Belt and Road Initiative and its Impact on Southeast Asia and Central Eastern Europe: Similarities and Differences



About the Seminar

China‘s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initially aroused much enthusiasm among smaller states in Southeast Asia as well as in Central Eastern Europe due to prospects of profiting from China´s economic rise, promises of substantial investments and other economic incentives. This initial enthusiasm has, however, been replaced by sobriety and wariness, as the implementation of BRI projects has been accompanied by shortcomings and a range of problems, such as fear of economic dependency on China and falling into a debt trap, unattractiveness of the terms and conditions of Chinese loans, negative image of Chinese companies, strategic implications of BRI on the South China Sea dispute in Southeast Asia, as well as China´s efforts to gain access to strategic fields in Central Eastern Europe. This seminar seeks to shed light on and compare the economic and strategic impacts of China´s BRI on Southeast Asia and Central Eastern Europe in order to identify similarities and differences in China´s approach toward small countries in both regions. The seminar will also examine in which sectors Chinese loans are particularly high and Chinese companies invest most, whether Chinese or local labourers are employed and the economic and social impacts the investments have in both regions.

About the Speaker

Adjunct Professor Dr Alfred Gerstl, MIR is researcher at the Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University in Olomouc (Czech Republic). He is currently on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/18_070/0010285) that looks at the strategic and economic impacts of China´s BRI on Southeast Asia and the South China Sea dispute. Alfred previously taught International Relations and Security Policies in East Asia in Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Russia.

Maria Strasakova, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Asian Studies at Palacky University Olomouc (Czech Republic). She also teaches at Metropolitan University Prague. She is currently an Associate Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute funded by the EU Mobility Fund (CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/16_027/0008482). Her research interests include the history of Vietnam in the 20th century, Vietnam´s foreign policy and the South China Sea disputes.

Richard Q. Turcsányi is Senior Researcher at Palacky University Olomouc (working on the Sinophone Borderlands project), Assistant Professor at Mendel University in Brno and Program Director at the Institute of Asian Studies in Bratislava. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and further degrees in economy and political science. He has conducted long-term study and research stays at the University of Toronto, Peking University, National Chengchi University in Taipei, and the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels. His research has appeared in Journal of Chinese Political Science, Energy Policy, Czech Journal of Political Science, Springer, Brill, The Diplomat, East Asia Forum and elsewhere.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 25 February 2019.


Feb 26 2019


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2