China's Belt and Road (BRI) has taken a beating, but its central feature of big infrastructure projects will remain recognizable for years to come.
China announced on Saturday that two more non-Asian nations, Switzerland and Peru, have signed on to its Belt and Road Initiative. As Asian Belt and Road participants view with initiative with increasing skepticism, China is looking elsewhere for supportive partners, reports Nikkei.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to reboot his country's flagship Belt and Road Initiative during the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Xi called for "zero tolerance" of corruption and said China would ensure more transparency for the initiative, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Xi Jinping wants to repair the Belt and Road brand—as 37 world leaders gather in Beijing—but promises for reform will require further monitoring. CSIS’s Matthew Goodman and Jonathan Hillman go over some key questions ahead of China’s Second Belt and Road forum.
Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore.
On April 25, China will convene leaders from 37 countries for the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. Here is some of Reconnecting Asia's top analysis of China's Belt and Road Initiative ahead of the summit.
The Solomon Islands may elect a pro-China prime minister as its seeks infrastructure investments from China. The South Pacific nation does not want to be left behind as neighbors Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu benefit from their participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, reports Nikkei.
China's foreign minister Wang Yi pressed the Japanese government to reverse a ban on Huawei from competing for Japan's 5G procurement contracts. This development comes as the Chinese government steps in to defend Huawei against a campaign by the United States pushing allies to exclude the company's equipment from their 5G networks out of national security concerns, reports Nikkei.
Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih's political party has won a super majority in the country's parliamentary elections. The president's party ran on an anti-corruption message that stressed the need to investigate Chinese-financed infrastructure projects that have dramatically increased the country's debt-burned, reports Nikkei.
Malaysia and China agreed on Friday to resume construction of the multi-billion dollar East Coast Rail Link project after months of negotiations that strained ties between the two trade partners. The two sides have agreed to cut the cost of the 688km rail project to $10.7 billion, 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.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has gained support for his efforts to loosen the Maldives' economic bonds with China after his party won a wide majority in parliamentary elections over the weekend. President Solih has recommended a probe into China-led Belt and Road infrastructure projects negotiated under his predecessor due to corruption allegations, Nikkei reports.
China’s Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative is an ambitious vision for transforming the global energy system that pairs a pitch for climate leadership with Beijing's industrial policy priorities. As China makes a play for green leadership in global energy governance, the U.S. needs to present a positive agenda of its own for the clean-energy transition.
Huawei has mounted a full-court press to allay India's security concerns about adopting the Chinese telecommunication company's 5G equipment. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan's enthusiastic integration of Huawei's low-cost equipment into their mobile networks has been heralded by the company as examples of why New Dehli's concerns are overblown, reports Nikkei.
China and the U.S. are better prepared for the 5G mobile era than any other country, even though South Korea is about to become the first to launch the super fast communications services this week, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
The European Union's recently adjusted China policy describes Beijing as a "systemic competitor." Yet from Greece to Italy, China's Belt & Road infrastructure investments, and the political influence these afford China, undermine efforts to build a European consensus on China, reports Nikkei.
The European Union has opted to let each member nation decide whether to use equipment from China's Huawei Technologies, snubbing American demands to keep the company out of high-speed 5G networks. Brussels calls for security measures but lets each member choose 5G suppliers, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
China is pushing back against Turkey for criticizing its treatment of the minority Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang province, using Beijing's economic influence through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to stifle criticism, Nikkei reports. Turkey is a crucial link in China's BRI due to its proximity to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
China Communications Construction has signed an agreement to operate the northern Italian port of Trieste. Combined with Piraeus in Greece, Sines in Portugal and Valencia in Spain it could form a new Chinese-controlled logistics network capable of redesigning Europe's industrial chains, reports Nikkei.
Xi Jinping arrived in Italy today to sign a memorandum of understanding for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a development that has already drawn criticism from the U.S. Washington’s frustration is understandable, but it plays right into Beijing’s hand. Publicly criticizing Italy’s decision gives unwarranted weight to vague documents that, like the BRI itself, overpromise and underdeliver.
Pakistan has diverted around $171.6 million meant for joint infrastructure development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship effort under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), into other construction plans. This signals that Islamabad may be distancing itself from Beijing and the BRI, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Japan plans to propose new guidelines on development assistance, tentatively titled the "G-20 principles on quality infrastructure investment,” when it hosts the Group of 20 summit in June. The proposal, which will frame anti-corruption and fiscal sustainability as key principles of infrastructure investment, is seen as an attempt to check China’s Belt and Road Initiative, reports Nikkei.
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.
To effectively leverage the infrastructure financing opportunities provided by the Belt & Road Initiative, countries must examine their own development strategies and build domestic skills and institutions, argues Ganeshan Wignaraja for the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
China's Belt and Road Initiative is transforming Nepal's domestic infrastructure through new roads, hydropower projects, and other industrial projects. Nepal has accommodated Chinese political interests to keep Chinese investments and exports coming, reports Nikkei.
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.
The U.S.’ new infrastructure strategies must not only respond to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, but also consider the complex landscape of overlapping initiatives already on offer in the Indo-Pacific.
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.
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.
Southeast Asia’s increasingly authoritarian leaders are finding China’s cyber model to be attractive, given that the Chinese government has been able to control and access data while at the same time dramatically growing its digital economy.
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.
In 2015, Chinese president Xi Jinping debuted a plan at the UN to knit the world's energy grids, currently fragmented along national lines, into a single global network. In reality, Xi's ambitious plan far outstrips what can realistically be achieved in the coming decade given current economic, technical, and political constraints.
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.
One of China's Belt and Road Initiative's biggest environmental impacts may be on the world’s water. Should BRI projects strain the world's water resources, the initiative may carry important, and perhaps negative, implications for global and local conflicts over shared water resources.
China's Digital Silk Road is ambitious and includes fiber optic cables, 5G networks, satellites, smart cities, and the devices that connect to these systems. On February 5th, the CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project hosted a discussion about these developments and their implications for U.S. economic and strategic interests.
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.
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.