Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Slovakia later this month, where he plans to offer Eastern European leaders Japanese-financed infrastructure investments. Abe is expected to raise concerns about China's so-called debt-trap diplomacy, presenting Japan's approach as an alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative, reports Nikkei.
Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's political party has won a super majority in the country's parliamentary elections. The president's party ran on an anti-corruption message that stressed the need to investigate Chinese-financed infrastructure projects that have dramatically increased the country's debt-burned, reports Nikkei.
Malaysia and China agreed on Friday to resume construction of the multi-billion dollar East Coast Rail Link project after months of negotiations that strained ties between the two trade partners. The two sides have agreed to cut the cost of the 688km rail project to $10.7 billion, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China Communications Construction Co. executives on Wednesday reiterated the infrastructure company has not given up on the multibillion-dollar East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia, on which development work has been suspended for months amid doubts over the project's financial viability, reports Nikkei.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has gained support for his efforts to loosen the Maldives' economic bonds with China after his party won a wide majority in parliamentary elections over the weekend. President Solih has recommended a probe into China-led Belt and Road infrastructure projects negotiated under his predecessor due to corruption allegations, Nikkei reports.
China’s Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative is an ambitious vision for transforming the global energy system that pairs a pitch for climate leadership with Beijing's industrial policy priorities. As China makes a play for green leadership in global energy governance, the U.S. needs to present a positive agenda of its own for the clean-energy transition.
Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, visited southern Balochistan province last week following Balochistan's claims that the province was not getting a significant share of the Beijing-funded $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. During his visit to Balochistan, Khan inaugurated several construction projects seen as crucial for the local economy, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl expressed concern over China's economic inroads in Europe that have now brought Italy, a G7 power, into the Belt and Road club. Kneissl said the rest of the European Union must recognize the risks and deal with Beijing's expansionist wallet diplomacy, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
The European Union's recently adjusted China policy describes Beijing as a "systemic competitor." Yet from Greece to Italy, China's Belt & Road infrastructure investments, and the political influence these afford China, undermine efforts to build a European consensus on China, reports Nikkei.
China is pushing back against Turkey for criticizing its treatment of the minority Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang province, using Beijing's economic influence through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to stifle criticism, Nikkei reports. Turkey is a crucial link in China's BRI due to its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
China Communications Construction has signed an agreement to operate the northern Italian port of Trieste. Combined with Piraeus in Greece, Sines in Portugal and Valencia in Spain it could form a new Chinese-controlled logistics network capable of redesigning Europe's industrial chains, reports Nikkei.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Japan in late May to discuss infrastructure projects the Japanese government is supporting in the Philippines, including the country's first-ever subway line in Manila. Duterte has also recently confirmed through a spokesman that he will attend April's international Belt and Road conference in Beijing, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Xi Jinping arrived in Italy today to sign a memorandum of understanding for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development that has already drawn criticism from the U.S. Washington’s frustration is understandable, but it plays right into Beijing’s hand. Publicly criticizing Italy’s decision gives unwarranted weight to vague documents that, like the BRI itself, overpromise and underdeliver.
Pakistan has diverted around $171.6 million meant for joint infrastructure development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship effort under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), into other construction plans. This signals that Islamabad may be distancing itself from Beijing and the BRI, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Japan plans to propose new guidelines on development assistance, tentatively titled the "G-20 principles on quality infrastructure investment,” when it hosts the Group of 20 summit in June. The proposal, which will frame anti-corruption and fiscal sustainability as key principles of infrastructure investment, is seen as an attempt to check China’s Belt and Road Initiative, reports Nikkei.
To effectively leverage the infrastructure financing opportunities provided by the Belt & Road Initiative, countries must examine their own development strategies and build domestic skills and institutions, argues Ganeshan Wignaraja for the Nikkei Asian Review.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Friday that he is open to signing a deal that would make Italy a member of China's Belt and Road Initiative. The move risks stirring up divisions with other European Union members distrustful of Beijing's expansionist bent, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China's Belt and Road Initiative is transforming Nepal's domestic infrastructure through new roads, hydropower projects, and other industrial projects. Nepal has accommodated Chinese political interests to keep Chinese investments and exports coming, reports Nikkei.
Italy is preparing to become the first of the G7 group of industrialized nations to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but what does this mean? James Kynge, the FT’s global China editor, looks at the main implications citing data collected by the Reconnecting Asia Project.
The U.S.’ new infrastructure strategies must not only respond to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but also consider the complex landscape of overlapping initiatives already on offer in the Indo-Pacific.
China convenes its top political advisory bodies, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress this, this week. Analysts expect the meetings will address rising political backlash against China's Belt and Road initiative, reports Nikkei.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader, convened a forum for foreign businesses in the impoverished Rakhine State, urging attendees to invest in infrastructure throughout the country's rural areas. With national elections in 2020, Suu Kyi has been touring outlying regions in Myanmar promising development initiatives to shore up support for her ruling party, reports Nikkei.
Southeast Asia’s increasingly authoritarian leaders are finding China’s cyber model to be attractive, given that the Chinese government has been able to control and access data while at the same time dramatically growing its digital economy.
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.