NORM-MAKING, NORM-TAKING OR NORM-SHIFTING? A CASE STUDY OF SINO–JAPANESE COMPETITION IN THE JAKARTA–BANDUNG HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT
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Norm-making, norm-taking or norm-shifting? A case study of Sino–Japanese competition in the Jakarta–Bandung high-speed rail project

 

This paper’s main aim is to contribute to the debate on the impact of China’s rise on the established norms and practices in the field of international development. To do so, it zooms in on a single infrastructure project, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail line, which involved intense competition between China and Japan. Specifically, it examines how competition between China, a non-Western emerging power, and Japan, an OECD member, led to a recalibration of both China and Japan’s approaches to infrastructure financing in the region. The findings suggest that rather than straight convergence or competition between diverging models, there is an ongoing process of two-way adjustment between China, and representatives of the dominant global norms and practices. We also argue that to understand the implications of China’s participation in the field of international development, and its impact on the ‘rules of the game’ of global governance, researchers should avoid positioning inquiries within the premises of China’s one-directional impact on the development assistance regime. Rather, it is necessary to take into account a complex set of relationships including China, host countries and other ‘socialised’ actors, and the process of negotiation between them.

KEYWORDS: China, international development, OECD, rising powers, infrastructure financing, global order

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