This article clarifies the various aspect of “The Belt and Road” Initiative (BRI), which is generally recognized as the blueprint of enormous economic zone concept under China’s strong leadership. Although China affirms BRI is an initiative for cooperation, guided by openness, win-win success, but it is hard to understand its real intention and policy priority from outside.
After obtaining the membership of World Trade Organization (WTO), China aggressively started to promote Free Trade Agreement (FTA) policy. Because bilateral negotiations are advantageous to China against the backdrop of overwhelming market power. And It seems China intends to achieve the complex objectives, including diplomatic purposes rather than economic benefits.
BRI was proposed by President Xi Jinping, in autumn 2013, while negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were in progress on the other side. So, there is also a view that BRI was a countermeasure for TPP. It is sure China is very cautious not to be excluded from establishing the world trade regulations. However, BRI differs completely from economic partnership, and China’s countermeasure for TPP is Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Although partner countries can achieve improvement of infrastructures and realize economic development through China’s huge assistance or investment, it becomes impossible to damage a stable relationship with China automatically. Furthermore, international order could be strongly influenced by China’s power.
Meanwhile, TPP12 was suspended by US new President, China has been released from the strong pressure of establishing the trade rules. Therefore, main developed countries, such as Japan, should encourage China to join making a high level of international rules.
East Asia has continued high growth within a framework of world economy for over half a century. The major driving force behind growth and integration is foreign direct investment (FDI) by multinational corporations of advanced economies. It has promoted economic integration in East Asia by means of the generating international production networks or, in other words, production process division of labor. At the same time, in East Asia there has emerged middle class, and transformed the region from ‘world factory’ to ‘world market’. East Asia has also changed its growth mechanism during this century, which is reflected in the altering of the regional major emerging economies from ‘Newly Industrializing Economies (NIEs) between 1960s and 1980s to BRICs. And, China stands on top of emerging economies.
In this article, author traces East Asia’s miracle growth, its factors and mechanisms, and discusses China’s “One Belt One Road” Initiative and its meanings for both Asia and the world economy as a whole.