Small state, smart influence: China’s Belt and Road extended to New Zealand

Published on November 28, 2019   26 min

Other Talks in the Category: Global Business Management

0:00
Thank you for joining us for this lecture. My name is Jake Lin, Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Today, I'm going to talk about Small States, Smart Influence, China's Belt and Road extended to New Zealand.
0:20
This talk is divided into a few sections. First, I will introduce the Belt and Road initiative and the research questions. Then, I will discuss how the great powers and small states respond differently to the BRI. After that, I will talk about how New Zealand can influence China's BRI, but with limits and intrinsic vulnerability of being a small state. The last section is the conclusion and policy recommendation.
0:49
First of all, what is the Belt and Road? It was first introduced in late 2013 in a couple of international occasions by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Silk Road Economic Belt is designed to connect China westbound with Mongolia, Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and ultimately, Germany and the Netherlands. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road aims to link China and Southeast Asia, as well as India, the Persian Gulf, and the Mediterranean, also ending up in West Europe. Together, the BRI has the ambition to integrate the world's largest, yet most diverse landmass and maritime territory by building improved social, cultural, and people connectivities, and ultimately, to form a community of shared destiny. The Belt and Road initiative has become the hallmark of Xi Jinping's foreign policy. Xi has since dedicated enormous amounts of political and media resources to promote the BRI integral to his own ideas, such as the China Dream and the Great Rejuvenation. However, the responses to the BRI are different among the great powers and small states. Most great powers reject the BRI and those small states in Asia passively bandwagon onto China's so-called, "Projects of the Century." In comparison, New Zealand takes a distinctive position by actively participating and shaping some important aspects of China's BRI. New Zealand became the first developed country to officially endorse the BRI in 2017. The puzzle is, what makes New Zealand's position unique? How does New Zealand, as a small liberal state, exerts power and influence in world politics? In this talk, I will take a look at the extent to which New Zealand, as a small liberal state, is able to exert smart influence on a great power, such as China. First, I will present a brief literature review about a concept of small states and power in international relations. I will then explain New Zealand's role in shaping China's free trade and BRI policies by using smart influence. In the last section, I will discuss the limits of New Zealand's deepening engagement with China's free trade and BRI policy and its vulnerability as a small state. In the concluding section, I argue that New Zealand, as an exemplar of small liberal states, has the ability to shape and influence a great power's enormous foreign policy initiative, such as the BRI. Nonetheless, New Zealand should be cautious about its increasingly vulnerable position under the BRI and the limits of free trade focused bilateral relations with China.
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Small state, smart influence: China’s Belt and Road extended to New Zealand

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