“Myanmar’s Role in China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative”

J. Mohan Malik
Publication Date: 
May 1st, 2018

This article argues that the origins and theoretical underpinnings of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative can actually be traced back to the mid-1980s, that is, almost three decades before the official media unveiled the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI). It examines the changing role of Myanmar in China’s grand strategy in general and in MSRI in particular by undertaking an investigation of trade and investment relations. This analysis of the geo-economic and geo-strategic implications of MSRI is undertaken in order to offer a prognosis of benefits and costs for Myanmar. Both the extent and the limits of MSRI are illustrated in Myanmar. It ends with a discussion of possible roadblocks, detours, cracks and fault lines along the Maritime Silk Road.

*****This article flowed from a Wong MNC Center organized and co-sponsored conference in November 2016 on the Political Economy of China’s Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) and Southeast Asia hosted and co-sponsored by East China Normal University (Shanghai, China) and a Wong MNC Center organized and co-sponsored workshop in May 2017 hosted and co-sponsored by the Stanford University Asia-Pacific Research Center Southeast Asia Program (Stanford, California, USA). It is published in Journal of Contemporary China, Vol. 27, No. 111 (2018) and viewable at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10670564.2018.1410969. Copyright remains with the original holders.