Content of Special Column: the Belt and Road Initiative in our journal

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    The Belt and Road production networks and China’s participation
    Zhi ZHENG, Weidong LIU, Zhouying SONG, WUZHATI Yeerken, Yi LIANG
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 951-962.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.001
    Abstract1160)   HTML87)    PDF (12826KB)(306)      

    With the deepening of globalization, the global production networks have become the most important organizational platform for coordinating and organizing global production activities. The Belt and Road initiative marks the beginning of the era of inclusive globalization, and China will be more quickly and deeply integrated into the global production networks. In this context, whether there is a stable production network connection within the Belt and Road region and how deeply China participates in such network are very meaningful research topics. Based on the perspective of global production networks, this study conducted quantitative research with methods such as input-output analysis, value-added decomposition, and network analysis. The results show that: 1) During 1995-2015, the connection of the internal production networks of the Belt and Road region intensified continuously. 2) China is at the core and the first position in the value flow of the Belt and Road production networks, and this advantage was constantly strengthened. 3) The spatial distribution of China's added value sources have the characteristics of decreasing from east to west and high concentration in southeast, and Southeast Asia is the most important source of China's value added. 4) China's acquisition of value added from finished products along the Belt and Road is inefficient. Confronting the dilemma of "low-level lock-in", China needs to upgrade its value capture capability. According to the above results, China should increase spatial integration and maximize production cooperation with the Belt and Road region, at the same time, carry out industrial upgrading, improve the efficiency of value-added acquisition, and find new growth points for China's economic development.

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    Spatial pattern and change of China’s international air transport network since the Belt and Road Initiative
    Fangye DU, Jiaoe WANG, Jiahao XIE, Delin DU
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 963-972.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.002
    Abstract933)   HTML48)    PDF (2877KB)(297)      

    With the advancement of economic globalization and regional integration, the demands of communica-tion and cooperation among regions increase rapidly. Relying on the unique advantages of speed, accessibility, and convenience, air transportation plays a significant role in the exchange of passenger and cargo among countries. The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, which has attracted the attention of the world. Since then, the background of China's development has changed sharply, which brings new development opportunities for the expansion of the country's air transport network and can be shown in the following ways: 1) International tourism as a way of having vacation becomes more popular among people in China, largely due to the rapid increase of income. According to the statistics from China Tourism Administration, the number of outbound tourists increased from 98.2 million in 2013 to 130.51 million in 2017, contributing more passengers for international air transportation. 2) International trade also contributes more to China's prosperous international air transportation. 3) In the Belt and Road Initiative, facility connectivity was proposed as one of the most importance area of cooperation with countries of the region, and air transport network plays an important role in the realization of facility connectivity between countries. However, research on the change of China's international air transport since the proposition of the Belt and Road Initiative is still lacking. To fill this gap, this study analyzed the spatial distribution and change of international air transport network of China in terms of air routes, flights, and navigable cities based on the data of China's international air routes and flights in 2013 and 2018. The results show that: 1) On a whole, in the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has not altered the original pattern of China's air transport network, in which navigable cities formed the catchment centered on east and southeast Asia. 2) With regard to countries along the Belt and Road, their importance in China's air transport network is increasing and the numbers of routes and flights are increasing distinctively. 3) The main hub cities in China were Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in both 2013 and 2018, and more cities became secondary hub cities for different regions. New air transport routes and flights are operated in the existing navigable cities, showing that the direction of China's international air transport development is to deepen the connection with existing navigable countries and cities.

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    Spatial change of China’s investment pattern for overseas ports and its mechanism
    Peiran CHEN, Chengjin WANG, Weidong LIU
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 973-987.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.003
    Abstract1323)   HTML52)    PDF (9506KB)(285)      

    Along with the global strategy written into national strategy in 2000 and the Belt and Road Initiative proposed in 2013, China is accelerating the pace of investment for overseas ports. This study constructed a data base of examples of overseas ports investment by Chinese enterprises from 1978 to date, analyzed the spatial change of investment pattern on a global level, and clarified the features and pathway for Chinese enterprises entering overseas ports from the aspects of regional structure, participants, ownership change, and so on. It also examined the main entry patterns of overseas ports, internal relationship between different entry patterns, and correlation and shift between different patterns. Finally this article discussed the development mechanism of China's overseas port investment based on, in progression, why Chinese enterprises went global, why these enterprises invested where they did, and why these enterprises chose certain pattern. The results show that: The process of Chinese investment for overseas pworts can be divided into five development stages—before 2000, these overseas ports scarcely distributed in North Africa; from 2000 to 2008 China's investment for overseas ports tended to distribute in its surrounding areas; from 2009 to 2012 ports distribution turned to a global spread; from 2013 to 2016 overseas ports tended to concentrate as guided by the opening strategy; since 2007 ports distribution has remained overall stable. The changing process of distribution reflects three features: 1) Country distribution is dispersed, while these ports assemble significantly in Northwest European and Mediterranean at the navigation area scale. 2) The investors include large shipping enterprises, wharf operators, and infrastructure enterprises, among which the core enterprises for overseas ports' stock acquisition include China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company and China Merchants Steamship Company, and the core enterprise for overseas ports' infrastructure construction is China Harbour Engineering. 3) The number of overseas ports invested through stock acquisition began to increase rapidly since 2013 and as the investment process constantly deepening, overseas ports investment changed from equity participation to holding. Overseas ports entry patterns include infrastructure project construction, transfer of port managerial authority, acquisition of port's stock, and port management export. The influencing factors for overseas ports investment can be summarized as national economic development context, key opening-up strategy, global shipping pattern, spatial substitution, and enterprise self-development demand. Leading factors and their functions changed at different spatial scales and stages of development.

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    High-speed rail impact on regional accessibility and its spatial effects:A case study of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok railway
    Nanchen CHU, Pingyu ZHANG, He LI
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 988-997.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.004
    Abstract1472)   HTML19)    PDF (9283KB)(146)      

    Under the background of the Belt and Road and the economic corridor of China, Mongolia and Russia initiatives, this study examined the accessibility level and its spatial differentiation of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok railway in the southwest border area of the Far East Federal District in Russia. We first evaluated the accessibility level of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok railway. Then, change after the future operation of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok high-speed rail (HSR) was projected with two accessibility indicators—weighted average time and economic potential. Spatial differentiation of the accessibility change was presented using ArcGIS. Finally, the spatial differentiation of accessibility change was used to reveal the change and reshaping of spatial patterns in the southwestern border area of the Far East Federal District in Russia. The results are as follows: 1) The operation of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok HSR will greatly improve the accessibility level in the southwestern border area of the Far East Federal District in Russia. It will shorten the journey time to eight hours from Blagoveshchensk to Vladivostok. After the operation of the HSR, the increase rate of economic potential is significantly higher than the decrease rate of weighted average travel time. The weighted average travel time of the nodes along the HSR will decrease by about 68%, while the economic potential of the nodes along the HSR will increase by around 1009%. 2) Before and after the operation of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok HSR, accessibility strength of various federal subjects in the Russian Far East Federal District differs: the Primorsky Territory > the Khabarovsk Territory > the Jewish Autonomous Area > the Amur Region. However, accessibility improvement of the Primorsky Territory, the Khabarovsk Territory, and the Jewish Autonomous Area will be weaker than that of the Amur Region. Spatially, accessibility optimal element shows a decreasing trend from Vladivostok via Khabarovsk to Blagoveshchensk. Accessibility improvement of the nodes at the beginning and end of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok line is stronger than those in the middle of the line. 3) Affected by the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok HSR, the gradual change and reshaping of regional spatial patterns will become increasingly more complicated in the southwestern border area of the Far East Federal District in Russia. Spatial extension and competition of influencing areas will intensify in the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok HSR distribution field. Spatial polarization of the Blagoveshchensk-Vladivostok HSR line will further enhance, and a new pattern of center-periphery spatial system will appear. The spatial pattern of four regional service centers (Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk, and Birobidzhan) will evolve into the dual-core pattern of two regional service centers (Vladivostok and Khabarovsk). Spatial integration will occur among near-field cities. Regional coordinating effect will become obvious in Blagoveshchensk-Belogorsk, Khabarovsk-Birobidzhan, and Vladivostok-Artem.

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    Technology trade pattern and change in the Belt and Road region
    Dezhong DUAN, Ying CHEN, Debin DU
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 998-1008.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.005
    Abstract718)   HTML19)    PDF (12928KB)(140)      

    Based on the imports and exports of intellectual property rights between countries (regions) from 2001 to 2015 and by mapping the global (external) and local (internal) technology trade networks, this study examined the technology trade pattern and change of the Belt and Road region from the global and local perspectives. We found that: 1) In the local (internal) technology trade network, internal technology imports pattern has changed from CIS (Commonwealth of the Independent States) and CEU (Central and Eastern Europe countries) dominated to East Asia countries dominated, and internal technology exports pattern has shifted from "one leading pole" of West Asia countries to the "three poles" of countries in ASEAN, West Asia, and East Asia. The Belt and Road region has a very low status in the internal technology supply chain. A large number of technologies need to be imported from the outside, but as a technology sales market, the Belt and Road region has significantly improved its position in the internal technology sales chain. 2) In the global (external) technology trade network, external technology imports pattern has changed from ASEAN dominated to East Asia dominated, and external technology exports pattern was always dominated by the ASEAN region with Singapore at the core. The Belt and Road region has significantly improved its position in the international technology sales market, but its position in the international technology supply chain was always very low. 3) With regard to the types of technology trade, most of the countries along the Belt and Road relied on internal technology trade to achieve technological complementarity, while the technology supply and sales of the countries with high technology trades were mainly relying on the outside. The regional technology trade network of the Belt and Road region has not yet been formed. At the end of the article, we recommend that China should increase its exports of technology to countries along the Belt and Road and build a regional technology cooperation network along the Belt and Road as soon as possible.

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    Big data analysis of social development situation in regions along the Belt and Road
    Mingqing MA, Wu YUAN, Quansheng GE, Wen YUAN, Linsheng YANG, Hanqing LI, Meng LI
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2019, 38 (7): 1009-1020.   DOI: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.006
    Abstract1321)   HTML46)    PDF (7942KB)(218)      

    The Belt and Road initiative has become China's basic international policy. Keeping abreast of the social development trend of countries along the Belt and Road is crucial to ensuring the steady progress and successful implementation of the initiative. To this end, this study used the Global Data on Events, Location and Tone (GDELT) as a data source to obtain the full-text English news data in 25 countries along the Belt and Road in the past five years, and analyzed the social development trends of various countries by introducing topic models and combining an unsupervised method—the latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) and a supervised method—labeled latent Dirichlet allocation (Labeled LDA) to mine the topics contained in the news data, and construct a social stability model. The study found that: 1) The social development trend of the countries along the Belt and Road is uneven, and the countries can be divided into four categories: Stable, such as Oman, Vietnam; Relatively stable, such as Uzbekistan, Iran; Moderate risk, such as Kuwait, Jordan, Pakistan, Myanmar; High risk, such as Syria, Afghanistan. 2) Through the spatiotemporal mining of news topics, hot spots can be effectively identified. For example, this study found that Andijon has an important influence on the social development and stability of Central Asia. 3) The supervised topic model could reveal Uzbekistan's economic and industrial structure, identify major social events, and discover its social security risks and trend. This method can effectively explore the spatiotemporal changes of news events, discover potential risks of countries, support real-time dynamic monitoring of the social development trends of countries along the Belt and Road, and provide auxiliary decision support for the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative, and thus has important application value.

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