One belt, one road, many rules-based orders

Participants of the Belt and Road international forum, May 2017
Author name: 
Sussex, M
Clarke, M.

Key points:

  • The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is both a blueprint for a China-centric order in the Indo-Pacific and a means to address internal economic and political challenges.
  • China is not yet capable of leading that order, but its desire to do so is increasing.
  • Prospects for the long-term success of BRI are uncertain, but it will shift regional economic and strategic relationships.
  • Policy flexibility is vital for Australia to successfully navigate the regional changes caused by China’s gamble on BRI.

Policy recommendations:

  • Australia should aim to take an important leadership role within the Indo-Pacific in any new regional order.
  • Australia should seek to build coalitions of like-minded states around specific issues of mutual interest rather than construct new institutions or organisations.
  • Australian policy must be flexible, and prepared, if necessary, to decouple its values from its interests to take advantage of the opportunities that will present.
Publication file: 
Australian Government logo
‘The National Security College is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth Government and The Australian National University’

Updated:  16 January 2021/Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/Page Contact:  Web administrator