in: Conflict and Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific: New Geopolitical Realities, Ash Rossiter, Brendon J Cannon, Editor, Routledge, London/New York , London, 2020
Regions are not natural realities that are obvious geographical manifestations. Quite the contrary, all regions are socially constructed through political processes. Discussions on and attempts to redefine or rescale Asia by the leading powers of the region, namely Australia, China, India, Japan and the US, needs to be considered in this context. As socially constructed political projects, the Chinese-led BRI and the US-led IPP represent competing visions for how political-economic and security structures of the Asia-Indo-Pacific region should evolve in the coming decades. This study, basing on official policy documents and speeches of Chinese and IPP countries’ leaders, aims to provide an insight into competing regional institutional arrangements proposed by the BRI and the IPP. It argues that the Chinese-led initiative, at least in rhetoric and in terms of membership, is an inclusive project based on economic connectivity and cooperation among countries, whereas the Indo-Pacific, despite its increasing economic focus, is mainly a security related and exclusionist concept. Furthermore, due to lack of leadership, difficulties in matching the diverging priorities and the fractured approach of the IPP countries, the BRI seems to have an advantage over the IPP.