This article explores the concept of national security in China’s legal system and the potential impact for the future of international economic law. By mapping the legal evolution of the concept, this article argues that its expansion reflects China’s changing role in global politics and the global economy. When ‘national security with Chinese characteristics’ is unpacked, we can find multidimensional concerns about a stable and prosperous China. While China displays no intention to challenge the current international economic legal order, this article argues that China has created the foundation to develop a mechanism to project its concept of national security through the Belt and Road Initiative. In this alternative order parallel to the current one established with the US dominance, economic development is considered as an integral part of peace and security.