This is a transcript of a July 2023 speech delivered by Shi Yinhong, an international relations scholar at Renmin University, and an interview conducted by Xue Li, a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Shi argues that due to rising suspicion of China in developing countries and economic resource constraints at home, Beijing must become much more targeted and responsive to the needs of developing countries in initiating and facilitating projects along the BRI. Shi also encourages Beijing and Chinese experts to be careful when making public assessments of the geo-strategic significance of the BRI so as not to raise concerns in potential partner countries.
Niu Haibin, a foreign policy scholar at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, explains the rising international influence of the Global South and assesses implications for China. Niu recommends Beijing amp up efforts to frame itself as a member of the Global South and publicly push for expansion of BRICS and other initiatives, which can enhance China’s ties with individual members of the Global South and build perceptions of China as a leader of among them.
Scholars at Guizhou University and Renmin University see the availability, quality, and productivity of arable land in China under pressure, and outline steps Beijing should take to increase agricultural production and reduce food waste. Among other approaches, they recommend Beijing encourage greater investment in food storage and transportation R&D, shape consumption patterns, and improve the application of innovative technologies to the sector.
Experts from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences argue China’s domestic supply of agricultural commodities is insufficient and import sources are too geographically concentrated. In great detail, the authors advance recommendations to make China’s food supply more resilient, secure, and green. Among other suggestions, they advocate improving the application of advanced technology to the farming sector, reconciling geographical gaps between concentration of inputs (such as water) and farmland, diversifying sourcing toward countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and improving waste utilization.
Scholars from Renmin University argue that China is particularly vulnerable to supply shocks and rising prices for agricultural commodities triggered by the Ukraine war. A volatile and challenging geopolitical outlook, the authors suggest, represents a long-term risk for China’s food security. The authors call on Beijing to diversify sourcing of China’s food supply (including away from the United States) by encouraging greater Chinese investment in the Russian agricultural sector and pursuing trade agreements with a wider range of partners.
Researchers at Yunnan University and East China University of Political Science argue China’s aid and investment to Africa are inaccurately portrayed by Western countries as “debt trap diplomacy,” exacerbating sovereign debt risks in African countries and driven primarily by strategic rather than commercial objectives. To rebut and limit the reach of such arguments, the authors suggest Beijing seek ways to diversify Chinese investment and aid across sectors and projects, help Chinese enterprises assess investment risk and follow laws and social norms of host countries, better target aid to national development conditions, and strengthen media engagement in Africa and the West.
A scholar from the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies argues that China’s economic engagement in Africa has become more complicated given a mix of external and internal factors – including souring relations between China and Western powers, and the shifting demands and expectations of African countries. As a prognosis, the author suggests that Beijing should enhance the complementarity and tangible impact of its global initiatives, devote greater attention to green development and other emerging development needs in Africa, and develop consultation mechanisms with African countries to address “pain points” as they arise.
This 2020 article by Li Hui, China’s Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs and the former ambassador to Russia, argues for closer Sino-Russian relations under the banner of a “comprehensive strategic partnership.” Li suggests that in the years ahead, the two countries will continue to deepen economic integration, coordinate diplomatic outreach to developing countries, and jointly promote governance reform in multilateral institutions.
On the 10th anniversary of the erstwhile 17+1 (now 14+1) cooperation mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, scholars at Fudan University and invited experts on Europe examine the state of the mechanism and prospects for the future. The scholars argue that the cooperation mechanism has served China’s strategic interests; for example, one scholar argues it has usefully promoted the “friendly attitude of Hungary and other countries towards China.” However, many of the experts assert that CEE countries have experienced a “gap between their expectations and reality” for the mechanism, and as a result, China should consider boosting investment and trade with these countries in order to improve the value proposition for them going forward.
Two executives and Party committee leaders at State Grid Corporation of China, the country’s largest state-owned electricity utility company, discuss the interplay between business considerations and national policy goals in international investment decisions.