What comes to your mind when you think about China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”? Do you see opportunities, increased investment and trade, improved connectivity, infrastructure development or an expansion of China’s influence, global and soft power? These were some questions posed by the speaker, Dr Koh Chin Yee, Vice-President for South Seas Society as he opened his talk on 15 January 2019 to a captive audience.
Announced in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is China’s most high-profile initiative grounded on dual platforms, namely the Silk Road Economic Belt*** which is land-based and the 21st Century Maritime Silk **Road* which is sea-based. It aims to revive the ancient trade routes spanning through Asia, Africa and Europe.
With a balanced perspective, Dr Koh shared comprehensive insights on the opportunities and challenges as he revisited China’s economic history and the various mega trends in economics, geopolitics and ideology which set the background as well as lead up to the Belt and Road Initiative. With China as the second largest economy in the world, this mega project is set to be the most ambitious and all-encompassing economic development programme in human history.
Dr Koh advised the participants to be China-savvy, be open minded and read extensively. With China connected to the world now more than ever before, there exists many opportunities for all.
This is one of the talks under the Eye on Asia programme series for everyone, including young Singaporeans what want to explore opportunities in the region and beyond.
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the region with an ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The response to the initiative was a mix of enthusiasm, scepticism and outright rejection.
What exactly is BRI? Why did China propose it? How will Singapore and Southeast Asia benefit and what are its implications? Why do some countries view it as a threat? How does BRI fit into the big picture of the rise of China? What role does it play in the love-hate relationship between China and US?
Join Dr Koh Chin Yee, Vice-president of South Seas Society, as he explains China’s Belt and Road Initiative, its implications and the opportunities it will bring to Singapore and Southeast Asia.
This programme is in partnership with Business China.
About the Speaker
Dr Koh Chin Yee is the Vice-president of South Seas Society, an 80-year-old academic body with a focus on Southeast Asia research. He has held appointments in China affairs in several government bodies and corporations before starting his own business in 2014. He has lectured for the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Chinese Studies Department as well as NUS Business School’s executive education programmes, and is regularly invited overseas to speak at various universities.