Increasing criticism towards China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) coupled with China's economic squeeze has prompted Chinese skeptics of BRI to quietly ask if their government is putting its scarce resources to the right use. Although President Xi Jinping's BRI is still supported by leaders in Beijing, Xi's original ambitions are being rolled back out of public view, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
In 2015, Chinese president Xi Jinping debuted a plan at the UN to knit the world's energy grids, currently fragmented along national lines, into a single global network. In reality, Xi's ambitious plan far outstrips what can realistically be achieved in the coming decade given current economic, technical, and political constraints.
China's $2.5 billion offer to bailout Pakistan as its foreign exchange reserves dry up disappointed Islamabad, which reportedly sought $6 billion from Beijing. Pakistan's balance of payments crisis could threaten the $62 billion Beijing has invested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, reports Nikkei.
David Malpass, U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the World Bank, told media sources on Wednesday that he hopes to cut the multilateral lender's loans to China, which he believes is too wealthy to receive large loans from the World Bank. Malpass also criticized China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, saying that the BRI "leaves countries with heavy burdens of debt," reports Nikkei.
The trial of Najib Razak, Malaysia's former prime minister, over corruption-related charges tied to the 1MDB development fund is scheduled to begin on February 12. The prosecution is expected to probe whether China-backed infrastructure projects signed by Najib's government were used to bail out 1MDB, reports Nikkei.
China is facing new challenges after billions of dollars have been invested into Asia through Belt and Road infrastructure projects. BRI funds have increasingly flowed into Asia, accounting for 39 percent of the project's total contract value from January 2014 to June 2018, outpacing funding for Africa, which has received 30 percent.
One of China's Belt and Road Initiative's biggest environmental impacts may be on the world’s water. Should BRI projects strain the world's water resources, the initiative may carry important, and perhaps negative, implications for global and local conflicts over shared water resources.
China's Digital Silk Road is ambitious and includes fiber optic cables, 5G networks, satellites, smart cities, and the devices that connect to these systems. On February 5th, the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project hosted a discussion about these developments and their implications for U.S. economic and strategic interests.
In the Maldives, government officials are examining official documents to determine the amount owed to China after reports emerged that the debt could be as high as $3.2 billion, a substantial increase over $1.3 billion in officially recorded Chinese loans.
Saudi Arabia plans to build Pakistan's largest oil refinery near Gwadar port, the flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The oil refinery, part of Saudi Arabia's new commitment to invest $15 billion in Pakistan over the next three years, could fuel competition with Beijing for economic leverage given China's significant investment there under CPEC, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Singapore and China on Thursday agreed to set up an international mediation panel to resolve disputes arising from projects under China's Belt and Road Initiative. The agreement was inked at the first China-Singapore International Commercial Dispute Resolution Conference in Beijing, attended by some 300 delegates.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning a visit with India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as early as February. President Xi hopes to improve diplomatic relations with India ahead of China's second Belt and Road Initiative Forum in April, Nikkei reports.
With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history of how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. It shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
Until Chinese officials improve transparency standards, the international community should provide better alternatives to Chinese infrastructure loans and publicize the perils of opaque approaches to building infrastructure. Leaders in recipient countries must also demand greater transparency -- or risk drowning in the murky waters of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The European Commission has become increasingly critical of various Chinese investments within the EU, fueling an ongoing debate within Europe about investment screening. While the EU released a framework for foreign investment screening implicitly aimed at China in November 2018, the debate has exposed cross-cutting divisions within Europe. Looking ahead to 2019, we should not expect a clear resolution anytime soon.
Malaysia will review claims that China signed over-valued infrastructure projects to bail out Malaysia's state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, under former Prime Minister Najib Razak's tenure.
Pakistan is asking China to shift its investment focus from power and infrastructure projects to industrialization, agriculture, and education as regards the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
In an effort to provide an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Japan will help build "smart cities" across Southeast Asia, using artificial intelligence and networked devices to tackle problems like road congestion and energy conservation, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Data shows that between 2014 and 2017, the cumulative value of construction contracts has been 50 percent higher for Belt and Road projects, at $230 billion, than for unrelated deals, which amounted to $148 billion, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China and the West have been vying for infrastructure projects in Bougainville, an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, in an escalating battle for influence in the South Pacific, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China envisions a vast global network of trade, investment, and infrastructure that will bring the world closer to Beijing. To better understand how China's vision is playing out on the ground, The New York Times examined nearly 600 Chinese-financed projects and the driving forces behind them, citing data from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
China agreed to fund the $365 million Kaliwa dam and take part in the $3.3 billion southern Luzon railway project in the Philippines. A memorandum of understanding on oil and gas exploration was also signed between the two countries.
Pakistan faces a financial crisis and has secured a bailout package from Saudi Arabia, but surprisingly, it has yet to secure a similar package from China. Pakistan expected a decent bailout package from China, which is often called Pakistan’s all-weather friend, but China likely wants more detailed negotiations. Five reasons help explain China’s surprising response.
China and the Philippines are expected to sign billions of dollars worth of Belt and Road deals on Tuesday, as the United States and the Philippines move forward on key issues including free trade talks, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Washington’s shortsightedness is pushing its own competitors—the world's largest nuclear power and the second-largest economy—closer together.
Five years into China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, the United States is trying to respond to Xi Jinping’s infrastructure-building spree. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Reconnecting Asia Director Jonathan Hillman discusses the craving for more alternatives to Chinese offers and the window of opportunity it creates for the United States.
On November 14, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a body created by Congress to monitor and investigate national security and trade issues between the United States and China, published its 2018 Annual Report. Reconnecting Asia’s data and analysis are used to help discern China’s objectives for the Belt and Road Initiative and to highlight potential challenges and opportunities for the United States.
A milestone agreement on trade and economic cooperation signed in May 2018 represents an important step forward for the relationship between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
China's Belt and Road is commonly visualized as a train carrying commerce across Eurasia. But a train does not adequately capture BRI’s significance or scope. Instead, a Chinese flag is a better representation. Whether it is China’s intention or not, the increasing connectivity the BRI brings comes hand in hand with exposure to Chinese culture.
When it was launched, China heralded its Belt and Road Initiative as a “golden opportunity” to revitalize the region, but today it has raised serious concerns about debt sustainability, drawing scrutiny from the IMF. One way for Beijing to demonstrate its commitment to addressing the IMF's concerns is by partnering to develop more sustainable and transparent lending practices.
Singapore's central bank announced the start of a new program that will provide Asian emerging nations banking and legal services for infrastructure projects like roads, harbors, airports, railroads, and power stations. This program aims to make the city-state a key player in contracts related to China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the European Investment Bank will collaborate to extend loans for infrastructure projects in the Middle East and Africa, in an apparent effort to offer an alternative model to China's Belt and Road Initiative and U.S. protectionism, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Pakistan has formally asked the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance amid pressure to meet external debt obligations, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. IMF help will require absolute transparency on the nature, size, and terms of the country's debt, including its BRI investment from China.
The China Road Project, a team of researchers interested in China’s role in global development, will be traveling 60,000 kilometers over land and sea to investigate China's Belt and Road initiative (BRI), a foreign policy concept and global infrastructure plan announced by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2013, to help close the information gap and shine a light on the multi-trillion dollar initiative.
Chinese capital flowing into the Belt and Road Initiative projects surged to a record $20.1 billion in 2017, even as the country's overall outbound foreign direct investment fell. That record will likely be beaten again this year, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
With the approval of Congress, the U.S. moves forward with a $60 billion investment fund to boost foreign development funding. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, this is an effort to counter China's expanding influence under the BRI.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation overhauling the way the federal government lends money for foreign development, creating a $60 billion agency intended largely to respond to China's growing influence, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Five years ago, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a trillion-dollar plan that aims to connect more than 70 countries via an overland “belt” and a maritime “road.” On October 1, the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project hosted a half-day conference examining China’s BRI, including the challenges, risks, and opportunities it poses for the United States.
Newly elected Asian leaders from the Maldives, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka question the "business sense" of some Chinese-funded infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, casting doubt on Beijing's strategy for building regional influence.
Myanmar and China renegotiated a BRI contract for the construction of Kyaukpyu deep-sea port, reducing Myanmar's financial burden. Construction will not proceed before certain demand conditions are met, according to the Nikkei Asian Review
Japan’s Nippon Express will begin offering regular freight train shipping between China and Europe in February, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative accelerates the transfer of goods between the two markets, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China and Japan announced plans to sign dozens of agreements on infrastructure and other projects when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visits China next month.
Although Beijing insists that its Belt and Road Initiative has no geopolitical motives, the project has been at the center of an increasing number of political controversies, foreign and domestic, writes the Financial Times in a Special Report, citing analyses from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
Five years after the announcement of China's Belt and Road, the ambitious drive to build new infrastructure across Eurasia has produced a mixed track record on key issues such as its energy footprint, debt sustainability, and environmental impact.
Maldivians voted out incumbent President Yameen, an early supporter of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative who accepted funding for bridges, housing and other infrastructure projects.
Nepal's new government has restored a $2.5 billion deal with China Guangzhou Corporation to build the nation's largest hydroelectric power plant. This is part of prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli's strategy to use Chinese investment to improve Nepal's infrastructure, writes the Nikkei Asian Review.
As demand for bandwidth grows along China’s Belt and Road initiative, Chinese involvement in technology, media, and telecommunications projects will continue to rise. Along with commercial opportunities, these projects carry geopolitical and strategic implications, paving the way for China’s technological dominance and furthering its ability to set global standards.
The European Commission has announced "The European Way to Connectivity," a proposal aimed at boosting Europe's infrastructure links with Asia.
Envisioning a bilateral trade deal with Sri Lanka, the Thai government hopes to tap into opportunities from China's Belt and Road Initiative without directly dealing with China.