China’s Belt and Road Initiative is one of President Xi’s most ambitious foreign and economic policies. It aims to strengthen Beijing’s economic leadership through a vast program of infrastructure building throughout China’s neighbouring regions. Many foreign policy analysts view BRI largely through a geopolitical lens, seeing it as Beijing’s attempt to gain political leverage over its neighbours. There is no doubt that is part of Beijing’s design. However, this talk argues that the some of the key drivers behind BRI are largely motivated by China’s pressing economic issues such as addressing overcapacity issue and exporting Chinese technological and engineering standards.
Peter Cai is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Previously he was a journalist with The Australian, Business Spectator, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, covering business and economic news. Prior to becoming a journalist, Peter was at the Australian Treasury where he worked in the Foreign Investment Review Board Secretariat, focusing largely on state-owned enterprises and sovereign wealth fund investment policy. Peter has a master’s degree from Oxford University and holds undergraduate degrees from The University of Adelaide.