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ANKASAM Asia-Pacific Expert Dr. Cenk TAMER: “Belt and Road Initiative projects have played an important role in China’s rise and are vital in achieving China’s political, military and economic goals. These projects act as the driving force of China.”

The strategy of opening up, initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, led China to adopt a global economic policy, and as a result, the country’s economy grew rapidly. Since China is currently the world’s second largest economy and is in global competition with the United States, it is encouraged to pursue proactive economic policies. The Belt and Road Initiative plays an extremely important role in China’s economic policies.

For this reason, Belt and Road Association received opinions from ANKASAM’s Asia-Pacific Expert Dr. Cenk TAMER to evaluate the effects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative on the global geoeconomy and shares these views with you.

1-What do you think about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the Belt and Road Initiative, from a perspective focusing on the Middle Corridor?

It is stated that China’s recent moves were made to end the Ukraine War and to revive the Russia-Europe corridor. In this way, the load on the Middle Corridor will be reduced. Indeed, more than 60 percent of goods headed west via Russia due to war disruptions were diverted to the Middle Corridor.

Therefore, it has been stated that China approaches the war in Ukraine not only from a political point of view, but rather by considering its economic interests. For this reason, China is putting pressure on Moscow to end the conflict in Ukraine in order to alleviate or eliminate the economic cost of the war. Because Beijing is aware that solving the risks and costs in the Middle Corridor is not easy and compromising. The most effective way to reduce these risks is to revitalize the Russia-Europe corridor. This can only be possible by establishing peace in Ukraine.

2-How do you view the future of the Belt and Road Initiative in Xi Jinping’s third term?

The Western world is concerned about the rise of China’s military power in Xi Jinping’s third term and the operations against Taiwan. Economic growth is the driving force of China’s military capability, and Beijing is devoting more resources to military modernization as it grows economically. Deciding to increase the budget by more than 7 percent this year, China increased the total budget to 230 billion dollars.

3- How do you assess how the Belt and Road Initiative has affected the geopolitical situation of the Southeast Asian region?

At least two of China’s six corridors under the Belt and Road Initiative run into South and Southeast Asia, one to India and the other to Singapore. However, due to some difficulties in the Myanmar, Bangladesh and India corridors, the Sino-Indian Peninsula Economic Corridor has gained greater importance than the corridors running towards Singapore.

The Southeast Asian region has been under pressure from the USA lately. In particular, the Philippines has increased its ties with the United States militarily. Singapore strives to maintain a neutral and balanced stance in the US-China competition. Indonesia, on the other hand, has difficulty in maintaining its neutrality in the midst of this competition. All of these countries need to cooperate with China as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

4- In terms of global competition, what kind of impact do you think the Belt and Road Initiative could have between China and the US?

Based on China’s current growth rates, it is estimated that the world economy will be the largest in 2036. International financial institutions are increasing their growth forecasts as China reopens economically. 

The main factor in China’s economic growth stands out as the Belt and Road Initiative. It is estimated that over the next decade, the majority of Asia will need $900 billion in annual infrastructure investment, increasing existing infrastructure spending, mainly through borrowing. Therefore, China is closing this gap by offering a great financial and investment resource. Therefore, China offers a great source of finance and investment to fill this gap. In other words, the Belt and Road Initiative acts as a driving force in the rise of China.

Dr. Cenk TAMER

Dr. Cenk Tamer graduated from the Department of International Relations in 2014 and started his master’s degree at Gazi University, Department of Middle East and African Studies in the same year. Tamer, who completed his master’s degree in 2016 with his thesis titled “Iran’s Iraq Policy After 1990”, started to work as a Research Assistant at ANKASAM in 2017 and was accepted to Gazi University International Relations Doctorate Program in the same year. Tamer’s areas of expertise include Iran, sects, mysticism, the Mahdi, identity politics and Asia-Pacific, and he is fluent in English. Tamer, who completed his doctorate in 2022 with his thesis titled “Identity Construction Process and Mahdiism in the Islamic Republic of Iran within the Framework of Social Constructivism Theory and Securitization Approach”, is currently working as an Asia-Pacific Specialist at ANKASAM.



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