China’s Belt & Road Initiatives – Implications for Sea Power

A few thoughts

1. Fundamental weaknesses in the conceptualisation of China’s external relations, especially President Xi Jinping’s Belt & Road Initiative, suggest that growth of Chinese maritime and sea power in our region will fluctuate over time.

  • Firstly, established and aspiring powers will find greater reason to cooperate, and align against China. Note the relative fates of Quad 2008 and Quad 2018.
  • Secondly, nationalist backlash from countries inside China’s bandwagon. Post-Hambantota, Zambia and Tajikistan even Pakistan is worried. History tells us that power projection precedes understanding; so is it with China.

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