Zeng Lingliang; Conceptual Analysis of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A Road towards a Regional Community of Common Destiny. Chinese Journal of International Law 2016; 15 (3): 517-541. doi: 10.1093/chinesejil/jmw021
The Chinese Initiative of jointly building the Belt and Road has drawn world-wide attention since 2012, and it is reasonable to believe that the ongoing implementation of the Belt and Road strategy will sustainably attract the international society in the years to come. Although the Chinese Government only recently made public the official paper entitled Vision and Actions of the Belt and Road, discussion and comments have been speedily and increasingly abundant among politicians, economists, entrepreneurs and scholars in various disciplines both in China and abroad. In spite of the difficulty at the moment to define the Belt and Road conceptually, especially from a legal point of view, this article tries to make a conceptual analysis of it with available sources and by comparison with its related traditional concepts of regional economic integration, partnership arrangement and community of common destiny, the last of which is as new as the Belt and Road. Finally, the author concludes that the Belt and Road is a new formula of global governance which bears some elements of regional economic integration on the one hand and resembles to some extent a partnership arrangement between States on the other hand. However, the implication of the Belt and Road surpasses both regional integration and partnership. It takes both as its basis and priorities with a far-reaching view of building a regional community of common destiny. This new type of regional community aims at building a “community of shared interests”, “a community of shared destiny” and “a community of shared responsibility”. In essence, it is a part of the community of common destiny of the whole of mankind.