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.
Malaysia has relaunched the East Coast Rail Link after re-negotiations with China led to The Export Import Bank of China backing 85% of the cost. The project price is now $11 billion, a third of the original expected amount, reports Nikkei.
A company in Thailand has formed a consortium with China Railway Construction to build a $7.3 billion high-speed railway, Nikkei reports.
The freight unit of Germany's state-owned railroad group Deutsche Bahn plans a major increase in capacity for China-bound shipments, counting on continued support for overland transport under China's Belt and Road connectivity project, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Transportation ministers from Malaysia and Singapore have signed a supplementary agreement deferring the four-kilometers, cross-border Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) until September. The $1 billion rail link was originally aimed at reducing congestion at the countries' border, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
After a 45-year hiatus, Thailand and Cambodia reopened their cross-border railway service on Monday. With the rail service connecting the border town of Aranyaprathet in Thailand with Poipet in Cambodia, train passengers can now travel between the capitals of Bangkok and Phnom Penh, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Southeast Asian nations are investing in their urban rail infrastructure to ease road congestion impeding their further economic growth. In Hanoi, road congestion costs Vietnam as much as $1.2 billion in 2018, reports Nikkei.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
North and South Korea are pushing railway cooperation as an engine for advancing inter-Korean relations. Railway connections could integrate the peninsula into a network that spans the continent, marking a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment. However, significant obstacles still remain.
Thailand will spend more than $25 billion to build a high-speed rail network in a bid to transform the country into a regional rail hub. The Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok, when completed in 2020, is expected be Southeast Asia's biggest station with a capacity of serving 400,000 passengers daily.
South and North Korea will launch a field study on Friday to relink railways cut since the 1950-53 Korean conflict, after the U.N. Security Council granted sanctions exemptions last week, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
South Korea has received sanctions exemption from the United Nations Security Council for a joint survey of inter-Korean railways, the first step towards reconnecting rail and road links of the two Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War.
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.
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.
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.
Japan will send experts from Kyushu Railway Co. and Japan Freight Railway Co. to Malaysia later in the month to study ways to improve the country's railway transportation system.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
Malaysia has allowed Gamuda and MMC Corp. to resume underground works of the Mass Rail Transit 2 project after their joint venture agreed to a deeper cost cut, underscoring the government's resolve to push ahead with initiatives which only make economic sense.
On September 18, 2018, the Reconnecting Asia Project and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) hosted “Looking North: Korea in a Reconnecting Asia,” a half-day conference that explored Korea’s ambitious plans for connectivity.
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.
Japan’s Nippon Express will begin offering regular freight train shipping between China and Europe in February, as China’s Belt and Road Initiative accelerates the transfer of goods between the two markets, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Although Beijing insists that its Belt and Road Initiative has no geopolitical motives, the project has been at the center of an increasing number of political controversies, foreign and domestic, writes the Financial Times in a Special Report, citing analyses from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
Malaysia and Singapore will resume construction of the 350 km East Coast Rail Link project in 2020 on the basis that Singapore will be compensated $11 million for the delay.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is heading to China to renegotiate billion-dollar infrastructure projects signed by his predecessor, in an effort to reduce the nation's financial dependence on China.
The U.S.'s recently announced plan to invest $113 million in infrastructure throughout the Indo-Pacific region will have a limited impact and pales in comparison to China's multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative, according to Dr. James Crabtree of the National University of Singapore.
The EU became wary of China's infrastructure investment in Central and Eastern European countries. Hungary was forced by the EU to conduct a public tender for the Hungarian segment of the Belgrade-Budapest High-Speed Railway, which would delay the project completion until 2023.
California-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will help build a 10-km hyperloop in Guizhou Province, which has been targeted for heavy transportation investment due to its strategic location on the land route of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Mahathir's new government intended to cut the cost of the Light Rail Transit 3 project by 47%, from 31.65 billion ringgit to 16.63 billion ringgit ($4.11 billion). This also sends a worrying message to stakeholders of other costly infrastructure projects signed by Najib's government, which was blamed for "poor governance."
Malaysia suspended work on the East Coast Railway Link, which was being constructed by a Chinese contractor for $20 billion. This may signal Mahathir administration's intent to cut national debt ahead of the potential renegotiation with China.
Cambodia is set to complete an ambitious rail project next week from Poipet to Phnom Penh, connecting the country from North to South for the first time in 45 years. However, substantial Chinese involvement in the project has raised concerns over high levels of debt owed to China, which some estimates place as high as $4 billion, or 20 percent of Cambodia's GDP.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of powerful phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
Warming ties between North and South Korea have raised hopes for investment in North Korean and inter-Korean railways. South Korea has begun tentative preparations for the construction and modernization of railway connections along the North Korean Coast, paving the way for future economic cooperation between the two Koreas.
China’s $1 trillion push to build infrastructure across Asia evokes romantic comparisons to the ancient Silk Road, but there is a more recent chapter of history that urges caution. More than a century and a half ago, the United States was a rising power racing westward, building transcontinental railways that delivered limited benefits and exacted a high cost from society. Today, China has taken on that role.
The city of Karachi, Pakistan's business capital, is planning to improve its bus and rail networks to ease traffic and accelerate economic growth.
Within the last few years, Iran has demonstrated its strong political will to re-emerge as a regional transportation hub.
Japan will lend India up to $1.4 billion for projects such as a subway in Mumbai.
A recent report from the Reconnecting Asia Project suggests intercontinental rail will not likely capture enough trade to fundamentally change Eurasia's broader economic picture.
Myanmar has begun overhauling its national rail system starting with two major arteries pivotal to economic revitalization.
Japanese trading house Itochu is launching a freight transport service linking Japan and Europe via China.
Nepal's new prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli finds himself courted by China and India for railways projects.
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.