Sceptics query China's economic and political ability to realize its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Less attention has been paid to BRI's implications for one of the defining features of China's foreign policy: Low engagement in areas beyond its traditional sphere of influence. The Middle East is such a case. Addressing this issue, the article explores the mutual impact of China's low political involvement in the Middle East and BRI's realization. Distinguishing cross-border connectivity projects from other BRI-associated activities, the article examines the challenges to executing BRI-related projects in Israel. It finds that realizing connectivity projects-the essence of the BRI vision-will require China to increase its regional engagement, a shift that it has so far avoided.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 SOAS University of London.
- Economic Diplomacy
- Middle East
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations