A vessel under construction at the Waigaoqiao shipyard in Shanghai, November 2013
Carlos Barria / Reuters

While the eyes of the world focus on China’s aggression in the seas to its east, China’s leaders are looking west. At the end of March, China’s National Development and Reform Commission joined its ministries of foreign affairs and commerce to release an expansive blueprint for what it calls the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road—often shortened to “One Belt, One Road.” If successful, the ambitious program would make China a principal economic and diplomatic force in Eurasian integration. One Belt, One Road calls for increased diplomatic coordination, standardized and linked trade

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