In improving integration of economies and their nearby states

In the fall of
2013, President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping announced a long-term
strategic framework of building a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and a ’21st
Century Maritime Silk Road’. These frameworks are referred to as the ‘One Belt,
One Road’ (OBOR) initiative and aim to promote peaceful cooperation and
development around the world (Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road
Initiative, 2017). Xi Jinping announced that the OBOR initiative could
potentially benefit 4.4 Billion people, or roughly 63 percent of the world
population (Johnson, 2016).

Since 2016, more
than 100 countries announced their support and willingness to participate in
the OBOR projects (Financial Times, 2017). Besides this, multiple international
organizations such as the UN and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) have
incorporated and reflected on the OBOR initiative in their resolutions and
documents (Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative, 2017).

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initiatives are seen as a modern representation of the ancient Silk Road. This
ancient Silk Road has connected the East and West since more than 2000 years
ago and enabled goods and knowledge to be exchanged along it (Jinchen, 2016).
In modern time the Silk Road is particularly well known due to the stories of
the explorer and merchant Marco Polo, who travelled along this road around the
end of the 13th century.

State documents
released by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) show that the OBOR initiative
is aimed at improving the trade and connectivity within Asia as well as between
Asia and the continent of Africa and Europe. Furthermore, the OBOR initiative
is claimed to focus on (regional) sustainable development, improving
integration of economies and their nearby states and creating stability and
peace in regions around it (Verlare & van der Putten, 2015) (Office of the
Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative, 2017).

China intends to
do this by constructing and redeveloping ports, roads and pipelines within
China itself, Asia and Africa (Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and
Road Initiative, 2017). To accomplish this, China originally established a 40-Billion-dollar
fund to finance the OBOR related projects. An extra 20 Billion dollars came
available in 2015 and it is expected that some 100 Billion dollars will be made
available in the coming years (Johnson, 2016).

Dai Bingguo said the OBOR projects will adhere to the paths of peaceful
development and can only become successful if there is “mutual trust, equality,
mutual learning and a win-win cooperation between the different states”
(Johnson, 2016).

to Johnson (2016), tThese
norms and guidelines can be traced back to China’s long cultural history. There
are two points where China’s foreign policy approach and the OBOR initiative
come together. The first one is that Chinas further development can only be
achieved by peaceful means and by win-win situations. This means that if Chinas
neighboring countries will not further develop, Chinas development could also
stall. The second one has to do with milestones that need to be achieved in
2021, when the CCP celebrates its 100th year since the founding, and
2049, when the PRC celebrates its 100th birthday (Johnson, 2016). The
milestones to be achieved by 2049 state that China must be a “socialist, strong,
prosperous democratic and culturally advanced harmonious country”.

Within the various
OBOR projects, China states it will support cultural exchanges and
cooperation’s on all levels and encourages people from different cultures to
learn from each other, blend with each other, understand each other and
appreciate qualities in other cultures (Office of the Leading Group for the
Belt and Road Initiative, 2017). This is thus a step in the right direction in
achieving the 2049 milestone.

Literature and
news articles show evidence that within OBOR projects, being carried out
outside of China, human rights are being neglected, locals face racism and that
there is a favor for Chinese instead of local labor, resulting in more gains
for the Chinese instead of a win-win situationsource. This is
contradicting to the initial goals as mentioned in the OBOR documents. However,
it must be noted that these documents do not provide guidelines on how the
mutual learning, win-win situations, responsible development, etc. should be
accomplished. This raises the question whether they are mere empty promises in
order to create more trade and economic welfare for the Chinese economy itself.

A port
infrastructure project should be responsible to all the stakeholders concerned.
There are many value conflicts between all kinds of stakeholders due to the limitations of
resources like land, air, water and education. These conflicts, which could be sharp and serious
in fast-developing countries like China, could easily run out of control, like
the Shatian case shows. In order to prevent and manage such value conflicts, in this paper, we have
proposed and developed a framework.