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Will digital diplomacy cement the Belt and Road Initiative’s “common destiny”?

First published: LSE Ideas 17/09/2020

(co-authored with Hannah Bretherton)

  • Infrastructure, while at the heart of China’s expansive and ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), remains only a part of this evolving effort.
  • The Digital Silk Road, launched in 2015, allows China to accelerate domestic digitalisation, avoid difficulties associated with hard infrastructure, and develop both soft and hard power through the control of Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.
  • In its drive for a “common destiny” China faces international pushback, leaving digital diplomacy and international relations outcomes undetermined, and likely to evolve based largely on near-term developments in US foreign policy. Read on….