Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative and its impact on ASEAN Integration:
From a Perspective of Structural Realism

Ke He
Lecturer
Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus
Faculty of International Studies
Phuket 83120 Thailand

Reference to this paper should be made as follows:

He, K. (2017). Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative and its impact on ASEAN Integration:
From a Perspective of Structural Realism. Asian International Journal of Social Sciences, 17(4), 4 – 27. https://doi.org/10.29139/aijss.20170401

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Abstract

China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative was first announced by China’s president Xi Jinping in 2013 with an ultimate objective to build a community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness. Nowadays the initiative has grown into a dominant representation for China’s foreign policy practices, regional neighborhood relations, as well as some domestic issues, especially regarding China’s economic development. Meanwhile, it has attracted close attention from all over the world. As to the ASEAN integration, uneven economic development, political and cultural differences, the weak infrastructure and inadequate provision of public goods have become the biggest obstacles. However, ASEAN countries are in key positions of ‘the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road‘ and China is a very important trade partner of ASEAN. The work presented in this paper intends to provide a framework for bringing about and understanding China’s B&R initiative, particularly in the context of China’s ‘New normal’. From a perspective of structural realism, the author intends to expound that the initiative is closely related with ASEAN integration and its success could facilitate ASEAN integration by forming a new inter-regional public goods supply pattern. Qualitative analysis of literature is adopted as the major methodology along with case study, comparison and trend analysis, the theories of political economy and sociology like ‘collective action‘, ‘public goods’ are also applied in this paper.

Keywords: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Belt and Road (B&R),  China’s “New normal”,   economic development

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