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China's 'one belt' - a soft approach to international affairs?

Comments on Michael Clarke "China takes its Eurasian moment", 18/07/2015

From the discussion of the current Eurasian state by the author, it is clear that China's approach will be much more beneficial to those countries involved, with its insisting on the centrality of ‘sovereign equality’ and ‘non-interference’ in ‘domestic affairs’ as the basis for interstate relations on the one hand, and real economic integration backed by its financial support on the other. As a result, they are much more likely to warm up with Beijing's initiative in comparison to others' much more conditional approaches.

There is one point, that is, that the 'one belt' initiative is not necessarily in serious competition with Russia's Eurasian Union idea. It is not too dissimilar to the current states of either bilateral or regional free trade agreements where a country may be the member of two or more free trade agreements.

Furthermore, it is unclear whether Beijing's key focus is on geopolitical or geoeconomical aspects. It seems that it is more on geoeconomical, given its stated the centrality of ‘sovereign equality’ and ‘non-interference’ in ‘domestic affairs’ as the basis for interstate relations, as opposed to the other majors' aims.

Maybe this reflect Beijing's approach to soft power, as opposed to hard power. Is it a new strategic approach by Beijing? Quite possibly.

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