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China’s Asian Dream: Quiet Empire Building Along the New Silk Road

Written as an outcome of two years of wandering around China’s border regions and far-away parts of Asia, China’s Asian Dream is an interesting book covering a very contemporary issue. Although it seems much more related to Asia and the Euro-Asian world, China’s rising economic power is indeed worrying many nations. The big ones are worried that they are going to lose their current economic and consequently political and military power, while the small countries need to think about the trade-off they face between the economic and commercial benefits that are presented by China in gold plates which cannot be resisted, and their autonomy, which China is possibly going to take over quiescently.

This book consists of six chapters. It starts with a frightening thought experiment that describes the world in 2050, a world in which China–once the greatest civilization in the world–is the new global superpower. The author gives information about China’s history which helps to situate China’s current position in the world and its ambitions to regain what it has lost. The author discusses the instruments with which China tries to attract its neighbours and the countries in the region to take part in its goal of reviving and modernizing the ancient silk road. According to Miller, the main problem is indeed not the silk road itself but the hegemony that the People’s Republic of China aims to achieve in the region and in the world. 

 

Chapter one discusses the financing of the new silk road project. The very rapid founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the establishment of the Silk Road Fund are presented as evidence of China’s deepening strategic ambitions in Asia. China provides cheap loans to build closer relationships with the countries in the region and in exchange, it expects them to respect its ‘core interests,’ a move Beijing calls ‘win-win diplomacy.’ Born as a consequence of the ‘Chinese Dream’ which prioritizes China’s economic leadership in Asia, the New Silk road aims to connect the South China Sea through Central Asia to Europe. Although it was first named the ‘New Silk Road,’ China’s President Xi proposed building a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ at a speech in Kazakhstan in 2013, and a month later, he mentioned creating a ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road,’ a web of sea lanes connecting China to the rest of the world. Now it is officially called the ‘One Belt, One Road Initiative.’ Although

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