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.
Vietnam's Ministry of Investment and Planning issued a warning to its government about Chinese development assistance, citing concerns of high interest rates, project overruns, and a lack of local contribution to the projects.
The Chinese government is set to expand infrastructure spending by nearly $10 billion to stimulate the economy amid the growing risk of a financial slowdown as its trade war with the U.S. escalates, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo is reportedly considering cutting back on his signature infrastructure projects to suppress imports of construction materials in order to protect the value of the rupiah, according to Nikkei Asian Review.
Pakistan's new prime minister Imran Khan is deciding whether the country should turn to the International Monetary Fund or to China for financial support. The new administration must resolve its shortage of foreign exchange reserves caused by a sharp increase in imports through BRI-related projects and the redemption of external debt.
Hong Kong's subway operator MTR has announced more construction issues affecting its Sha Tin-Central rail link, adding more problems to the troubled $12.3 billion project that includes sinking pillars, substandard work, and allegations of cover-ups.
In anticipation of an infrastructure spending boost, stocks have climbed for Chinese infrastructure companies.
Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have announced the The Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Fund. The fund aims to help Southeast Asia become more financially self-reliant and reduce its dependence on external economic and political giants, particularly China.
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China and Japan agreed Thursday to encourage deeper economic cooperation in the private sector and to launch a public-private committee to advance joint infrastructure development in the region as part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative.
The Chinese Communist Party's Politburo decided to implement a "proactive fiscal policy" and expand infrastructure investment with the goal of supporting economic growth as the effect of U.S. tariffs begin to kick in.
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.
China's Belt and Road Initiative has expanded far beyond its original core of Eurasia and the Middle East, from New Zealand to the Arctic, Africa to Latin America and even outer space. While the BRI is not yet a challenge to the rules-based liberal order, it is a test of it.
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.
A Japanese government report indicates that high Chinese corporate debt due to infrastructure funding and other projects signals increased risk for an economic recession, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
The sheer scale and complexity of many infrastructure projects guarantee that disputes will arise. That’s why China is not only pushing projects overseas under its Belt and Road Initiative but increasingly, it is also writing new rules that advance its interests. The implications for the rules-based order—and U.S. interests—could be profound.
Concerns are being raised that China's port infrastructure push may be setting up debt traps, by lending money with a hidden goal of controlling the ports and turning them into military bases, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
China's latest "16+1" summit in Sofia Bulgaria perfectly captures China’s deceptive brand of multilateralism. Bringing together many countries, it gives the outward appearance of inclusivity and consensus-building, but beneath the surface, it is fundamentally different from the multilateral practices and institutions it claims to uphold. China has yet to offer the world deep multilateralism at scale.
Rather than being roundly welcomed, China's Belt and Road investment and finance decisions have become cause for concern for some receiving states, according to the Nikkei Asian Review..
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.
China has become unresponsive over FTA talks with Sri Lanka for what some observers believe is linked to the new Sri Lankan administration’s reluctance at incurring any further infrastructure debt.
Cambodians remain wary of Chinese infrastructure investment due to China’s growing influence in the country.
Beijing is helping to mediate peace talks between Myanmar's government and rebel factions, aiming to calm strife on the Chinese border to clear a path for Belt and Road infrastructure projects.
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."
China's "Ice Silk Road," which would create a shortcut between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic via the Arctic, could complicate relations with Russia as the two nations compete for influence in Central Asia, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
According to an expert with the German Marshall Fund, a prolonged U.S.- China trade war will make it difficult for China to afford expensive foreign policy ventures, such as its Belt and Road Initiative.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad is expected to lead a government delegation to Beijing, as Malaysia figures out how to service loans taken from China to finance costly infrastructure projects.
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.
This Friday China will gather 16 Central and Eastern European countries in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the annual China-Central and Eastern European "16+1" summit. As the gathering may help China build a bigger economic and political presence in Europe and exercise its power bilaterally under the cover of a multilateral veneer, it warrants more attention from Brussels and Washington.
Although operating on a smaller scale than the Asian Development Bank, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is steadily increasing its presence as a multilateral institution focused on infrastructure development financing. The AIIB set a lending and investment target of $3.5 billion for 2018, 40 percent more than last year.
"China has lavished investment pledges on Balkan states as it prepares for a summit with 16 EU countries and aspiring members, stoking fears in Brussels and influential national capitals of an effort to divide the bloc" reports the Financial Times, citing data collected in collaboration with the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project.
Energy projects account for more than 60 percent of the roughly $62 billion in investment along the China-Pakistan Economic Corrdior. While CPEC's power plants have the potential to greatly increase access to electricity for Pakistan’s population, they could also pose serious risks to surrounding wildlife.
AIIB president Jin Liqun announced his intent to create financial stability for the bank's 87 member countries and establish the AIIB as a multilateral development bank commensurate with the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced that it will invest $3.5 billion this year to India, Bangladesh, Turkey and Egypt for projects aimed at strategically connecting Asia and Africa.
Five nations that share the Mekong River: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam adopted a five-year master development plan during the 2018 ACMECS summit in Bangkok. The plan vowed to upgrade roads, power grids, and other pieces of infrastructure that connect and strengthen the region.
Growth in China's investment faltered last month as the government strengthened its crackdown on shady off-books financing, drying up funding for infrastructure. A clear drop in infrastructure spending led the decline with year-on-year improvement in this category falling three points in the past year.
Executives from the ADB and AIIB converged on The Future of Asia conference in Tokyo to discuss how their banks complement, rather than compete with one another.
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.
Malaysia's Ministry of Finance is reviewing two gas pipeline projects worth $2.36 billion signed under the Najib administration, following the discovery that 88 percent of the money has been paid out despite only 13 percent of the work being completed.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will send his finance minister to Beijing to renegotiate several infrastructure contracts following the discovery of three Chinese-funded and built projects where payments were made based on agreed time milestones and not work completed.
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.
Despite the recent cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail line, the Chinese-funded East Coast Rail Link connecting Malaysia's biggest port to the Thailand border will maintain its funding amid government cutbacks, according to Malaysia’s Finance Minister.
Malaysia's decision to cancel the high-speed rail from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore suggests that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's new government may reevaluate other costly Chinese-led projects to cut the country's debt, Nikkei reports.
Even if Belt and Road investment declines in the future, whether for political or economic reasons, the influence of Chinese constructors and planners on regional markets will continue to be apparent, from the alignment of high-speed railways in Indonesia to the design of residential and commercial developments in city centers.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stated that his government may scrap or renegotiate some infrastructure projects committed to by Najib's administration. The possible move stems from his goal to cut down debt and reduce Malaysia's fiscal burden.
To control soaring local debt, China is slowing down its domestic infrastructure spending which grew at a more moderate pace of 12.4 during the January – April period compared to 20 percent in previous years.
China's Belt and Road Initiative has begun attracting international investors and financial institutions through the issuance of BRI-branded corporate bonds and other BRI-related products.
China's President Xi Jinping promised that his Belt and Road Initiative would be a "plan in the sunshine." But the BRI's outlook is darkening as some actual and potential partners raise concerns about transparency, debt sustainability, and even China's underlying strategic aims.
The Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges bought 450 million shares of Bangladesh's main exchange, beating India's bid. The exchanges allow Chinese investors to access funds for overseas infrastructure projects and strengthen financial cooperation for the BRI, a goal stated by both exchanges.
After winning the elections last week, Malaysia's new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is expected to re-evaluate the country's relations with China, including the issue of Chinese-backed infrastructure projects.