It is too early to know whether China's Belt and Road will bring change, but for now, locals in northeastern China appear uncertain about the initiative and skeptical of its promises.
The development of the Millennium Highway, which links China to Russia through Mongolia, has catalyzed changes extending beyond Mongolia's aspirations for national, regional, and global connectivity. Through a series of local interviews, this new study by Dr. Alexander Diener and Dr. Batbuyan Batjav explores the intended and unintended consequences of Mongolia's efforts to build paved roads where none existed.
Browse our analysis section for news and articles on topics such as China's Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR), the Competing Visions of Japan, India, and other regional powers, and the stakes for U.S. policy.
As the Mongolian government works to build the Mongolia-Russia-China economic corridor, the country's former prime minister, Sukhbaatar Batbold, believes China's Belt and Road Initiative could help regional infrastructure, trade, and investment and accelerate economic growth.
Most countries along the BRI have urgent infrastructure development needs and many are considered too high-risk for traditional investors, the result being that their governments have been highly receptive to Beijing’s offers of financing, building, and operating infrastructure projects.
A special report by Nikkei Asian Review and The Banker which leverages data from the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project has found that China's Belt and Road initiative holds considerable promise for countries in need of infrastructure investment along its route, however, participation has been hampered by challenges ranging from a lack of participation by local workers and banks to unmanageable debt hangovers.
Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist. Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese cities with 34 European cities. But despite their rapid advances, these lines must compete with maritime routes that have dominated commerce between Asia and Europe since the late fifteenth century. It remains to be seen how much trade they can capture.