolitics of a large connectivity project.

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