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Table of Content

    20 September 2018, Volume 28 Issue 9 Previous Issue    Next Issue
    Orginal Article
    A discursive construction of the Belt and Road Initiative: From neo-liberal to inclusive globalization
    Weidong LIU, DUNFORD Michael, Boyang GAO
    2018, 28 (9):  1199-1214.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1520-y
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    An international consensus is emerging around the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by the Chinese government, with a growing number of countries seeing it as a way of jointly exploring new international economic governance mechanisms. Meanwhile, with the crisis of neo-liberalism, economic globalization has arrived at a crossroad. In particular, incessant voices speak out against globalization, making the quest for a new way of promoting global development a major challenge. In this context, more and more political elites and scholars consider that the BRI opens up a possible new globalization path, amongst which inclusive globalization warrants exploration. On the basis of a brief analysis of the course and mechanism of global economic expansion and the limitations of neo-liberal globalization, along with the putting into practice of the BRI, this paper outlines some of the core features of inclusive globalization, i.e., inclusive growth with effective and efficient government regulation; inclusive infrastructure development; inclusive development paths chosen nationally that suit national conditions; inclusive participation; and cultural inclusiveness. Although these features are not sufficient to characterize fully inclusive globalization, they do identify some directions for future research, and provide elements of a discursive construction of the BRI.

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    The identification of global strategic shipping pivots and their spatial patterns
    Chengjin WANG, Peiran CHEN, Yunhao CHEN
    2018, 28 (9):  1215-1232.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1521-x
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    In concert with developments in global trade and energy resource transportation, there has been a marked increase in reliance on overseas shipping. Unimpeded marine transportation has therefore become a key issue which influences national maritime interests including the security of trade and energy resources. A strategic shipping pivot thus performs a vital controlling function for global shipping networks. In this study strategic shipping pivots are defined and subdivided into sea hubs, channels and areas. We then develop a model to identify strategic shipping pivots on a global scale. The results show that, depending on differences in location, function, and type, the concept of strategic shipping pivot permits the identification of both spatial and structural differentiation with respect to strategic hubs, corridors, and seas. Now 44 strategic hubs have formed across the globe. These hubs have become the control centers of local shipping network organization. At the same time, seven strategic corridors containing most shipping routes and transportation capacity connect important sea areas, and permit a high-degree of control over the transport of strategic materials. The strategic seas, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific provide vital import and export pathways, so that the formation of strategic shipping pivots is mainly influenced by factors such as physical geographical conditions, the spatial distribution of socio-economic activities, business organization, technical progress, geopolitical patterns and geopolitical disputes. Physical geographical conditions provide the potential foundations for strategic shipping pivots, while the spatial distribution of socio-economic activities and communications determine the strategic value of these points. Finally, business organization, technical progress, and geopolitical disputes all function to strengthen the strategic mechanisms and the mutagenicity of strategic shipping pivots.

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    The structure and evolution of trade relations between countries along the Belt and Road
    Zhigao LIU, Tao WANG, Won SONN Jung, Won SONN Jung
    2018, 28 (9):  1233-1248.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1522-9
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    Trade facilitation is one of the five main agendas of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Social network analysis has helped understand the complexity of trade networks, but existing studies tend to overlook the fact that not all bilateral trade relations are equally important to a country. To fill this gap in the literature, this paper focuses on the top 2 trade relations networks to illuminate the structure and evolution of B&R trade relations, the relative positions of different countries, and changes in the composition of trade communities (e.g., the community leaders) and the changing patterns of trade between them. We find rich dynamics over time both inter- and intra-communities. The overall international trade networks of B&R countries experienced a leadership change from Russia to China on one hand, some temporary communities experienced emergence, disappearance (e.g. the Kuwait- and Thailand-led communities) or reemergence (e.g. Poland-led community), and a community membership was generally consistent on the other hand. Since the future impacts of China’s BRI will depend on the degree of integration of the connected regions, some countries with stable and high centrality indices (e.g. Russia, Singapore, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Poland, Hungary and Romania) could be selected by China as strategic regional partners, and countries with a strategically important geographical position but weak trade links (e.g. Myanmar, Pakistan, and Belarus) should be prioritized.

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    The trade network of the Belt and Road Initiative and its topological relationship to the global trade network
    Zhouying SONG, Shuyun CHE, Yu* YANG
    2018, 28 (9):  1249-1262.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1523-8
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    Unimpeded trade is one of the cooperation priorities in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. On 15 May 2017, the Joint Communique of the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation reaffirmed the participants’ shared commitment to build an open economy and ensure free and inclusive trade. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not only China's new action to drive its open and global development, but also a platform for an increasing number of countries to explore free and inclusive trade and promote a universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory, and equitable multilateral trade system. It is therefore important to examine the topological relationship between the BRI and global trade networks. More specifically, this article first analyzes the community structure of trade networks using a community detection algorithm, and then estimates the topological relationship between different trade communities. The findings of this article are as follows. First, this research identified three trade communities and two sub-communities in the BRI trade network, in which China is the core, Russia is the sub-core of the biggest trade community, and India, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are cores of the second trade community (South Asia-West Asia). Second, it identified five trade communities in the global trade network, centred on China, USA, Russia, India-United Arab Emirates, and Germany-Netherlands-France-Britain and other European developed countries. Third, the topological analysis indicated that in the global trade network, most BRI countries are attracted by the core nodes of the BRI regions, such as the China, Russia and India-United Arab Emirates core nodes, and have strong trade contacts with BRI countries. Most Central-East European countries are mainly attracted by Germany-Netherlands-France-Britain and other developed European countries with a low penetration of BRI trade. Although some Southeast Asian countries are incorporated into the Asia-Australia-South Africa community with China as the core, they still need to strengthen trade linkages with BRI countries.

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    Tracking embodied carbon flows in the Belt and Road regions
    Mengyao HAN, Qiuhui YAO, Weidong LIU, DUNFORD Michael
    2018, 28 (9):  1263-1274.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1524-7
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    In the past few decades, economic globalization has driven rapid growth of cross-border trade and a new international division of labor, leading to increasing inter-country embodied carbon flows. Multi-region input-output (MRIO) analysis is used to identify embodied carbon flows between major world regions, including seven regions along the Belt and Road (BR), and the spatial distribution of production- and consumption-based carbon intensities. The results show that current embodied carbon flows are virtually all from BR regions to developed countries, with more than 95% of world net embodied carbon exports coming from BR regions. Consumption in the United States and European Union countries induce about 30% of the carbon emissions in most BR regions, indicating that the former bear a high proportion of consumers’ responsibility for the carbon emitted in the latter. For this reason, measuring environmental responsibilities from consumption rather than a production-based perspective is more equitable, while developing countries should be given a louder voice in the construction through dialogue and cooperation, in part in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, of an inclusive global climate governance system.

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    An organizational model and border port hinterlands for the China-Europe Railway Express
    Jiaoe WANG, Jingjuan JIAO, Li MA
    2018, 28 (9):  1275-1287.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1525-6
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    Facilities connectivity is a priority area for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The “China-Europe Railway Express” (CER Express) mode of transport organization links China with Europe by fast-track cargo rail. A major instance of facilities connectivity related to this project is an important practical and symbolic instance of BRI transport cooperation. The strategic significance of the CER Express and a number of operational issues are outlined, as are the implications of limited market potential for costs and competitiveness. A “hub-and- spoke” organizational model that can generate scale economies and reduce costs is proposed. To examine the establishment of an organizational model of this kind, the economic hinterlands of Alashankou, Erenhot, and Manzhouli are identified under high-, medium- and low-cost scenarios using an analytical methodology that determines distance and economic costs, and a number of transport hubs (that include Harbin, Zhengzhou, and Lanzhou) are identified. The results found that the cost of the routes from 314 Chinese cities to Moscow is the lowest via Manzhouli in the high- and medium-cost scenarios, but the routes change via Erenhot in the low-cost scenario. A number of policy recommendations should follow up.

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    Chinese overseas industrial parks in Southeast Asia: An examination of policy mobility from the perspective of embeddedness
    Tao SONG, Weidong LIU, Zhigao LIU, Yeerken WUZHATI
    2018, 28 (9):  1288-1306.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1526-5
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    The development of overseas industrial parks is a key component of the Belt and Road Initiative and an expected experimental way of promoting inclusive globalization by inventing new forms of cooperation between China and local host countries. Policy mobility, a classic theory within international political geography addressing the connection between local and global policies, has implications for overseas industrial parks development. In this paper, we argue that policies are not easily moved directly from one place to another; instead, policies are embedded due to the role of local actors in policy mobility. This article first provides an overview of seven China-Southeast Asia economic and trade cooperation zones identified by the Ministry of Commerce, and analyzes their key participants. It then discusses policy mobility by looking into the roles of revenue, land, and talent in developing these industrial parks. The paper finds that these parks face challenges, such as the complicated geographical environments of host countries, huge pressure from enterprise investment capital, the lack of overseas service platforms, and underdeveloped agglomeration economies. In the light of the current situation, policy suggestions for the future sustainable development of overseas industrial parks are put forward.

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    Detecting and mapping annual newly-burned plots (NBP) of swiddening using historical Landsat data in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia (MMSEA) during 1988-2016
    Peng LI, Zhiming FENG, Chiwei XIAO, Khampheng BOUDMYXAY, Yu LIU
    2018, 28 (9):  1307-1328.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1527-4
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    Swidden agriculture is by far the dominant land use system in the uplands of Southeast Asia (SEA), as well as other tropical regions, which plays an important role in the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) of United Nations. To our knowledge, the long-term inter-annual area of newly burned plots (NBP) of swidden agriculture in mainland Southeast Asia is still not available, let alone in the whole tropics. With the strengthening regional geo-economic cooperation in SEA, swidden agriculture has experienced and/or is still experiencing extensive and drastic transformations into other diverse market-oriented land use types since the 1990s. In this study, high-level surface reflectance products of Landsat 4/5/7/8 family sensors including Thematic Mapper (TM), Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) acquired in March, April and May of each year between 1988 and 2016 were firstly utilized to detect and monitor the extent and area of NBP of swidden agriculture with multiple thresholds of four commonly-used vegetation indices, namely the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI), Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), in combination with local phenological features of swiddening and topographical data. The results showed that: (1) an annual average of 6.08×104 km2 of NBP of swidden agriculture, or 3.15% of the total land area of MSEA, were estimated in the past nearly three decades. (2) Annual NBP were primarily distributed in four major geomorphic units including the Central Range of Hills, Northern Mountainous Region, Western Myanmar Hills, and Annamite Chain. (3) A decadal average analysis indicated that the NBP of swidden agriculture opened year by year declined as a whole, especially after 2010, merely with an average of 5.23×104 km2. (4) The top ten provincial administrative units in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, which consistently accounted for over 90% of the newly opened swiddens of each country, showed distinct fluctuations in using slash-and-burn practices in the last decades. The Landsat-based (30 m) reconstructed 29-year longitudinal updated maps (including extent and area) of the NBP of swidden agriculture may contribute to REDD and local livelihood related studies in Continental Southeast Asia. Our study further demonstrated that the multiple vegetative indices thresholds approach holds great potential in detecting swidden agriculture in tropical mountainous regions.

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    Assessment of efficiency and potentiality of agricultural resources in Central Asia
    Jiaoyou ZHANG, Yaning CHEN, Zhi LI
    2018, 28 (9):  1329-1340.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1528-3
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    This paper quantitatively analyzes the utilization efficiency of agricultural resources in Central Asia by calculating the consumption coefficient of the main resources, including arable land, water and fertilizers. The results of these investigations reveal the following: (1) The average consumption coefficients of cultivated land resources in Central Asia are much higher than the world average value of up to 7.74 m2/kg, which is 3.6 times that of China, suggesting that the cultivated land resource consumption coefficient of cultivated land resource utilization efficiency is low in the Central Asian region. (2) Up to 80% of available water resources are used for agriculture irrigation. The average agricultural water consumption in Central Asia is about 9.43 m3/kg, or nearly 9.3 times the average value elsewhere in Asia, indicating that agricultural water use efficiency in this region is very low and water resources are wasted. (3) The fertilizer consumption coefficient in Central Asia is 0.035 kg/kg, which is close to the world average, but the utilization efficiency of fertilizer is relatively high. Therefore, in the future development of agriculture, Central Asia should pay more attention to the management of agricultural water resources in order to improve the utilization efficiency of these resources as well as that of arable land.

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    Spatiotemporal characteristics of seasonal precipitation and their relationships with ENSO in Central Asia during 1901-2013
    Xi CHEN, Shanshan WANG, Zengyun HU, Qiming ZHOU, Qi HU
    2018, 28 (9):  1341-1368.  doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1529-2
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    The vulnerable ecosystem of the arid and semiarid region in Central Asia is sensitive to precipitation variations. Long-term changes of the seasonal precipitation can reveal the evolution rules of the precipitation climate. Therefore, in this study, the changes of the seasonal precipitation over Central Asia have been analyzed during the last century (1901-2013) based on the latest global monthly precipitation dataset Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) Full Data Reanalysis Version 7, as well as their relations with El Ni?o- Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Results show that the precipitation in Central Asia is mainly concentrated in spring and summer seasons, especially in spring. For the whole study period, increasing trends were found in spring and winter, while decreasing trends were detected in summer and fall. Inter-annual signals with 3-7 years multi-periods were derived to explain the dominant components for seasonal precipitation variability. In terms of the dominant spatial pattern, Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) results show that the spatial distribution of EOF-1 mode in summer is different from those of the other seasons during 1901-2013. Moreover, significant ENSO-associated changes in precipitation are evident during the fall, winter, spring, and absent during summer. The lagged associations between ENSO and seasonal precipitation are also obtained in Central Asia. The ENSO-based composite analyses show that these water vapor fluxes of spring, fall and winter precipitation are mainly generated in Indian and North Atlantic Oceans during El Ni?o. The enhanced westerlies strengthen the western water vapor path for Central Asia, thereby causing a rainy winter.

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