RSIS Seminar by Dr Frank Umbach, Research Director, European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), King’s College, London; Adjunct Senior Fellow, RSIS; and Senior Associate, Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS GmbH)
China’s Belt and Road-Initiative and its Energy-Security Dimensions
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – previously called ‘One Belt, One Road (OBOR)’ – has been designed by China as its new guiding economic and foreign policy framework with a focus on its direct neighborhood at its southern and western borders, but reaching out to the Persian Gulf, Africa and Europe, involving 65 countries and 15 Chinese provinces. China’s BRI seeks to spur regional cooperation by using its huge economic and financial power of up to US$ 1 trillion for regional investments and trade. It will not only link China’s economy with Southeast, South and Central Asia, but also with the Middle East (i.e. Gulf region), Africa and Europe. China’s geo-economic strategy of its interconnected economy with its neighboring and more distanced countries can complement each other and create an integrated economic network of supply and value chains – especially in the production, transport and energy sectors. China’s infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. The seminar will highlight China’s these energy security dimensions behind its BRI and Maritime Silk Road-strategy and its strategic implications for regional and global stability.
About the Speaker
Frank Umbach has been appointed as Adjunct Senior Fellow in RSIS with effect from 22 September 2017. Dr Umbach graduated from the University of Bonn with a M.A. degree in Political Science and a PhD (“Dr. phil”). He is presently the Research Director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College in London as well as a Senior Associate at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS GmbH), Munich and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw) in Poland, teaching on “EU External Energy Governance”. Furthermore, he is also a consultant for the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and Wikistrat.com. Since 2014, he is an independent “Subject Matter Expert (SME)” on international energy security of NATO’s annual “Strategic Forecasting Analysis (SFA)”. He’s an internationally recognised expert on global energy security, geopolitics, critical (energy) infrastructure protection/CEIP, and (maritime) security policies in Asia Pacific as well as Russia/Central Asia.
Previously, he was also a (Non-Resident) Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) in Washington D.C. between 2010 and 2015. From 2003 to 2007, he was a Co-Chair of the European Committee of the Council for Security Co-operation in Asia-Pacific (CSCAP-Europe). From 1996 to 2007, he was the head of the programmes “Security Policies in Asia-Pacific” and “International Energy Security” at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Bonn and Berlin; a research fellow at the Federal Institute for East European and International Studies (BIOst) from 1991 to 1994 and a visiting research fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo from 1995 to 1996.
Dr Umbach has done consultancy work and testimonies for the German Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence Policies; European Commission and European Parliament, US-State and Energy Departments, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (US-Congress), the Lithuanian Government, the House of Lords (British Parliament), the Polish Foreign and Economic Ministries, Hungarian Foreign Ministry, South Korean Foreign Ministry, NATO, OSCE, World Energy Council (WEC), Federation of the German Industries (BDI), energy and consultancy companies (incl. APCO and Roland Berger) and has advised international investors (via GLG). He is also the author of more than 500 publications in more than 30 countries worldwide, including being a contract author of the Geopolitical Intelligence Service (GIS) in Liechtenstein since 2011.