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.
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.
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 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 United States announced a $113 million package aimed at developing the Indo-Pacific region's digital economy, energy sector, and infrastructure.
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.
Chinese infrastructure investment throughout Southeast Asia has shifted the tide of opinion, simultaneously supporting authoritarian politics in certain states and engendering opposition to Belt and Road in others, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
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.
Cambodians remain wary of Chinese infrastructure investment due to China’s growing influence in the country.
Japanese companies look to the Belt and Road Initiative as a source of new business opportunities, participating in construction, logistics, shipping, and energy projects.
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.
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.
"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.
According to Kazakhstan’s minister for investments and development, Zhenis Kassymbek, in an age of economic globalization, the country must balance the competing interests of East and West if it is to become a preeminent transit hub in 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.
Indonesia’s President, Joko Widodo, is pushing to turn the country into a fulcrum of maritime trade along China’s Belt and Road initiative with a $50.6 billion plan to build up the maritime sector, including the development of 24 "strategic ports."
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.
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.
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.
This report highlights recommendations on how the U.S. might effectively engage Southeast Asia's infrastructure challenges to foster greater stability and financial integration in the region.
Prime Minister Mahathir cancelled a proposed high-speed railway project that would have connected Kuala Lumpur with Singapore on Monday, citing the overall cost of the project as a primary concern. Mahathir's predecessor signed a legally-binding deal with his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, in December 2016 as a symbol of closer bilateral cooperation which will now require negotiating a $125 million penalty for pulling out.
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.
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.
During his four-day visit to Japan, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang touted China's Belt and Road Initiative at a reception hosted by Japanese business leaders, inviting businesses to join Belt and Road projects and to promote bilateral cooperation.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of powerful phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
In anticipation of a big trade increase along the BRI's Eastern Economic Corridor, Hong Kong-based Hutchinson Port Holdings has invested $600 million to open a new high-tech, fully automated terminal at Thailand's largest commercial port this June.
Pakistan is offering an ambitious tax amnesty program which it hopes will help the country borrow $60 billion from China and commercial sources for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The Asian Development Bank hosted its annual meeting on May 3, during which representatives from China and Japan lobbied the bank about future lending strategies.
Sovereign wealth funds have increased their asset holdings to an all-time global high.
A close look at the characteristics of China's port projects in the Indo-Pacific suggests that rather than resulting in "win-win" economic prosperity, they are generating political leverage, increasing Beijing’s military presence, and reshaping the strategic operating environment in China’s favor.
India's International North-South Transport Corridor involves India's investments in Iran, such as the Chabahar Port and the planned rail project from Chabahar to the Iranian city of Zahedan. The 7,000 kilometer corridor, which has been called an alternative to China's Belt and Road Initiative, will bypass Pakistan and connect India with Russia, potentially transforming Eurasian trade.