Understanding the Belt and Road Initiative

Dr. Jin Ling

12 February 2018

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1. What circumstances help explain the introduction of the Belt and Road initiative?

The following internal and international factors contributed to the launch of BRI: Internally speaking, the following two factors are important. Firstly, the transformation of the Chinese economy calls for further opening up. Since Xi Jinping’s inauguration as China’s president in 2013, he has committed to structural reforms, calling forth a new normal of slower but more sustainable growth. Chinese current growth is more trade and investment driven than internal consumption driven, which is not sustainable in the long-term. In order to promote the transition and transformation, China needs more opening up and connectivity with the world. Secondly, the imbalance between China’s east and west needs to be addressed. Since the 18th party congress, targeted poverty reduction has been an essential task of the central government, which asks for targeted development of the wide western region in China, where the highest proportions of poor people live. BRI could provide better development opportunities for the west by linking it to the outside world through infrastructure, trade, finance, and people-to-people inter -connectivity.