China's Economic Statecraft: The Role of the Belt and Road Initiative
Purpose: The research aims to examine China's economic activities around the world from the broad perspective of the country's economic security. The authors begin with explaining the concept of economic statecraft and then deal with the analysis of the Chinese overseas economic expansion. Design/Methodology/Approach: The main tools used to achieve the objectives mentioned above include a literature analysis, logical reasoning and statistical research. Findings: The last decades have revealed a new pattern in global economic cooperation. The Belt and Road Initiative turned out to be a successful instrument supporting China's economic growth and deepening international economic cooperation and interdependence. The BRI project allows China not only to secure access to supplies and markets but also strengthen its soft power and gives the possibility to build a powerful network of interconnected countries, independent from the Western powers, willingly cooperating with China in every field. Practical Implications: The research results are helpful to realise the extend and importance of the Belt and Road Initiative in China's economic statecraft and indicate potential fields for future international cooperation under the BRI. As close economic cooperation under the BRI can have significant consequences for China and all countries covered by this project, all partners have to be aware of the complexity of their involvement in this initiative and the pros and cons of such interdependence. Originality/Value: The Belt and Road Initiative is a novel form of broad international cooperation. Thus it deserves special attention and research. The research concerns an economic dimension of the Belt and Road Initiative and provides a comprehensive analysis of China's worldwide economic expansion.