The belt and road initiative in Southwest China: responses from Yunnan province
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Officially Accepted for Publication


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AbstractThe Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been the subject of extensive analysis since late 2013. Most of this views it as a manifestation of China’s approach to global issues under Xi Jinping, whether economic, geopolitical, or as a bid to reshape globalization. There has so far been less research into the domestic dynamics of the BRI, including at the sub-national level in China. Based primarily on an examination of provincial-level policy documents and research, this paper explores the ways in which policy makers in the southwestern province of Yunnan have responded to the BRI, and what this might mean for the implementation and shaping of the initiative. It identifies the promotion of externally-oriented development as the main response in Yunnan to the BRI, structured around the idea of making the province a ‘pivot’ to south and southeast Asia. This provincial-level response is shaped by pre-existing policy goals in Yunnan and reflects more continuity than change in policy substance. This is consistent with interpretations of the BRI as an ‘omnibus’ policy which can incorporate multiple objectives and act as a framework within which provincial actors can compete for influence or which they can use to make progress towards achieving local objectives in the context of national strategy. The paper concludes that in the case of Yunnan and the BRI, broad alignment between provincial and central government objectives suggests that on this issue, Yunnan is more of an ‘influencer’ and ‘interpreter’ than ‘ignorer’ of national policy goals.
Acceptance Date06/08/2019
All Author(s) ListTim Summers
Journal namePacific Review
Year2019
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN0951-2748
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2020-22-10 at 23:58