By Raffaello Pantucci
First published in RUSI, May 12, 2017
A great deal of rhetoric is expended over China’s gigantic investment initiatives. Still, many of the economic projects are real, and Western governments will be well advised to understand their purpose.
The Middle Kingdom is asserting its centrality in global affairs by hosting the Silk Road summit this weekend. Aimed at showcasing President Xi Jinping’s ‘Belt and Road’ vision, the conference will bring together leaders, officials and experts from around the world.
Apart from the signing of some large deals and some affirmations about China’s eagerness towards free trade, the summit’s real importance is in the message it sends about China’s place in the world.
By Alexandros Petersen
First published in The Atlantic December 2, 2013
Outside Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, lie two major transit hubs. To the west is the Manas Transit Center, the United States’ main waypoint for soldiers coming in and out of Afghanistan. And to the north is the Dordoi bazaar, said to be the largest re-export market in Central Asia, a funnel for cheap Chinese goods to the relatively rich consumers of Kazakhstan and Russia. The Manas Transit Center is set to close in 2014, marking the end of Washington’s major security presence in the region. Dordoi, meanwhile, will be open indefinitely, an enduring symbol of the region’s Chinese-dominated future. Continue reading
By Raffaello Pantucci and Alexandros Petersen
First published in the South China Morning Post April 23, 2012
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Urumqi, Xinjiang, was a dramatic turnaround for a leader who just over two years ago had characterised the Chinese response to riots in the same city as “simply put, a genocide”. Now he has shifted his pose, reaffirming “the one-China policy” and speaking in Shanghai of the “cultural similarities” between the two countries. Engendered by an increasingly eastern-facing Turkish posture, this shift highlights a Eurasian axis that invites closer attention.
As two developing countries with good manufacturing capacity and large labour forces, China and Turkey were long able to grow independently of one another. Both were export-driven economies, but they did not directly compete for markets.