A water shortage in the Philippine capital has forced President Rodrigo Duterte's administration to step in. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the shortage should prompt accelerated construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam, which opponents say may harm the environment, indigenous people and Philippine sovereignty, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Germany will "consult with the U.S." about the risks of allowing Huawei to help build the country's 5G network. The announcement comes as Washington threatens to halt intelligence sharing with allies who refuse to ban the Chinese telecommunications firm from 5G equipment contracts, reports Nikkei.
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.
The Philippines held a groundbreaking ceremony for the country's first subway line under President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure push. The Japanese government is giving full backing to the project. The design and construction work will be implemented by a four-member consortium of Japanese contractors, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
While on a state visit to the Philippines, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad told journalists that if countries borrow money from China they cannot pay back, the country "may be under the control of the lender." The statement was read as a warning to Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who accepted a $9 billion credit line from China in 2016, reports Nikkei.
New Delhi is looking to restrict Huawei’s involvement in the country’s 5G network but hopes to do so without appearing to single out the company. One option under consideration is limiting the ban to 5G projects in India’s disputed border areas.
5G services are expected to become widely available in India sometime in the early 2020s, with Deloitte estimating total investment required at $70 billion.
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.
Thailand's state-owned energy group PTT has earmarked around $4 billion for projects including pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals over the next decade, supporting the government's efforts to diversify the country's coal-heavy energy supply. More gas-fired plants are also expected to be built to support Thailand's growing energy demand, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
A Huawei Technologies senior executive insisted that "no evidence" supports U.S. claims that his company's products pose a security risk, and he urged telecommunications businesses across the globe to choose the Chinese provider for their 5G networks.
Intel has ended a partnership to share its latest 5G modem chips with China's state-backed mobile chipmaker, Unisoc, amid concerns that the technology transfer could cause problems in Washington, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Nepal will use Chinese gauge for a planned nationwide rail network in a move that is expected to intertwine the Himalayan country more deeply with China both economically and strategically. India has opposed the use of China's standard gauge as it tries to build its own influence in Nepal, Nikkei reports.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, promised to invest up to $100 billion in India's economy in the coming years, including in areas such as infrastructure, energy, and refining. The Crown Prince's visit to New Delhi follows a stop in neighboring Pakistan, where he signed $20 billion worth of investments in the country's flagging economy. The Crown Prince's next stop? Beijing.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged allies Saturday at the annual Munich Security Conference to be vigilant and avoid deals with Huawei Technologies. Pence emphasized the risks linked to equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese telecom manufacturers, saying those companies must be shunned due to national security concerns, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Huawei's Vietnam chief says the company has received assurances from the country's communications minister that Vietnam remains "open" to Huawei's 5G technology. This comes on the heels of European countries announcing they will reconsider telecommunications partnerships with Huawei due to information security concerns.
Weeks after a meeting of government officials from Beijing and Islamabad, the environmental impact of China-led coal-fired power generation projects in Pakistan is still a hot topic of debate. Lack of disclosure on plans associated with $62 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which forms a crucial part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, is spurring local environmental concerns.
The Philippines' leading wireless provider Globe Telecom is on track to launch its Huawei Technologies-backed 5G service in the next quarter. The Philippines has joined Thailand and Singapore that are open to tapping Huawei for 5G amid rising security concerns related to the Chinese telecom equipment supplier, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
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.
Taking effect Friday, The economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union incorporates wide-ranging regulations on data transfer and intellectual property protection. The trade deal could help establish precedent for the digital field, Nikkei reports.
Hanjin shipyard operator, HHIC-Phil, filed for bankruptcy after failing to pay $412 million in debts to five local banks and $900 million more to South Korean creditors. With state-backed Chinese companies offering to acquire the shipyard, Philippine's president Duterte faces a strategic dilemma regarding whether or not to accept this offer and grant the Chinese unlimited access to a vital naval and maritime asset.
New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Hohamad has canceled billions of dollars in infrastructure projects financed by Malaysian state fund 1MDB after an investigation revealed that funds were allegedly siphoned into the bank account of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
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.
Malaysia will cancel its $20B East Coast Rail Link project with contractor China Communications Construction Co Ltd due to the high cost, but stated that they will continue to welcome investment from China on a case by case basis.
India's largest engineering and construction company reported a better-than-expected 37% jump in third-quarter net profit, helped by a pickup in revenue growth after India's federal budget increased the spending allocation toward infrastructure.
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.
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.
In his first international trip of the year, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison visited Vanuatu to pledge high-quality infrastructure investments and economic development just weeks after China signed a deal to forgive $2.87 million of the country's debt and provide fresh financing for road upgrades.
Vietnam's government has re-introduced a previously rejected plan for a high-speed railway that would connect the country's north and south. Under the current proposal, the government would cover 80% of the project's cost, fueling concern that funding the railway would be irresponsible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top Indian cement makers are set to witness a boom in demand this year amid increased government spending on affordable housing and infrastructure, reports the Nikkei Asian Review. Analysts peg road construction at the rate of 33 kilometers a day in the next fiscal year.
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.
Three major Indonesian coal miners have announced plans to invest in renewable energy projects, as financing for coal power plants becomes increasingly difficult to obtain and renewables are decreasing in cost.
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.
The French government recently informed Tokyo of plans to freeze a fast reactor joint project amid rising uranium reserves, which threatens to make redundant Japan's long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel.
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.