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  • Author: Ana González, Euijin Jung
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: By refusing to fill vacancies in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body—the top body that hears appeals and rules on trade disputes—the Trump administration has paralyzed the key component of the dispute settlement system. No nation or group of nations has more at stake in salvaging this system than the world’s big emerging-market economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, and Thailand, among others. These countries have actively and successfully used the dispute settlement system to defend their commercial interests abroad and resolve inevitable trade conflicts. The authors suggest that even though the developing countries did not create the Appellate Body crisis, they may hold a key to unlock it. The Trump administration has also focused its ire on a longstanding WTO practice of giving these economies latitude to seek “special and differential treatment” in trade negotiations because of their developing-country status. The largest developing economies, which have a significant stake in preserving a two-step, rules-based mechanism for resolving trade disputes, could play a role in driving a potential bargain to save the appeals mechanism. They could unite to give up that special status in return for a US commitment to end its boycott of the nomination of Appellate Body members.
  • Topic: Development, Government, World Trade Organization, Developing World, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Brazil, North America, Mexico, Thailand, United States of America
  • Author: Priscilla Clapp
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Developing countries throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America are grappling with how to deal with China's rising economic influence—particularly the multibillion-dollar development projects financed through China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Myanmar, however, appears to be approaching foreign investment proposals with considerable caution. This report examines the framework the country is developing to promote transparency and accountability and to reserve for itself the authority to weigh the economic, social, and environmental impacts of major projects proposed by international investors, including China.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace
  • Political Geography: China, Southeast Asia, Myanmar
  • Author: Mao Ruipeng
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: As China deepens its engagement in global governance and development, its strategic motivation and rising influence within the UN and on international rules and norms are attracting the world’s attention. This paper focuses on China’s engagement with the UNDS, specifically Chinese funding and allocation decisions. China’s UNDS funding has risen rapidly since 2008 and even accelerated in 2013. Between 2013 and 2017, Chinese funding (excluding local resources) grew at an annual average rate of 33.8 per cent. In 2017, its total contribution reached USD 325.869 million. China’s shares of core funding and assessed contribution in its total UNDS funding are much higher than traditional donor countries. However, the share of non-core funding has also jumped. While China tends to mostly provide funds for UNDS development projects, in recent years it has also been hiking funding for humanitarian assistance. This paper also examines three cases of China’s earmarked funding – to the UNDP and the WFP, which receive the largest share of its UNDS funds, as well as for UNPDF operations, which count as a voluntary contribution. There are several reasons for China’s growing engagement with the UNDS, from evolving perception of foreign aid and appreciating the UN’s multilateral assets to fostering the reputation of “responsible great nation” and pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through cooperation with the UNDS. In general, China continues to integrate into the global development system, and can be expected to maintain its support for the UN and continue to contribute to the UNDS.
  • Topic: Development, International Law, United Nations, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Norms
  • Political Geography: China, Global
  • Author: Augusto Leal Rinaldi, Laerte Apolinário Júnior
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Institution: Conjuntura Austral: Journal of the Global South
  • Abstract: The first decade of the 21st century gave way to a series of international political-economic dynamics with the potential to reorganize global power (IKENBERRY, 2018; KITCHEN; COX, 2019; MAHBUBANI, 2009; MEARSHEIMER, 2018, 2019). Among the changes, one common reference is the rise of the BRICS –Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa –and, consequently, their performance for demanding reforms of the global governance system (COOPER, 2016; HURRELL, 2018; ROBERTS; ARMIJO; KATADA, 2018; STUENKEL, 2017). The emerging economies have invested in consolidating their new status by acting in different branches of global governance, demanding changes and policies to see a reasonable parity between their economic weight and ability to participate as real decision-makers. In this context, international regimes are a crucial dimension to consider.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, International Political Economy, Geopolitics, International Development, Economic Development , Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil
  • Author: James A. Dorn
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: 1978 has been erratic, with many interruptions along the way. The end result, however, has been eye opening: the Middle Kingdom has become the world’s largest trading nation, the second largest economy, and more than 500 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty as economic liberalization removed barriers to trade. One of the enduring lessons from China’s rise as an economic giant is that once people are given greater economic freedom, more autonomy, and stronger property rights, they will have a better chance of creating a harmonious and prosperous society (see Dorn 2019). Nevertheless, China faces major challenges to its future development. There is still no genuine rule of law that effectively limits the power of government, no independent judiciary to enforce the rights promised in the nation’s constitution, no free market for ideas that is essential for innovation and for avoiding major policy errors, no competitive political system that fosters a diversity of views, and a large state sector that stifles private initiative and breeds corruption. China’s slowing growth rate, its increasing debt burden, environmental problems, and the increasing tension in U.S.-China relations compound the challenges facing Beijing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, History, Trade Liberalization
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Roland Rajah, Alexandre Dayant, Jonathan Pryke
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: China has not been engaged in debt trap diplomacy — at least not yet. China has not been the primary driver behind rising debt risks in the Pacific, although a continuation of business as usual would risk future debt problems in several countries. There is scope for a new Australian infrastructure financing facility to provide loans to the Pacific without causing debt problems, particularly as it has adopted key sustainable lending rules. Pacific nations have an opportunity to obtain more favourable financing from official development partners but care must be taken to avoid overly geopolitical aid.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Karen E. Young
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Arab Gulf states are expanding their political and economic ties with China as a bridge strategy to create a next-generation energy market in traditional oil and gas products, as well as petrochemical production and future market access in expected areas of consumer growth. China is also a competitor in some areas where Arab Gulf states are investing in infrastructure, ports, and political outreach to secure new security partnerships, particularly in the Horn of Africa. China and the Arab Gulf states share a model and vision of economic development that is state centered and profitable to state-owned enterprises and financial institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Asia, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Author: Daniel R. Russel, Blake Berger
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Launched in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a highly ambitious development effort that would sew together infrastructure projects across more than 70 countries. Estimated to comprise of more than USD $1 trillion in Chinese investment, the BRI is arguably China's broadest economic engagement effort with the rest of the world — enhancing its connectivity through Southeast, South, Central, and West Asia; Africa; Europe; and South America. The Asia Society Policy Institute project – Navigating the Belt and Road Initiative – examines BRI with the aim of setting forth actionable recommendations for how China and partner countries can help ensure that BRI projects yield beneficial and sustainable developmental, economic, environmental, civic, and social outcomes. The project includes a report by the same name, which is available for download below, as well as an interactive visualization of 12 recommended practices and their specific implementation steps, intended outcomes, and relevant Chinese and international precedents. (For interactive content see: https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/belt-and-road-initiative)
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, South America, Southeast Asia, West Asia
  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The Philippines and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development, demonstrating their willingness to explore joint development as a pathway to collaboration, notwithstanding their territorial disputes. Recent commentaries on joint development are mostly framed on legal challenges, South China Sea (SCS) rows, geopolitics, and state-centric security issues. However, there have been no extensive discussions on the potential contributions from non-state stakeholders that can make joint development agreements environmentally sound, sustainable, and less political. These stakeholders are the oil companies, fishermen and coastal communities. In this regard, this NTS Insight explores potential roles of these stakeholders in promoting joint initiatives to share and develop resources in the SCS. It argues that the engagement and participation of non-state stakeholders in resource sharing and joint management must be pursued to address key non-traditional security challenges in the SCS. It also examines mechanisms to integrate marine environmental protection and sustainable fishing management into joint development agreements.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: China, Philippines, Southeast Asia, South China Sea
  • Author: Honzhi Yu, Hongying Wang
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In contrast to the growing profile of the Chinese government in global governance, the engagement of Chinese industrial actors in global rule making is quite limited and uneven. Some Chinese industrial leaders have shown an ambition to participate in global rule making in their respective realms; most of the others still lack interest or capacity. This policy brief identifies three plausible sources of variation among the Chinese industrial actors. It offers suggestions to Chinese industrial actors and to those concerned about China’s role in global governance, with the purpose of reducing misunderstanding and building trust between Chinese industrial actors and businesses, regulators, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders from other parts of the world in developing global standards for good governance.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy, Governance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Alex He
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This paper argues that with more objectives added since its inception in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has evolved into a much more expansive grand strategy that includes a package of themes and goals. It examines the policy-making process of the BRI by exploring the motivations behind the plan President Xi Jinping proposed and how the initial Silk Road projects have developed into China’s package of strategies over the past few years. The priorities and performance of China’s investments in the BRI are discussed from the angle of geographical distribution, routes and projects, priority sectors and the connection between the BRI and the previous “going out” strategy China started at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The model and the specific ways China finances and invests in BRI projects, to a great extent, decided the nature of the China-led global infrastructure investment plan. BRI financing is reviewed in detail. Based on the geopolitical and geo-economic analysis of the BRI in the previous parts, the implications of the BRI for global governance as it goes beyond the ambitious infrastructure investment plan are revealed. The risks and problems facing the BRI and the controversy and criticism it has encountered are also addressed. Finally, the paper summarizes the BRI’s ever-expanding themes and the problems and risks it faces, and their implications for the future of the BRI.
  • Topic: Development, Imperialism, Infrastructure, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Syed Fazl-e Haider
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the central component of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in South Asia, has been a source of significant attention and controversy (China Brief, January 12, 2018; China Brief, February 15). Parts of South Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, however, are also host to another ambitious infrastructure program: the “International North-South Transport Corridor” (INSTC), a transportation development plan first established in 2000 by Iran, Russia and India. The INSTC envisions a network to connect Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf ports and rail centers to the Caspian Sea, and then onwards through the Russian Federation to St. Petersburg and northern Europe.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, Middle East, India, Asia
  • Author: Sudha Ramachandran
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: South Asian governments are becoming increasingly discontent with Belt and Road Initiative projects. In August, Pakistan’s new government expressed interest in reviewing the CPEC contracts that they perceive to be over-priced, unnecessary, or excessively in the favor of PRC companies (Dawn, September 11). Similar sentiments have been expressed by the new Maldivian government, which is reviewing BRI contracts signed during the rule of former President Abdulla Yameen (Economic Times, November 26). Such actions raise questions as to whether South Asian states might scale down or even cancel BRI projects.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, Infrastructure, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, South Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives
  • Author: Alice Ekman
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: “Smart city” development has become a fashionable policy and research topic. A growing number of central and local governments in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, in partnership with companies from diverse sectors (construction, transport, energy, water, etc), consulting firms, NGOs and experts, are now developing smart-city-related projects. This report looks at the smart city from a broader, geopolitical perspective, and considers it, for the first time, as a potential area of geopolitical competition between countries. This approach is relevant given the strategic nature of the infrastructure involved in smart-city development (telecommunication and energy grids, mobile networks, data centers, etc). It is also relevant at a time of prolonged tensions between China and the United States – a period during which 5G and other technologies that are key to developing smart cities are generating global debate and diverging positions across countries.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Urbanization, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Smart Cities
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: 70 years ago Bulgaria and the Peope’s Republic of China (PRC) established diplomatic relations. As a small country we are proud to be among the first that recognized the new great state and to have a record of long and constructive relations throughout this period. Despite the differences in the socio-political systems the bilateral relations of our countries are at its peak. The PRC is a key partner of both Bulgaria and the European Union (EU), to which my country belongs. I am personally grateful to the organizers of the high-level symposium for this first visit of mine to understand the sagacity of a Chinese proverb, I paraphraze, it is better to see something once than read about it one hundred times. China proved – and this is a lesson for all, that direct copying of experience and models of development of other countries may lead to nowhere. A methodological lesson in statecraft given by China from the end of the 70s of the last century till nowdays is that thinking big and whole while recognizing the truth in the facts of life, opening to the rest of the world and persistently reforming in a strategically chosen direction is the right way to success. The ability to take the best from the experience and wisdom of the past, sincerely seeking to share the achievements of mankind is a Chinese accomplishment that deserves to be studied by present and future politicians, including in my part of the world.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Bulgaria
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE)
  • Abstract: Chinese investment is flowing fast into Uganda, and spreading into the agriculture and forestry sectors. The government needs to keep pace with these developments so the benefits can be shared by Ugandans. A new analysis shows that, while the jobs and new businesses created are well received, the working conditions and environmental practices of Chinese companies are often poor. Many people evicted from their land to make way for new projects have not been compensated. To hold Chinese companies to account, government agencies, with support from NGOs, must share information about these investments and introduce stronger regulation — in particular to uphold community rights. In turn, Chinese companies must be more transparent, responsible and legally compliant. With a proactive and accountable strategy for Chinese investment management, Uganda could make major gains for sustainable development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment, Business , Accountability, Investment, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, China
  • Author: Kai Gehring, Lennart C. Kaplan, Melvin H.L. Wong
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: China’s development model challenges the approaches of traditional Western donors like the World Bank. We argue that both aim at stability, but differ in the norms propagated to achieve that. Using fixed effects and IV estimations, we analyze a broad range of subnational stability measures in Africa. Aid by both the WB and China does not increase outright conflict nor any type of citizen protest, on average. Both even reduce outright conflict by governments against civilians. Still, Chinese aid is associated with more government repression and an increased acceptance of authoritarian norms, while WB projects strengthen democratic values.
  • Topic: Development, International Political Economy, Political Economy, World Bank, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Vivid Lam, Oenone Kubie, Christopher McKenna
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxford Centre for Global History
  • Abstract: Pingyao (平遥) is a remote place for a tourist attraction. Located in the centre of Shanxi province, it is some 380 miles from Beijing and further from Shanghai or Hong Kong where the tourists tend to congregate. Yet, despite the isolation, come they do to Pingyao. The nearest airport to Pingyao is in Tiayuan, over one hundred kilometres away, so most visitors arrive by coach or by train; along the poorly paved streets and past the decaying houses until they arrive in the middle of the city. Here the tourists disembark from their coaches and their trains and find themselves transported to the days of the Qing dynasty emperors, surrounded by imperial architecture. The tourists wander slowly towards West Street. This is the home of the most popular attraction: the headquarters of Ri Sheng Chang (日昇), a late Qing company which revolutionised Chinese banking, now a museum and an increasingly busy tourist attraction. This is the story of how it came to be and how the little city in a small province in China rose to prominence, became the financial centre of the world’s largest economy, fell to obscurity and, now, rises again.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, History, Capitalism, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China’s President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy programme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become one of the world’s most active infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development in emerging markets across the world. This policy is unlikely to change due to the importance that the Chinese government attributes to the BRI, with it now being formally enshrined into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitution. For the UK, the BRI stakes are high; it matters both domestically and internationally. It is impacting the wellbeing of countries that are of strategic importance to the UK. It also contributes to the emerging geopolitical rivalry on infrastructure financing. The government should explore bilateral and multilateral venues to seek to cooperate with China on the BRI by developing a UK BRI strategy post-Brexit.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, United Kingdom, Asia
  • Author: Lars Erslev Andersen, Yang Jiang
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the latest policy report in DIIS’s Defence and Security Studies series, Lars Erslev Andersen and Yang Jiang discuss the potential of China’s approach to stabilising security conditions in Pakistan and Afghanistan through development. The report explores China’s westward policy by analysing the opportunities and obstacles related to its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in South Asia, in particular the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). One aspect of the philosophy behind the CPEC is that lifting people out of poverty by providing them with better opportunities for jobs and incomes and hence improved living conditions will reduce the attractions of violent extremism and the inclination to indulge in it, thereby enhancing stability. This so-called Root Cause model draws on China’s experience of successfully lifting more than 600 million of its own citizens out of poverty due to the reform policy that has changed China rapidly over the past forty years, especially in the big cities in eastern China. However, the model has had mixed results in western China, especially in Xinjiang province. As this issue can shed light on the kinds of problems that China will face in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the report explores the situation in Xinjiang by investigating how it is conducting its policy there. The report outlines this development, which brings the Root Cause model into question to some extent, thus identifying some of the challenges that China will face in trying to stabilise conflict-torn parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan ‘the Chinese way’. Following these observations, the report takes a closer look at China’s economic diplomacy in Afghanistan. The last section discusses China’s increasing role in mediating between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Taliban. Whether the Chinese approach to the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan proves to be a sustainable way of providing stability and achieving results is the question addressed in the report’s conclusion.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Democratization, Development, Emerging Markets, Migration, Oil, Power Politics, Non State Actors, Gas, Fragile States, Economy, Conflict, Investment, Peace, Land Rights
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, South Asia, Asia