Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the world's evolving digital infrastructure competition, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
China is set to host representatives from 17 Central and Eastern European countries for its latest "17+1" summit on February 9, 2020. What is the significance of this unique regional grouping? This collection of CSIS analysis explains the initiative's development and its significance for the region since its announcement in 2012.
China is reluctant to finance the Main Line 1 railway, the largest Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Pakistan, at the 1 percent interest rate requested by Islamabad, which will likely delay the project's anticipated January 2021 start date, Nikkei reports.
The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB) response to Covid-19 may determine its emerging role in development finance, for good or ill. While it has responded quickly and substantially to the pressing needs of its members, these actions risk contributing to debt risks, institutional overreach, and perceived favoritism towards Beijing.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to commence construction of a light-rail connection in early 2021, reviving a project that was delayed by Mahathir Mohamad's former government over cost concerns, Nikkei reports.
Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed on Tuesday to restructure the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) into an inclusive platform for the promotion of international cooperation and multilateralism amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei reports.
The Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a $100 million loan to a Hanoi-based commercial bank, its first commitment to a Vietnamese bank, Nikkei reports.
World Bank President David Malpass has issued a statement directed at China urging all bilateral creditors to uphold an agreement of the G20 finance ministers to temporarily suspend debt repayments due to the Covid-19 pandemic following allegations that China has secretly reinstated payments for Laos and Angola, Nikkei reports.
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are attempting to put economics at the center of their strategic partnership, but a closer look at four dimensions of China-Russia connectivity reveals a partnership of unequals that will become even more lopsided in the future.
The Covid-19 pandemic has threatened Bangladesh's record of strong economic growth over the past decade which has caused the government to consider new sources of infrastructure development financing, including foreign remittances and foreign reserves, but the International Monetary Fund has urged caution, Nikkei reports.
Japan will stop financing the construction of coal-fired power plants overseas in response to criticism of its backing for the carbon-intensive energy source as part of the country's push to build foreign infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
China's state-owned and private companies are increasingly dominant across the global maritime supply chain, aided by an opaque system of formal and informal government support that is unrivaled in both its scale and scope.
The Asian Development Bank announced that the region is only expected to grow by 0.1 percent this year, the slowest rate since 1961 and a further deterioration from the 2.2 percent projection in April following the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nikkei reports.
A new report released by analytics company Refinitiv on Tuesday showed a 15.6% drop in the number of new BRI projects announced in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2019. The value of the projects slid from $386.08 billion to $137.43 billion over the same period, Nikkei reports.
The coronavirus pandemic could have serious impacts on economic growth in Laos, which is already struggling due to significant debt taken on to finance a large range of Chinese-backed infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
Sri Lanka's decision to borrow a further $80 million from Beijing to finance road improvements has drawn criticism due to the country's already high levels of debt to China, Nikkei reports.
This report assesses Chinese economic activities in the Western Balkans based on open-source data collected by CSIS and identifies key trends and China’s main avenues of influence.
Bangladesh is seeking $700 million in emergency financing from the International Monetary Fund in addition to budget support from multilateral banks including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Nikkei reports.
Infrastructure is crucial for fostering countries’ economic development and prosperity. This collection of policy briefs discusses how to maximize the impact of quality infrastructure investments through sustainable financing and other resilient strategies to support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Japanese lawmakers are pushing for the development of a digital yen in response to concerns that China could set international standards for digital currency technology, aided by the prevalence of the Belt and Road in countries with developing financial systems, Nikkei reports.
The Blue Dot Network (BDN)—an effort by the United States, Japan, and Australia to promote high-quality global infrastructure—holds promise and should be encouraged, but many unanswered questions about its implementation will need to be addressed for the initiative to achieve its desired impact.
Chinese fintech companies with established expertise in digital payments are hoping to escape stiff competition at home by expanding into Southeast Asia, where the digital economy is expected to triple in size over the next five years, Nikkei reports.
China has encouraged local governments to raise more funding from the bond market than planned in 2019 to keep them investing in infrastructure, despite an uncertain economic outlook, Nikkei reports.
On June 28-29, government leaders representing 85 percent of the global economy convened for the fourteenth G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. In the wake of the meeting, the CSIS Simon Chair in Political Economy hosted experts including Japan's ambassador to the G20, Koji Tomita, to discuss major outcomes, including China's endorsement of the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is courting private sector investors to jointly fund infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment bank will begin lending in local-currencies in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, and Russia. The move mitigates the risks foreign exchange fluctuations pose to private-sector companies investing in emerging markets' infrastructure, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
It is critical that public-sector officials responsible for infrastructure development—both at the local and national levels—commit to transparent practices to secure sustainable financing mechanisms.
Pakistan will slash spending on BRI projects in the next year as the government struggles to balance its finances. These budget cuts arrive amid growing recognition from Beijing of the complications involved with Pakistan and other nations incurring heavy debt to finance BRI projects, reports Nikkei.
Newly seated World Bank President David Malpass says the multilateral organization is working hard to ensure Beijing improves transparency in lending to countries involved in its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Japan's MUFG Bank will set up a $924.4 million fund - the largest-ever such fund by a Japanese bank - to invest in infrastructure projects overseas by the end of 2019. The fund will target renewable energy and transportation projects, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Forming the backbone of China’s “Maritime Silk Road,” investments in African ports provide a gateway to the region’s trade and economic development, empower China with political leverage and clout on the continent, and provide a foothold for People’s Liberation Army Navy activities.
At this week's Group of 20 meeting in Japan, finance ministers and central bankers are expected to sign sustainable infrastructure investment guidelines to help prevent developing economies from taking on dangerous amounts of debt, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Critics of China's Belt and Road Initiative caution that the project stokes corruption, harms the environment, creates financial dependencies and extends Chinese military power. Writing for The Washington Post, Jonathan Hillman tackles five myths that have been fueled by the ambiguity of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
Cambodia and other nations across Southeast Asia are emerging as vital staging grounds for a new form of power struggle between China and its rivals. The growth of Beijing's vast Belt and Road Initiative since 2013 has galvanized the U.S. and its allies -- including Japan, India and Australia -- and prompted them to draw up infrastructure and security programs of their own, writes Gwen Robinson for the Nikkei Asian Review
Belt and Road recipients are pushing to re-negotiate loan terms with Chinese banks, potentially shifting more of the BRI's financial burden on Beijing. As China's investments grow in Belt and Road countries, it risks losing its bargaining power as its sunk costs rise, reports Nikkei.
The biggest commercial bank in Japan is one of the latest Asian lenders to consider a ban on funding for new coal-fired power stations. Asian banks are recognizing the global threat from climate change and pulling back financing for the world's most carbon-intensive energy source, Nikkei reports.
Beijing is striking a conciliatory tone abroad to repair ties with Belt and Road partners, particularly in Southeast Asia where negotiations with Chinese companies over halted infrastructure projects are restarting, Nikkei reports.
As this year's host of the Group of 20 countries, Tokyo is taking the opportunity to push a novel idea: quality infrastructure investment, or QII, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
ASEAN members plus China, Japan and South Korea agreed to create a framework insuring private funding for infrastructure projects of up to $1.5 billion under a new program to be called the Infrastructure Investors Partnership, reports Nikkei.
Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Laos and China to accelerate the construction of a much delayed high-speed rail line between northeast Thailand and Vientiane in Laos, reports Nikkei.
If China's push to build a massive, continent-spanning economic zone is to yield true benefits for all involved, Beijing must shift its policy course and embrace internationally accepted norms for the BRI, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China’s hostile economic practices, military expansion, and coercive political and ideological tactics in Africa should not be ignored. However, establishing a clear distinction between detrimental and essential BRI engagement is crucial to fostering development, building common ground with China, and expanding the global market.
China announced on Saturday that two more non-Asian nations, Switzerland and Peru, have signed on to its Belt and Road Initiative. As Asian Belt and Road participants view with initiative with increasing skepticism, China is looking elsewhere for supportive partners, reports Nikkei.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte agreed to uphold Japan's four conditions for high-quality infrastructure during a bilateral summit in Rome. Italy recently signed on to China's Belt and Road Initiative, sparking concerns the country would fall prey to "debt-trap diplomacy," reports Nikkei.
Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore.
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.
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.
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.