China’s Asian power play: Tom Miller on the future of Belt and Road


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An experienced Asia analyst combines policy research with on-the-ground reporting to shed light on China’s complicated foreign policy initiative, Belt and Road.

Tom Miller, senior Asia analyst and managing editor at Gavekal Research, joins Jeremy and Kaiser to discuss his new book, China’s Asian Dream: Empire Building Along the New Silk Road. Miller combines policy analysis with his on-the-ground reporting from over a dozen countries to better understand China’s most ambitious foreign policy move since the “reform and opening up” that started in 1978: Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.

With its substantial financial backing and global reach, the Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to reshape the international order and accelerate China’s development as a world leader. Miller brings clarity to the vast and seemingly undefinable policy, detailing China’s desire to create “a network of interdependence,” hone in on issues of national security, and use international development to bolster the country’s growth.


Jeremy: Ear to Asia, a podcast by the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne, features academics who examine an array of topics about Asia. In one episode, Chinese literature specialist Anne McLaren discusses her research into the folk ecology of the Lower Yangtze Delta, particularly the rhythmic song cycles sung by workers there.

Tom: Guo Xiaolu’s 郭小橹 memoir, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China, depicts the author’s difficult beginnings growing up in a poor fishing village on the East China Sea, her later navigation of modern China at the Beijing Film Academy as a young woman, and her outsider’s perspective on London, where she now resides. Her other novel, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, is also worth a read.

Kaiser: Väsen is a Swedish folk trio that plays a viola, a 12-string guitar, and and a nyckelharpa (a “keyed fiddle”). It brings together rock, jazz, and classical influences to discover a modern sound rooted in Swedish tradition.