Beijing Sees Window of Opportunity in South Asia

Beijing Sees Window of Opportunity in South Asia

BEIJING -- In 2003, China formulated the "Peaceful Rise," a foreign policy framework for how it would re-emerge as an influential player in the new multilateral order. The most recent demonstration of how Beijing is putting this vision into practice is the ongoing four-nation tour to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific by China's vice president and potential future leader, Xi Jinping.

Xi has visited Bangladesh, Laos, New Zealand and Australia, with a separate visit to Myanmar promised in the near future. Taken together, the deals he has signed on the tour shed light on China's principal strategic objectives in one of its key foreign policy arenas. Beijing's emphasis on regional development further demonstrates the potential of its economy-first approach to diplomacy, which seems not only to meet key national objectives, but is also greatly strengthening its geopolitical standing and influence throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

China overtook India as Bangladesh's largest trading partner last year, and Dhaka was the first stop on Xi's itinerary. There, the Chinese delegation finalized a series of infrastructure, defense and trade deals, including components of a road, rail and port network that will give China direct access to the Bay of Bengal. Alongside the recent agreement to redevelop North Korea's Rajin port, which allows Chinese access to the Sea of Japan for the first time in more than 100 years, Beijing has substantially reduced its logistical dependence on a small number of Indian Ocean shipping lanes (.pdf) -- long seen as a vulnerability by Beijing's strategists.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review