The Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) proposal put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping is considered a new model for regional and South-South cooperation. It is also the priority area for China’s all-round opening up and neighbourly diplomacy. While SREB potentially involves over 40 Asian and European countries, Central Asia occupies the centerpiece of the Belt.
As the United States pivots towards the east, China launched the so-called “Marching West” strategy to avoid a direct confrontation with the Americans – a strategy first articulated by a prominent Chinese scholar Wang Jisi.
While much of the attention has been given to the strategic and diplomatic importance of countering the US pivot to Asia and on China’s overseas quest for energy resources, food could be an important driver behind China’s Marching West strategy.