Last month China held a major international forum on its Belt and Road Initiative, the first of its kind since Beijing announced the project in 2013. Drawing official delegations, scholars, entrepreneurs, as well as representatives from financial institutions and media organizations from 130 nations, the forum was an important step in China’s drive to develop infrastructure and connectivity along the “Belt and Road Corridors” from China to Africa, Europe, South and Southeast Asia. Though many important details about the initiative remain unclear, foreign businesses are already vying for opportunities to join the initiative, and their excitement was primed by President’s Xi Jinping’s promise at the Forum to raise tens of billions of dollars in new financing. The event generated some concern about whether actual profits and benefits will match expectations. From the perspectives both of recipient countries and investors, the Belt and Road Initiative represents huge potential and significant risk. Amid the enthusiasm and apprehension surrounding the project, a robust dialogue and accurate information are critical. In support of this, the National Committee and the India China Institute of the New School hosted a delegation of financial and economic scholars led by the director general of the International Finance Department of the China Development Bank, Mr. Liang Huijiang, to discuss the May 2017 Belt and Road Forum on June 20, 2017, with moderator Mark Frazier, professor of politics and director of the New School’s India-China Institute.
Mr. Liang Huijiang is director general of the International Finance Department of the China Development Bank (CDB). He oversees strategy and policy making of the bank’s international business operations as well as cooperation with national and multilateral development banks. He also manages an overseas loan portfolio of over USD 300 billion, and is instrumental in expanding the bank’s global network.
From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Liang was deputy director general of the bank’s Treasury Department, playing a key role in building a professional team for the bank’s liquidity and investment portfolios as it reached several milestones in overseas bond offerings and underwritings. Between 1998 and 2003 Mr. Liang was special assistant to Mr. Chen Yuan, then president of the CDB. In that capacity, he was in charge of developing strategies as the CDB transformed itself from a semi-government agency into a market-oriented bank. Before joining CDB, Mr. Liang worked in the International Department of the People’s Bank of China, where he was involved in annual consultations between China and the IMF and reform of China’s exchange rate regime.
Mr. Liang holds a master’s degree in finance from the London Business School (2004), a master’s in economics from the PBC School of Finance, Tsinghua University (1996), and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hangzhou University (1993).
Dr. Wang Wen is a professor and executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. He also serves as a consultant fellow at the Counselors’ Office of the State Council of China, secretary general of the Green Finance Association of China, and standing director of World Socialism Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. As a leading think tank professional since 2013, Dr. Wang was named a “2014 Top Ten Figures of Chinese Think Tanks,” and a “2015 China Reform and Development Pioneer.” Dr. Wang worked as chief op-ed editor and editorial writer at Global Times before 2012, and won a China News Awards in 2011. He has written and edited over 20 books including Think as a Tank; Anxiety of the U.S.; Visions of the Great Powers; 2016: G20 and China; Theories of World Governance: A Study in the History of Ideas; and The G20 and Global Governance.
Dr. Zha Daojiong is a professor of international political economy at the School of International Studies, Peking University, where he holds concurrent appointments in the University’s Institute of South-South Cooperation and International Development and Institute of Ocean Research. He specializes in studying non-traditional security issues in China’s foreign relations, including energy, food, public health, and transboundary water management. His recent research interests have expanded to political risk management for Chinese investments overseas. Professor Zha has served as Arthur Ross Fellow at the Center on US-China Relations of the Asia Society in New York, as the inaugural Rio Tinto China Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, and as senior research fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also a member of the China chapter of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and a senior advisor to the Chinese Association for International Understanding. He is an active participant in the National Committee’s longstanding track II economic dialogue. Professor Zha has written and edited seven academic books, in addition to dozens of journal articles. He taught in Japan for six years and holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the East-West Center.
Dr. Zhai Kun is a professor at the School of International Studies, Peking University, and director of the Center for Global Interconnectivity Studies, Peking University. Dr. Zhai was formerly director of the Institute of World Political Studies (2011-2014) and director of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies (2007-2011) at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR). He is a council member of China People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, a China expert and eminent person of the ASEAN Regional Forum, and deputy president of the China Association of Southeast Asian Studies. Dr. Zhai has published extensively on China’s diplomacy and strategic thinking. He frequently writes for the People’s Daily, China Daily, World Knowledge, and Oriental Morning Post. Dr. Zhai received his Ph.D. in international relations from CICIR, and his M.A. in international relations and B.A. in international journalism from the University of International Relations.