Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2014

China's New Silk Road Diplomacy

Justyna Szczudlik- Tatar

December 2013

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


The destinations of China’s new leaders’ foreign trips show that the PRC’s foreign policy domain remains its neighbourhood. China is trying in particular to enhance cooperation with its Central and Southeast Asia border states in what is called “new silk road” diplomacy. Behind this approach are mostly domestic rationales: a need to preserve stability on its borders and in the western part of China, secure export markets and energy supplies, develop inland transport routes as an alternative to unstable sea lines, and to narrow the development gap between the eastern and western parts of China. The PRC’s “opening to the West” and reinvigoration of its Western Development Policy is a window of opportunity for Poland. The establishment in Gansu province of the Lanzhou New Area—the first state-level development zone in northwest China—could become a bridgehead for a Polish economic presence in this part of China, or even a springboard for Poland’s “Go West China” strategy.