General Bryan P. Fenton, Deputy Commander, United States Pacific Command
Mr. Edward Luce, Washington Columnist and Commentator, The Financial
Ambassador Keng Yong Ong, Executive Deputy Chairman, S. Rajaratnam
School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
Secretary Richard V. Spencer, Secretary of the Navy, United States Navy
Ms. Yalda Hakim, Correspondent, BBC World News
China hopes to revive the ancient Silk Road with a modern and comprehensive initiative: The One Belt and One Road. By land and sea, China aims to take a larger role in world affairs and global trade. But is trade following the flag? Is China seeking more than just economic partnerships? Panelists discussed and interpreted China’s plans through military and economic lenses, including the idea that trade is becoming increasingly politicized – even weaponized. In the context of the South China Sea and China’s persistent military activity in this space, panelists looked at the potential security component of the One Belt and One Road initiative. General Fenton and Secretary Spencer reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to free navigation of the seas in the face of China’s planned maritime silk road. But with 60 states signed on, and with an increasingly free trade wary United States, it is evident the initiative has buy in in the region and beyond.