It is really still too early to tell where China’s Belt and Road Initiative may lead, and part of the problem is that its scope keeps expanding — just yesterday, China Daily reported that the initiative may include a “North Polar sea route.” But now more than ever, it is clear that China is prepared to put the full weight of the state behind key projects in the initiative, and it is becoming increasingly clear that China is going to compete with Russian influence across Central Asia and Europe.
- Writing in the New York Times, Robert D. Kaplan, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, says (paywall) that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is part of a Chinese goal “to dominate Eurasia, which means relegating Russia to a second-tier power.” Kaplan details a number of energy-related deals throughout Central Asia that have been sealed over the last decade as evidence of this trend.
- On a Sinica Podcast earlier this year, Prague-based China scholar Martin Hála explained how China has been pushing into Central and Eastern Europe via a “16+1” initiative, and how Russia has largely turned a blind eye to increasing Chinese influence near its borders.
- The Financial Times has published two articles on Chinese influence in Eastern Europe. One is by Vladimir Krulj, a special economic adviser to the Serbian government, who notes (paywall) the increasing number of Chinese-funded projects in the country and urges the EU to “present credible alternatives” to fix its “neglect of Serbia.” The other is by Dalibor Rohac, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, who notes small but increasing Chinese investment and influence in the Czech Republic, and warns (paywall) of “the wedge that the Chinese government is driving between the key stakeholders in the Western-led liberal international order.”
- Apart from Belt and Road-related projects, China has been making significant inroads in other European countries that are disillusioned with the EU, especially Greece, which Xi Jinping has called China’s “most reliable friend in the EU” and which in June this year vetoed an EU statement on human rights in China.
Prominent international writers ask China to release widow of Nobel winner / Washington Post (paywall)
South China Sea
China says has agreement with Vietnam on managing South China Sea dispute / Reuters
Launch of Beijing’s new dredger may spark concerns of renewed island building in South China Sea / SCMP
Competition with China in science
The Next Space Race Is Artificial Intelligence / Foreign Policy (paywall)
The Future of Particle Physics Will Live and Die in China / Foreign Policy (paywall)
China disputes Trump’s claim of ‘flood’ of fentanyl into US / AP
Trump warns China ‘warrior nation’ Japan could take action on North Korea / AFP
Communist Party leadership
Xi Jinping’s college classmate is latest close ally given top role as he takes over Communist Party school / SCMP
Ex-graft czar Wang may become China’s next vice president / Nikkei Asian Review (paywall)
Energy and environment
As China faces winter gas crunch, LNG prices soar / Reuters
China must make polluters pay for waste treatment: legislator / Reuters
Smoggy Shanxi Tells Cities to Take Emergency Anti-Pollution Measures / Caixin
Shenzhen Opens Clinics to Nonmedical Investors / Caixin