While China learns from past experience and recalibrates the Belt and Road Initiative, it is giving momentum to competing visions for connectivity that will deliver results during 2021 and the years to come.
While China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) writ large has been slowing, a trend that predates the pandemic, its digital dimension is accelerating.
Illiberal regimes use a wide range of tools to undermine democratic institutions, prevent criticism, and establish norms and standards favorable to autocratic rule. In the case of digital information technology, these efforts go beyond shaping norms to controlling the infrastructure that transmits information itself.
The Australian state of Victoria, which signed a Belt and Road MoU in 2018, has little to show from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy vision.
A notorious ex-gangster from China is launching an $18 billion economic development zone in Myawaddy, Myanmar under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But experts say the project's plans are centered on illegal gambling. If true, this could spell trouble for Beijing.
This paper discusses the geopolitical dynamics of the Indo-Pacific, including the impacts of Covid-19, and emerging foreign policy initiatives, and offers recommendations for how Japan can solidify a comprehensive leadership role in this critical, multipolar region.
The seizure of Chinese-run mines in Kyrgyzstan amid ongoing protests has highlighted the risks to business in region, fuelling China's desire to promote its private security companies (PSCs). But if Chinese PSCs continue to expand operations, Sinophobic sentiments—already widespread across the region—may spark a cycle of escalating securitization that will undermine China's long-term interests.
Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world in late September by announcing that China would become carbon neutral by 2060. But this promise will amount to little if Xi's signature foreign policy vision, the Belt and Road Initiative, continues exporting China's environmental challenges globally. China's poor environmental record abroad presents a strategic opportunity for the U.S., if only Washington would seize it.
On September 29, CSIS hosted an online discussion of Jonathan Hillman's new book on China's Belt and Road Initiative, The Emperor’s New Road: China and the Project of the Century, moderated by Axios China reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.
This case study of Gwadar port, part of a series on China’s Indian Ocean “strategic strongpoints” (战略支点), reveals that while Gwadar may one day serve as a major platform for China’s economic, diplomatic, and military interactions across the region, as of August 2020 it remains largely underdeveloped and underutilized.
This report examines Chinese economic activities in Serbia to shed light on China’s political and economic objectives, its mechanisms for influence, and the implications of its activities, including a second wave of digital infrastructure projects.
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.
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.
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.
As China emerges as the new dominant trading nation, overcoming the barriers to a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, the world's largest and fifth-largest economies, could balance China’s rise and infuse the digital future with democratic standards.
In competing with China, the United States and its democratic allies should place the free flow of data and an open global digital economy at the heart of their strategy.
While much attention has been focused on economic coercion, inducements have also played an important role in China’s toolkit. Ramping up U.S. efforts at bilateral and multilateral economic engagement would provide more credible or appealing alternatives.
Barnard College professor Dr. Alex Cooley and Wiley partner Kevin Muhlendorf discuss the risks of corruption in 5G telecom implementation through the lens of international telecommunications scandals.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the acceleration of China's digital infrastructure push have heightened the necessity of developing a comprehensive U.S. infrastructure strategy. The U.S. has taken several important steps toward fashioning its own positive vision for global infrastructure, but critical work remains.
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.
The need for greater digital connectivity will be at the forefront of many nations’ agendas following the Covid-19 pandemic. In the U.S., deliberations are underway about a $2 trillion infrastructure program that, if well-designed, could provide a once-in-a-century opportunity for the U.S. to reaffirm its global leadership in the digital infrastructure of the future.
China’s technology ambitions appeared imperiled by Covid-19, but the pandemic is already providing new opportunities for China’s rise as a technology power and global provider of digital infrastructure.
Beijing’s willingness to start new international institutions underscores its global ambitions and adds weight to its rhetoric about creating an alternative order, but it would be a mistake to exaggerate their current scale and effectiveness.
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.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was officially launched in April 2015, promised transformational gains. The CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project collected open-source data to analyze the initiative's progress five years later.
A trilogy of corruption and bribery cases centered around Uzbekistan's telecommunications market have reverberated through international courts, highlighting just how severe the global risks can be of deciding to pay off politically connected elites in even the most closed and far-off countries.
While the COVID-19 epidemic has spread along the routes of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), those same corridors are being used to provide medical support as Beijing attempts to position itself as a global leader in healthcare—a move which Chinese President Xi Jinping calls the “Health Silk Road.”
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 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.
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... A push for greater transparency and reciprocity along the BRI could help level the playing field.
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.
As the world becomes increasingly urban and digital, smart cities are emerging as ground-zero for new approaches to development and governance. On Thursday, January 23rd, a diverse group of experts convened as CSIS to distinguish between leading smart city models and discuss how their technologies, including in the areas of public safety and surveillance, are impacting the power of citizens, governments, and corporations.
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.
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.
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.
Historically, Kazakhstan's economic potential has been constrained by geographic extremes and uneven development. To address these challenges, the government has emphasized investment in transportation networks and urban economic centers, achieving steady growth and reducing inequality as a result, yet some risks remain.
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.
Huawei’s “Safe City” products, including facial recognition and surveillance technology, have fueled concerns that China is exporting authoritarianism. A new dataset analyzes Huawei’s growing global footprint, questions the benefits its technology provides, and identifies issues for further research.
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.
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.
Six years after Chinese president Xi Jinping announced the “Maritime Silk Road” Initiative, China is increasingly dominant in the maritime supply chain and the production activities that support it. This deeper maritime foundation brings commercial advantages during peacetime and could offer strategic advantages in the event of conflict. Congress has a vital role to play in addressing these challenges.
On October 16th, CSIS Senior Vice President and Simon Chair in Political Economy, Matthew P. Goodman, hosted Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao for a conversation about quality infrastructure in Asia, China's Belt and Road Initiative, and more.
Descriptions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) often center on China’s agency in other countries—its investments, loans, and even soft-power. However, Azerbaijan’s Baku International Sea Trade Port in Alat, a retroactively labeled “BRI” infrastructure project, is anything but centrally controlled by China.
Drawing from academic literature, evaluations, and technical consultations, this report analyses human rights and environmental impacts at the project and macroeconomic level to give recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risks infrastructure investment can pose for achieving equality, human rights, and the environmental sustainability.
Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy vision, the Belt and Road Initiative, is a long-term strategy to make China the center of the global economy. Can China deliver on its ambitious plans? CSIS Reconnecting Asia Director Jonathan Hillman explains what's happening with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Through means, motive, and opportunity, China's expanding economic footprint and political avenues of influence in the Western Balkans have deepened and widened with profound implications for the region’s economic development and long-term dependency.