07/24/2019 U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations?
Lecture Topic:?The Belt and Road Initiative and 5G Security Challenges for US
Class taken by?Dr. Patrick Mendis
Dr. Patrick Mendis talked about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and 5G security challenge for the United States in the course of US-China-Taiwan Relations at the Global Governance Summer School on July 24, 2019. Dr. Mendis argued that the BRI was a manifestation of the “China Dream” to rejuvenate Chinese nation and Confucian culture. The BRI’s Maritime Silk Road reflects Admiral Zheng He’s seven voyages in the Ming Dynasty (1371-1433). Zheng He attempted to make trade relations with nations in the Silk Road to achieve the Ming’s vision of a “peaceful world built on trade.”Instead of colonialism, the Ming Dynasty adopted tributary system by which the Chinese emperor and foreign rulers involved in exchanges of gifts.
In addition, Dr. Mendis highlighted that Chinese philosophy of tianxia which roughly translate to “all under heaven” coexisting harmoniously have led the Chinese leaders to set up world order based on connectivity under the BRI projects. The Chinese President Xi Jinping believes that “under the heaven, we are brothers and sisters.” However, this kind of connectivity is challenged by the freedom promoted by the US and its allies in Quad (India, Australia, and Japan).The choice regional countries take will contribute to shape international order. To analyze China’s intention for making connectivity across the region, Dr. Mendis suggested applying Mahan’s “sea power” and Mackinder’s “land power.” Mahan argued that the destiny of the world would be decided in Indian Ocean and whoever controlled these waters dominated Asia. On the other hand, Mackinder asserted that “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island, who rules the World-Island commands the world.” According to Dr. Mendis, China’s wisdom of Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road lies in these “sea power” and “land power” aiming at building commercial civilization and bringing history back again. Furthermore, China is now trying to play its important role in cyber space, and it will be challenging the US 5G security.