Abstract: At a time of rising protectionism and increasing undermining of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the international community has welcomed the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (B&R) as an admirable initiative to strengthen economic globalisation. The B&R, a new platform for economic cooperation, promises world-wide economic cooperation, in particular trade liberalisation and sharing of benefi ts of globalisation. This article argues that the United States’ repudiation of international obligations and withdrawal from some international organisations will severely harm the basic principles of international law, multilateralism and the framework of global governance. In this backdrop, it is argued that the B&R should proceed on a bottom-up, rule-based governance, adhering faithfully to the essential principles of international law. These are important not only in the context of the B&R but also in general, to advance multilateralism and reap the benefi ts of economic globalisation.
Keywords: belt and road (B&R); silk road; rule of law; rule-based governance; economic globalisation; trade war.
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