President Xi Jinping recently floated the idea of creating a "health silk road" paralleling the Belt and Road, which could further China's "mask diplomacy" efforts to provide medical supplies abroad and portray itself as a provider of international public goods. However, experts note that disinformation efforts by Chinese officials about COVID-19 are prompting pushback and could hinder such efforts.
Pakistan and China recently signed new memorandums of understanding (MoUs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during President Arif Alvi's visit to China, but experts doubt China's willingness to substantially increase economic assistance to Pakistan, including to combat the coronavirus outbreak, Nikkei reports.
As the coronavirus necessitates greater emphasis on cooperation between the U.S. and China, some experts worry that Washington’s decision to postpone the U.S.-ASEAN summit following a period of perceived disengagement risks pushing Southeast Asian countries further toward China and delays discussions on critical topics, including the U.S. rival to the BRI, Nikkei reports.
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.
China's Belt and Road investments are facing public criticism in Laos as Chinese-built hydropower plants disrupt the local fishing industry. Some Chinese agricultural businesses have also been accused of poor labor and environmental standards while the IMF and other organizations have flagged the risk of debt distress in the country, Nikkei reports.
In Fall 2020, CSIS will host a three-day Master’s-level introduction to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The course will explain what the BRI is, what it is not, and how it is impacting commercial and strategic realities on the ground. Course dates to be announced soon.
Beijing is pushing for what it calls Global Energy Interconnection, a vision of a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide electricity network, which presents an opportunity for emerging economies experiencing power shortages but also the risk of vulnerability and insecurity, Nikkei reports.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), stretching from the eastern coast of India to Europe via Iran, Russia, and the Caspian region, has been plagued by financial and political difficulties but its economic impact could be transformative if ever fully realized.
A flurry of recent diplomatic activity highlights the multilateral and multi-stakeholder footing of Eurasia's North-South trade and transport initiatives. While significant economic and political challenges remain, they retain the potential to transform Eurasia's economic landscape.
The Gwadar Smart Port City Masterplan, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has attracted criticism due to lack of transparency and aims that some experts call unrealistic. The plan estimates over 2000 percent population growth by 2050 and will require more than $648 million for basic infrastructure alone, Nikkei reports.
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.
French train maker Alstom is set to take over a railway unit of Canada's Bombardier in an $8.2 billion deal aimed at giving it the scale to better compete with China's CRRC, which continues to advance in Africa and Asia through the BRI, Nikkei reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised "a million dollars of assistance to increase trade and connectivity between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan," during a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, China's presence in Central Asia is growing, in part due to heavy investment in the region's infrastructure development through its Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has crafted a China policy that mixes caution with engagement, for example, expanding the U.S.-Japan security alliance while also jointly funding Belt and Road projects, Nikkei reports.
European firms seeking to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative face rising hurdles while Chinese state-owned companies are successfully pricing out their European competitors. As European leaders gear up for several high-profile meetings with Beijing in the coming months, a push for greater transparency and reciprocity along the BRI could help level the playing field.
The shutdown of Wuhan, a strategic transport hub, in response to the coronavirus outbreak could negatively impact China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Beijing and Naypyitaw have agreed to a $9 billion rail link between Muse and Mandalay, Nikkei reports.
Fears of the new coronavirus spreading to Pakistan have delayed projects along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Lahore and South Punjab, including work on the Orange Line Metro Train, Nikkei reports.
China’s growing military ambition in South Asia is matched in financial terms by its Belt and Road Initiative, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. What remains unclear is how the U.S. should navigate the new dynamic. This report addresses the question of how the India-Pakistan rivalry will play into the emerging great power competition.
Afghanistan recently began shipping goods through Pakistan's Gwadar Port, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, in a development experts believe may increase Kabul's participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
China and Myanmar signed 33 agreements during President Xi's visit to the Southeast Asian country, including a deal for the construction of a deep-sea port at Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean, Nikkei reports.
Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to Myanmar is expected to coincide with the announcement of the Belt and Road projects there, despite waning popularity of the initiative due to mounting debt levels, Nikkei reports.
The European Chamber describes the role of European business in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), suggests ways the initiative can become more inclusive, and recommends areas where the EU can both complement the BRI and develop its own connectivity strategy into a credible alternative.
The CSIS ChinaPower project hosts a podcast episode with Dr. Wang Huiyao to explore the evolution of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the developments that have occurred since it was first introduced in 2013.
In a recent survey by the ISEAS-Yusof Institute, 79 percent of ASEAN experts surveyed think that China is the most influential economic power in the region, but the majority are not confident in the Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
In the wake of rising regional tensions due to conflict with Iran, Pakistan is working to maintain stability and advance progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Nikkei reports.
During the second annual CSIS Ocean Security Forum on January 7, 2020, a panel of experts discussed the implications of China's port investments along its Maritime Silk Road on regional ocean sustainability, sovereignty, and security. Watch the full discussion below.
Alternative infrastructure investment initiatives led by Japan, India, and Australia indicate that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is likely to face increased pressure in 2020, Nikkei reports.
China recently announced plans to complete its Beidou satellite-based positioning system by June. The navigational system is key to the development of 5G technology and already provides services to about 120 countries, many of which are part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Laos has approved 14 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) backed by Bejing as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative in a bid to boost the economy, however, many observers are concerned about the country's mounting debt to China, Nikkei reports.
China has exported AI technology to over 60 countries, some of which have concerning human rights records, raising concerns among some countries that China may be "exporting authoritarianism," Nikkei reports.
China has completed a new island off the coast of Colombo, a $1.4 billion project funded entirely by Chinese investment. Sri Lanka is set to vote on legislation that, if passed, would make the island a special economic zone in an attempt to attract more foreign investment, Nikkei reports.
According to Fitch Solutions, Tokyo-backed projects in Southeast Asia have topped $367 billion, outspending China and making Japan the top provider of infrastructure and development aid in the region, Nikkei reports.
Beijing has signed 20 new agreements with Nepal for infrastructure development under its Belt and Road Initiative, but the recent leak of a document suggesting that road expansion could result in the loss of hundreds of acres of land along Nepal's border with China has sparked protests, Nikkei reports.
Debt sustainability risks are rising in the Asia Pacific region according to the International Monetary Fund, however, Chinese loans are not yet playing a significant role despite concerns sparked in Australia and the U.S. after China offered aid to the Solomon Islands following the switch of diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing, Nikkei reports.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is of significant concern to India, which views the corridor as a violation of its sovereignty, according to India’s Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. However, in an interview with Nikkei, Jaishankar did not criticize the broader Belt and Road Initiative, stating that each country has the right to its own policies.
In in effort to make the costly China-Pakistan Economic Corridor profitable, Islamabad is encouraging nearby countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia to participate in the initiative alongside China, Nikkei reports.
New Delhi has reached out to Sri Lanka's newly-elected president in an attempt to improve diplomatic ties. The move comes at a time when Sri Lanka is experiencing increased Chinese investment under Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, Nikkei reports.
Chinese president Xi Jinping's visited Greece's Port of Piraeus on Monday, where the port's operator, Chinese state-owned shipping company COSCO, is set to invest another $661 million. Xi's trip underscored China's intent to continue expanding its footprint in Europe through its Belt and Road Initiative despite skepticism, Nikkei reports.
As China comes under increased scrutiny over its global energy investments, Chinese authorities have announced a series of multilateral initiatives to “green” its Belt and Road initiative (BRI). While just recognizing the problem is a positive step for China, these initiatives are generally too voluntary to be effective, too duplicative to be adding value, and too opaque to be adequately assessed.
While the core focus of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is on traditional infrastructure deployments, it is evident that the Digital Silk Road is a key part of the overall BRI strategy, and China will leverage technology to increase its influence along the route.
Belarus recently secured a $500 million loan from the China Development Bank and stopped negotiations on a possible loan from Russia. The agreement followed a series of investments under China's Belt and Road Initiative, including funds for Belarusian railways and the Great Stone Industrial Park, raising speculation that the Eastern European country is seeking to deepen ties with China and reduce its dependency on Moscow.
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.
U.S. officials announced the launch of the "Blue Dot Network" at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in collaboration with Japan and Australia. The network will help the U.S. counter China's Belt and Road Initiative by advancing quality infrastructure investment.
U.S. Exim Bank and Japan's state-backed Nippon Export and Investment Insurance have signed a deal enabling them to jointly mitigate export risks faced by Japanese-led energy and other infrastructure projects that have U.S. participation, Nikkei reports.
Questions of economic development, military power projection, political influence, and global economic suzerainty form the backdrop for what is emerging as a global competition centered on the most economically dynamic region of the world—Asia. And infrastructure development is at the center of that contest.
Starting today in Beijing, China will begin brokering peace talks among rival Afghan factions in hopes of increasing stability in the region and furthering the reach of its Belt and Road Initiative in Central Asia, Nikkei reports.
China's deepening economic ties with Central and Eastern Europe caused Secretary Pompeo to express concerns during a recent visit to the Balkans, Nikkei reports.
During a recent trip to Tokyo, Pakistan's President, Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi, expressed hope that both Japan and China will continue to invest in the country's infrastructure to help spur economic development, Nikkei reports.
On October 17, the CSIS Japan Chair hosted the governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Tadashi Maeda, to discuss the role of infrastructure development in maintaining a free and open Pacific region and responding to China's Belt and Road Initiative.