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.
Chinese investment in railways is expected to rise by about 6 percent year-over-year to $125 billion in 2019, part of a stimulus plan to shore up China’s lagging economy. China Railway, which manages the country’s rail-sector, expects to build 6,800km in new rail tracks this year, a 45 percent increase in construction over 2018.
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.
Saudi Arabia plans to set up a $10 billion oil refinery at Pakistan's Chinese-funded Gwadar port, according to a statement given by the Saudi energy minister. Pakistan's petroleum minister, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, has said that the project will make Saudi Arabia an important partner in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer. In a few years, it might overtake Japan. But how is China securing its LNG needs?
The government of Pakistan awarded a $2.21 billion contract to build the Mohmand dam to a consortium of China Gezhouba and Descon—the latter founded by Abdul Razak Dawood, the prime minister's adviser on commerce and industry. The conflict of interest has drawn scrutiny from the government's leading opposition party which has called for an investigation of the project's procurement process.
China Three Gorges Corp, operator of the world's largest hydropower plant, is turning to projects offshore as domestic costs soar and space runs out on China's crowded rivers. The company, which already has business in more than 40 countries, will focus mostly on South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Beijing is currently working on construction of a high-speed rail line in northern Thailand. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-joining of North and South Korea's railways, it could connect the peninsula through China and Russia to a rail network that spans Eurasia. However, such connections will require a long and costly modernization process to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way, complicating the future of these potentially transformative links.
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.
China's state planner has approved inter-city railway projects in the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Anhui, with a combined total investment value of $33.82 billion and a total length of 1,063 km.
Reconnecting Asia tracks infrastructure developments across Eurasia, a vast landmass that includes 60 percent of the global economy. Every day, new infrastructure projects are announced, some are advanced, and others encounter obstacles. Here is a selection of projects and trends we will be watching in 2019.
Under former president Abdulla Yameen, the Maldives took substantial loans from Beijing for infrastructure projects. $850 million of a $1.4 Chinese loan is expected to be drawn by year end as Beijing advances its projects in the country, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Tokyo Gas and China National Offshore Oil Corporation both partnered with Filipino companies to compete for the building of the Philippines' first liquefied natural gas terminal. Though Japan and China's leaders agreed to jointly advance third-country infrastructure projects, companies have not been able to shift from competition to collaboration in the field, 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.
Indian cities are vastly expanding their subway networks to reduce road congestion and gasoline consumption. The Delhi Metro is expected to reach 378 kilometers of track this year, catching up with New York--the world's fourth-largest subway system.
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.
Indonesia's vice presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno said on Tuesday that the government will review the Chinese-led construction of a high-speed rail line connecting Jakarta and the city of Bandung, if the opposition wins Indonesia's presidential election next year.
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.
On his trip to Asia, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will play up Washington's efforts to boost infrastructure investment in the region at a time when China is doing the same with its Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
China Railway Construction will join a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) to bid for the construction of Thailand's $7 billion high-speed railway project that will link three major airports.
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).
Australia will set up a $1.46 billion infrastructure fund for projects in the Pacific as the country looks to curb China's rising influence across the strategically important islands, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group signed an agreement with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) to jointly develop "supersonic" trains in the country with a maximum speed of 620 mph.
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.
China is starting to build its largest offshore wind-power facility in the latest move in an accelerating shift in Asia away from solar to wind and other renewable energy sources.
Laos is accepting more Chinese loans to build 50 hydropower dams by 2025 and is increasing its external debt, half of which is owed to China.
As he heads for a face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is reportedly planning to renegotiate CPEC and to make it align more with Pakistan's interests, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to accelerate cooperation on overseas infrastructure projects and finance as a symbol of their revamped ties.
Japan plans to stop offering development aid to China after nearly 40 years, seeking instead to establish a framework for the two countries to cooperate as equal partners on infrastructure and other projects in developing countries.
The world's longest sea-crossing bridge, connecting mainland China and Macau with Hong Kong, is set to open on Wednesday, giving Chinese President Xi Jinping a centerpiece for his vision of a "Greater Bay Area" economic zone, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Japan drafted a plan to offer greater assistance for infrastructure development overseas ahead of a key summit with China next week, as it prepares to pursue joint projects with Beijing in third countries, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
A recently opened express railway between Hong Kong and mainland China has drastically cut travel times, but has experienced less demand in commuters and tourists as initially anticipated, 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.