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About this book

This book focuses on the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure development project intended to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa. By introducing a new analytical approach to the study of economic corridors, it gauges the anticipated economic and geopolitical impacts on the region and discusses whether the CPEC will serve as a pioneer project for future regional cooperation between and integration of sub-national regions such as Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Gilgit-Baltistan. Further, it explores the interests, expectations and policy approaches of both Chinese and Pakistani local and central governments with regard to the CPEC’s implementation. Given its scope, the book will appeal to regional and spatial sciences scholars, as well as social scientists interested in the regional impacts of economic corridors. It also offers valuable information for policymakers in countries participating in the Belt-and-Road Initiative or other Chinese-supported development projects.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter gives a brief introduction of the chosen topic—the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Starting from the notion that Economic Corridors (ECs) are able to play a key role in integrating economies, it outlines the research structure, the author’s arguments and the methods used. It’s noted that South Asia still largely lacks connectivity at both national and cross-national levels—in fact South Asia is one of the least economically integrated regions in the world. In order to address this issue, it will be highlighted that ECs can basically serve as a means to overcome both national and regional connectivity gaps, enhance economic growth within participating countries, and boost regional collaboration and integration.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 2. The Conceptual Framework Regarding Economic Corridors

Abstract
This chapter originates from the premise that there is a lack of comprehensive conceptual work regarding Economic Corridors (ECs). Most existing studies were conducted by experts from both regional and spatial sciences guided by specific, compartmentalized research goals and interests. There lacks a concept of ECs offering a noteworthy explanatory value beyond strictly quantitative approaches—a concept capable of addressing the social and political impacts of a corridor project. It becomes obvious that a comprehensive approach to the very concept of EC is needed, not only so as to guide the formulation and implementation of such vast development initiatives but also so as to measure effectivity, efficiency and sustainability standards. In this context it is argued that an ‘EC initiative’ must consider a variety of dynamics, namely economic, organisational, institutional, behavioural, political, and planning characteristics. These characteristics determine the set of indicators constituting a conceptualization of ECs articulated in this chapter—and which should be understood as a heuristic tool meant to monitor and assess corridor initiatives. By offering a new concept for what constitutes an EC, the chapter aims to bridge the gap between the valuable groundwork undertaken by previous scholars and the conceptual requirements of a social science perspective.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 3. Chinese Motivations

Abstract
This chapter elaborates on the Chinese rationale behind the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in general and the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in particular. It will be stated that large-scale, multi-faceted development initiatives such as the BRI and CPEC carry much influence over several aspects of state and society, including both domestic and foreign policy objectives as well as regional geopolitics. Apparently there is no consensus on how a CPEC should be interpreted, neither in China and Pakistan nor outside the corridor’s geographical framework. In this context it will be argued that Chinese motivations regarding the CPEC are driven not only by economic and social interests but also by political, geostrategic, and security motivations as well.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 4. Pakistani Motivations

Abstract
This chapter is based on the observation that Pakistan is developing increasingly exclusive economic relations with China, using the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as the main platform for this cooperation. Despite the apparent threat that this increased interaction with China could lead to far-reaching dependencies unfavourable to Islamabad, Pakistan’s decision-makers are treating the CPEC as an absolute priority. However, facing a multitude of severe crisis situations in all spheres of private and public life, the country is for a number of reasons incentivised to participate in major development projects such as economic corridors. As regards China, Pakistan’s interests are multi-dimensional—encompassing economic, social, political, geostrategic, and security aspects.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 5. Challenges Towards the Implementation and Functioning of the CPEC

Abstract
While expectations relating to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are high, Pakistan remains challenged by traditional problems linked to the patterns of the country’s realpolitik. These will have severe consequences as regards the corridor’s implementation and smooth functioning. Beijing too must deal with several implications arising from the CPEC: China’s western Xinjiang region—which determines one of the corridor’s five subzones—suffers from various shortcomings such as a weak industrial base and limited economic scale and faces both social and political challenges. Some of these problems are closely interlinked and could even reinforce each other in the context of large-scale development initiatives such as economic corridors. In sum, the challenges that might hinder the realisation of the CPEC are both internal and external, encompassing political, geostrategic, social, economic, environmental, and legal-constitutional aspects. Any assessment of the CPEC needs to comprehensively consider both contemporary and future challenges facing this development project.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 6. Assessment

Abstract
This chapter determines the centrepiece of the book since it contains the main assessment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—as based on the stringent application of the set of indicators forming the new concept of Economic Corridors (ECs) developed in Chap. 2. Furthermore, the analysis is guided by the overarching notion that only when an EC initiative addresses these indicators will the corridor develop the characteristics necessary for success. More concretely, only when an EC initiative adequately addresses these characteristics will an ‘EC initiative’ lead to the establishment of not only an EC but of a sustainable EC—meaning an EC able to realise its full potential and offer maximum benefits for all participating actors.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 7. The GSP+ Conundrum and the CPEC’s Impact on EU-Pakistan Economic and Trade Relations

Abstract
This chapter is dedicated to one particular aspect of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) development—the impacts of the CPEC on the GSP+ (Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus) status granted to Pakistan by the European Union (EU). The chapter elaborates on the genesis of EU-Pakistan relations and gives an introduction to the GSP+ measure. It is then argued that the way the corridor is currently implemented influences the debate over the granting of the GSP+ status to Pakistan, as current CPEC-related developments threaten the country’s compliance with GSP+ requirements. Current CPEC-related implementation dynamics also potentially favour such developments as Pakistan’s involvement in state-sponsored terrorism, the maintenance of appeasement policies by state authorities towards Jihadists and religious fundamentalists, and a lack of state protection for minorities as well as violation of fundamental human rights. An increasingly repressive legal environment and the weakening of political-administrative institutions, governance, and quality of democracy constitute additional matters of concern regarding the country’s eligibility for the GSP+ status.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 8. Afghanistan Within the BRI Vision and the Feasibility of Enlarging the CPEC

Abstract
This chapter deals with the growing interaction between Beijing and Kabul and the proposal for the enlargement of the CPEC into Afghanistan. It elaborates on the current trajectories within Chinese-Afghan relations and sheds light on Beijing’s rising interests in Afghanistan. The underlying Chinese rationale regarding its western neighbourhood will be outlined. In this context, the chapter gives special attention to Afghan-Pakistan relations, the re-emergence of the Taliban and the role of both the US and India in the region. It will be argued that a potential CPEC enlargement into Afghanistan faces fundamental challenges. More concretely, the potential integration of Afghanistan into the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) seems likely to worsen rather than to improve the conditions for the Afghan people. A major engagement of Beijing in Afghanistan within the BRI framework would most likely function as a source for conflict rather than stability and would further undermine regional cooperation.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 9. Development Versus Democracy? The CPEC and Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan

Abstract
Pakistan’s unhealthy civil-military relations constitute as a major hindrance for sustainable development and democratic consolidation in the country. This chapter will outline the basic determinants of civil-military relations in Pakistan—with special reference to the democracy-development nexus. By applying the concept of embedded democracy and a derived notion of civilian control, it will be argued that the establishment of the CPEC will lead to a further weakening of civilian decision-making powers vis-á-vis the military. Furthermore, it will be pointed out that the CPEC implementation and its respective security requirements created an environment in which the military could legally build-up a far-reaching institutionalized, formal role in the political-administrative system. The subsequent seizing of power by the armed forces will have severe impacts on the quality of democracy in Pakistan.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Chapter 10. Final Thoughts

Abstract
This concluding chapter states that an assessment of the initial planning process (2013–2015) and most of the official first phase (2015–2020) of the CPEC’s implementation (especially the ‘Early Harvest Projects’) reveals clear indications that this development initiative will not function as a ‘game changer’ or ‘critical juncture’ for Pakistan’s economy and regional cooperation. In contrast to official proclamations, the CPEC project is accompanied by severe ramifications in all spheres of state and society, including economic, political, social and environmental aspects. Despite the fact that the CPEC implementation is still in an early phase—making a final evaluation premature—it can be stated that the stringent application of the newly developed concept of Economic Corridors offers a fruitful approach for the analysis of the CPEC—making comprehensive findings possible.
An assessment of the initial planning process (2013–2015) and most of the official first phase (2015–2020) of the CPEC’s implementation (especially the ‘Early Harvest Projects’), reveals clear indications that this development initiative will not function as a ‘game changer’ or ‘critical juncture’ for Pakistan’s economy and regional cooperation. In contrast to official proclamations, the CPEC project is accompanied by severe negative ramifications in all spheres of state and society, including economic, political, social and environmental aspects. Despite the fact that the CPEC implementation is still in an initial phase—making a final evaluation premature—the following key findings can be presented.
Siegfried O. Wolf

Backmatter

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