Edited by Gordon Wilmsmeier and Jason Monios
Chapter 8: Belts and Roads: The geopolitics and transport geography of the China–European seaborne trade
This chapter describes the changing geography of transport between East Asia and Europe, with a special focus on China in light of the recent “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI). Furthermore, it assesses how geopolitical considerations also play an increasing role in the design of the new transport infrastructure within the Eurasian continent and its potential effect on the maritime transport lanes between Asia and Europe. This is done through a study of factors behind the transport flows, including the development of two-way seaborne trade between Europe and East Asia, the integration of global and regional value chains, and investment in new land- and sea-based infrastructure, as well as time, cost and capacity factors that reshape transport geography. The BRI provides different geopolitical options to secure China’s growing ambitions in world politics and commerce, and to balance the sensitive relations with competing power centres in the region.
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