If China's push to build a massive, continent-spanning economic zone is to yield true benefits for all involved, Beijing must shift its policy course and embrace internationally accepted norms for the BRI, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
A Chinese state construction company is building Cambodia's first expressway which will connect Phnom Penh with the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville. China Road and Bridge Corp. will finance the nearly $2 billion project in an arrangement meant to help China avoid international accusations of predatory lending to developing countries, reports Nikkei.
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.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte agreed to uphold Japan's four conditions for high-quality infrastructure during a bilateral summit in Rome. Italy recently signed on to China's Belt and Road Initiative, sparking concerns the country would fall prey to "debt-trap diplomacy," reports Nikkei.
The United Kingdom's National Security Council has barred Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for sensitive "core" components of its 5G network. However, Prime Minister Theresa May has accepted the National Cyber Security Center's conclusion that the risk from Huawei's participation can be mitigated, and thus will allow the company to contribute equipment to "non-core" parts of the network, reports Nikkei.
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.
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.
Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Co., is looking to invest in Asian technology and infrastructure, Nikkei reports.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Slovakia later this month, where he plans to offer Eastern European leaders Japanese-financed infrastructure investments. Abe is expected to raise concerns about China's so-called debt-trap diplomacy, presenting Japan's approach as an alternative to 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.
Germany’s telecoms regulator has given the clearest signal yet that equipment maker Huawei will not be excluded from the country’s 5G network roll-out, despite fierce pressure from the US to shut out the controversial Chinese supplier for security reasons, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Major Japanese companies across industrial sectors are signing partnerships with Japanese telecommunication firms to develop products and services that make use of the super-charged national 5G network, set to open in 2020. The Japanese government is encouraging these partnerships, claiming that 5G will be the "basic infrastructure" of the 21st century, reports Nikkei.
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.
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.
A bitter battle has broken out between U.S. and South Korean telecom companies as each side claims to have launched the world's first commercial 5G network. Verizon accused South Korea's big three carriers (SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus) of a "PR stunt" after they pulled forward a launch planned for Friday, in a bid to claim the title, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
As Singapore's population grows, the city-state's Urban Redevelopment Authority has announced a plan to expand its urban infrastructure underground. Singapore's geographic constraints demand creative thinking from its government about how to further build out its infrastructure, 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.
Pakistan's prime minister, Imran Khan, visited southern Balochistan province last week following Balochistan's claims that the province was not getting a significant share of the Beijing-funded $62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. During his visit to Balochistan, Khan inaugurated several construction projects seen as crucial for the local economy, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Thailand's government will invest $2.78 billion in Laem Chabang port, the core of Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor. The Thai government hopes to position the deep-water port to compete with Singapore and Hong Kong, reports Nikkei.
Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl expressed concern over China's economic inroads in Europe that have now brought Italy, a G7 power, into the Belt and Road club. Kneissl said the rest of the European Union must recognize the risks and deal with Beijing's expansionist wallet diplomacy, 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.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Japan in late May to discuss infrastructure projects the Japanese government is supporting in the Philippines, including the country's first-ever subway line in Manila. Duterte has also recently confirmed through a spokesman that he will attend April's international Belt and Road conference in Beijing, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
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.
Thailand and Vietnam have announced plans to start 5G services as early as 2020. The Southeast Asian nations are scrambling to introduce 5G networks, determined not to fall behind developed nations, 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.
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.
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.
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.
5G services are expected to become widely available in India sometime in the early 2020s, with Deloitte estimating total investment required at $70 billion.
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.
Thailand's state-owned energy group PTT has earmarked around $4 billion for projects including pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals over the next decade, supporting the government's efforts to diversify the country's coal-heavy energy supply. More gas-fired plants are also expected to be built to support Thailand's growing energy demand, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader, convened a forum for foreign businesses in the impoverished Rakhine State, urging attendees to invest in infrastructure throughout the country's rural areas. With national elections in 2020, Suu Kyi has been touring outlying regions in Myanmar promising development initiatives to shore up support for her ruling party, 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.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, promised to invest up to $100 billion in India's economy in the coming years, including in areas such as infrastructure, energy, and refining. The Crown Prince's visit to New Delhi follows a stop in neighboring Pakistan, where he signed $20 billion worth of investments in the country's flagging economy. The Crown Prince's next stop? Beijing.
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.