One Belt, One Road

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‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative is a Chinese economic and strategic agenda by which the two ends of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Oceania.

The ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative is a Chinese economic and strategic agenda by which the two ends of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Oceania, are being more closely tied along two routes–one overland and one maritime. The initiative permits new infrastructure and economic aid to be provided to economies.

The OBOR initiative is an incredible economic opportunity for the country and, with Chinese endorsement, an Australia-China OBOR Initiative has been established to promote Chinese engagement in the Australian economy. China is also utilising the concept to promote its growing economic engagement with northern Australia. Another avenue for encouraging Australia’s further engagement with OBOR is China’s funding and support of various related local academic conferences and seminars.

The initiative envisages the building of six major economic cooperation corridors and several key maritime pivot points across Eurasia:

On land, the plan is to build a new Eurasian land bridge and develop the economic corridors of: China-Mongolia-Russia; China-Central Asia-West Asia; the China-Indochina peninsula; China-Pakistan; and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar... On the seas, the initiative will focus on jointly building smooth, secure and efficient transport routes connecting major sea ports along the belt and road.

Formally, OBOR emphasises five key areas of cooperation:

  • coordinating development policies
  • forging infrastructure and facilities networks
  • strengthening investment and trade relations
  • enhancing financial cooperation and
  • deepening social and cultural exchanges.

But it is infrastructure such as railways, roads, ports, energy systems and telecommunications networks which is receiving most attention.

The overland ‘Belt’ involves the creation of an economic and trade corridor extending from China’s west through Central Asia, and finally to Europe. The first step is to further link Central Asian states to the Chinese economy, while the longer-distance initiatives include railway connections between China and Europe. The ‘Belt’ initiative calls for the integration of the Eurasian land mass into a cohesive economic area.