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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: 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: 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