The Belt and Road Initiative—where the "Belt" stands for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the "Road" stands for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—is a call of China for new modes of regional economic cooperation under the trend of development of economic globalization. It targets at promoting orderly and free flow of economic factors, efficient allocation of resources, and deep integration of markets; enabling the countries along the Belt and Road to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out broader, deeper, and more efficient economic cooperation; and jointly building an open, inclusive, and balanced regional economic cooperation architecture. Thus the Belt and Road Initiative is an alternative road to further economic globalization, but contains ideas that are different from the past, that is, the spirit of the Silk Road—"peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win." Based on such an understanding, this article first analyzes the general background of the Belt and Road Initiative against economic globalization and the changing configurations of the world, and then discusses the Initiative's spatial connotation by revealing its multi-scalar and trans-scalar characteristics. The article points out that the Belt and Road Initiative is a national strategy, rather than a regional strategy, to coordinate all-around opening of China to the world and promote further integration of the country into the global economy. Last, the article suggests several research themes in geography that are brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative, including geopolitical studies, geography of countries of the region to explore cooperation opportunities, foreign direct investment theories advanced by the Belt and Road Initiative, and optimization of transcontinental transportation.
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