China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is seen as a ‘modern Silk Road’ trading route that may kick start a new era of globalization, and relations with its regional neighbours are crucial to its success, while the growing trade war with the US underlines its new influence on the global economy.

Although China’s political allies remain few - with Russia being seen as its preeminent partner - bilateral relationships by the major powers appear to be taking precedence over their respective roles in international institutions, causing significant disruption to global politics.