Johan van de Ven quoted in Geographical

RWR Senior Analyst Johan van de Ven was quoted in the August edition of Geographical, the official magazine of the UK’s Royal Geographic Society. In an interview regarding the geopolitical implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, Mr. van de Ven told the author, Geordie Torr, that “From Xi’s viewpoint, [the Belt and Road Initiative] is a way of developing a foreign policy centrepiece without completely re-gearing how Chinese state enterprises engage with the world.” He added, “But by talking about it, he has helped analysts and governments around the world see the common links between these different projects. The amount of airtime given to BRI has created more caution and unease about China’s activities rather than improving China’s image.”

China already faces a problem domestically with non-performing loans, so the threat to the Chinese banking system is somewhat severe,” said van de Ven. “While there’s an assumption that the central government will bail out the banks, at some point push will come to shove, so there’s a danger of exacerbating existing risks through these dangerous loans.”

Mr. van de Ven also noted that “The spread of Chinese companies around the world creates a rationale and even a need for China to broaden its global military capacity to safeguard those investments and, ultimately, Chinese nationals. This isn’t all because China wants to internationalise its military or expand its global influence but having a pretext to do so does ultimately help Chinese interests.”