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The Belt and Road Initiative. Source: Xinhua News Agency

The Belt and Road Initiative. Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Current geopolitical dynamics in East Asia is generated by the US rebalancing and China’s counterbalancing. The US rebalancing has so far ended in an encircling of China, whereas China counteracts to extend into the seas and the lands as typified by the Belt and Road Initiative and assertive activities in the South China Sea. China under Xi Jinping...

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... Some scholars have argued that BRI is more or less a direct reaction by China to US rebalancing in Asia, which is viewed as an encirclement strategy by Beijing. BRI is consequently identified as a form of soft balancing or counterbalancing by China vis-à-vis the USA [25,36,59]. The initiative serves as a reassurance of China's benign and peaceful rise by stressing the win-win nature of its engagement with other countries and by linking terms like "the community of shared destiny" with BRI. ...
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The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), formerly known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), has emerged as one of the top priorities for Chinese President Xi Jinping ever since he unveiled the initiative in 2013. This special issue surveys the reception of BRI in East Asia. As China’s immediate neighborhood, this region will play an important role in determining whether Beijing’s signature project will succeed in the mid- to long term. However, research has thus far mostly focused on BRI’s reception in Central Asia and (Eastern) Europe. In this introduction, we first provide an overview of the literature by identifying three main strands of interpretation on BRI, namely those focusing on geoeconomics, on geopolitics, and on international norms as well as order. Next, we provide a review of the contemporary research on both Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian perceptions of and policy responses to BRI. Finally, we discuss research gaps in the literature and provide an overview of case studies and findings in this special issue. We conclude by identifying recurring themes and characteristics in East Asian responses to BRI.
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