One of Xi Jinping’s global projects to make the China Dream a reality is the “一带一路/ One-Belt One-Road” project, since rebranded in English as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This initiative has evolved from a trade and infrastructure plan involving a handful of countries residing along ancient and modern trade routes to a multi-trillion-dollar global enterprise with more than 150 governments and organizations participating. The social and economic impact of this project affects, in some way, nearly two-thirds of the earth’s population. As the BRI evolves, key industries, such as the aerospace sector, have found an ever-expanding set of opportunities to connect China with the international community and for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to reach further and further outside their defensive periphery. Key BRI partners, such as Pakistan, will continue to emulate the perception of a positive model for the rest of the developing world and illustrate how cooperating with China in the civil, military, and space domains can develop a “win-win” relationship and further promote Chinese influence abroad.
This paper examines some of China’s aerospace components within the context of the Belt and Road Initiative to discover how the BRI enables these components, if at all, and how China might leverage the BRI to increase PLA overseas presence.
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