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.
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.
Chinese president Xi Jinping's visited Greece's Port of Piraeus on Monday, where the port's operator, Chinese state-owned shipping company COSCO, is set to invest another $661 million. Xi's trip underscored China's intent to continue expanding its footprint in Europe through its Belt and Road Initiative despite skepticism, Nikkei reports.
Commercial activity has increased at Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port since the controversial 2017 deal that gave China an 85% stake and 99-year lease, and China says it intends for the port to become a South Asia hub, Nikkei reports.
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.
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.
An Australian and U.S. consortium are in exclusive talks to renovate the Subic Bay shipyard in the Philippines, a former U.S. naval base that opens up to the South China Sea, allaying fears over national security that were triggered by Chinese interest in acquiring the port, Nikkei reports.
A senior Pentagon official has suggested that China may be developing a military presence at Ream naval base in Cambodia, raising concerns that the port and other investments related to China's Belt and Road Initiative could create potential military advantages, Nikkei reports.
Foreign investment, led by China, in transportation and telecommunications quadrupled to $1 billion in the last six months as Myanmar approved a number of infrastructure projects, Nikkei reports.
Japan will announce a new plan for Mynamar's Dawei special economic zone that focuses on building a port that will export to India. The proposal comes as China is building and financing Kyaukphyu port, increasing its economic influence in the country, reports Nikkei.
Forming the backbone of China’s “Maritime Silk Road,” investments in African ports provide a gateway to the region’s trade and economic development, empower China with political leverage and clout on the continent, and provide a foothold for People’s Liberation Army Navy activities.
The signing of an MoU during a March 22-24 by Chinese president Xi Jinping has made Italy the first G7 nation to join China's sprawling Belt and Road Initiative, but Rome will be wise to devote sustained long-term resources to the negotiation, implementation, and follow-up of whatever comes out of these memoranda to avoid the mistakes of other BRI partners.
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.
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.
Saudi Arabia plans to build Pakistan's largest oil refinery near Gwadar port, the flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The oil refinery, part of Saudi Arabia's new commitment to invest $15 billion in Pakistan over the next three years, could fuel competition with Beijing for economic leverage given China's significant investment there under CPEC, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
With an eye toward illuminating current issues, this report draws from examples throughout history of how states use foreign infrastructure to advance strategic objectives. It shows how China is updating and exercising tactics used by Western powers during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and how these issues, and the strategic implications they carry, are likely to intensify in the coming years.
Multiple companies have expressed interest in bidding for the $1.7 billion worth of contracts to expand the Map Thaput port into a major deep sea port -- part of a larger infrastructure drive to create a huge economic and business center in the east of the country.
The Thai government has approved four infrastructure megaprojects, worth a combined $14 billion, in an effort to rev up new investment in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor.
Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the state-owned marine transporter known as Vinalines, won approval recently to build two large container terminals at Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in a $302 million project.
Myanmar and China renegotiated a BRI contract for the construction of Kyaukpyu deep-sea port, reducing Myanmar's financial burden. Construction will not proceed before certain demand conditions are met, according to the Nikkei Asian Review
Although Beijing insists that its Belt and Road Initiative has no geopolitical motives, the project has been at the center of an increasing number of political controversies, foreign and domestic, writes the Financial Times in a Special Report, citing analyses from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
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.
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."
The port of Patimban, estimated to cost $3 billion, is going to be financed by a Japanese loan and may be built by a Japanese-Indonesian team. The port is envisioned to become a transport hub and alleviate problems for Japanese companies operating in the West Java industrial park.
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.
A panel of CSIS experts unpack the economic and geostrategic implications of China’s infrastructure development across the Indo-Pacific region under the Maritime Silk Road, the littoral component of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Quotes and Quotas is a digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
Nippon Express has agreed to partner with Shanghai International Port Group in an effort to broaden its reach beyond the big coastal cities in China.
Sitting in the Indian Ocean, Hambantota serves as a warning about the hazards of China’s global infrastructure push, which could make small economies dependent even while helping them develop. It also reveals the challenges that India, Japan and others, including the United States, face in mounting an effective response.
Myanmar's rapid increase in trade is pushing the expansion of Thilawa port with the support from Japanese government.
The magnitude of the Balkan Silk Road project poses a mixture of opportunities and policy challenges for countries engaging in or seeking to benefit from its implementation.
Japan agrees to lend Indonesia $1bn to develop the Patimban Port.
Long delays in the completion of the Chinese-led Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar have drawn criticisms about the project's viability.
Mattala Airport in Sri Lanka, not far from the Chinese-operated Hambantota seaport, has become a point of contention in the wake of a $290 million offer from India to lease it.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of powerful phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
Photo credit: GovernmentZA, Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
Malaysian port operator Westports Holdings has received government approval to expand its container terminal facilities. The proposed expansion can potentially increase the total handling capacity from 12 million TEUs to 30 million TEUs.
Quotes and Quotas is a weekly digest of phrases and facts that help explain Asia’s infrastructure push.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide its largest yen loan to date, equal to an estimated $4.51 billion, for the construction of a port and coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh.
State-owned shipping giant China Cosco Shipping is poised to invest over $260 million in overseas ports and logistics hubs, helping to secure President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative overseas.
Indian companies have started bidding to develop Iran's Chabahar port, a strategic project for which India committed to invest an initial $500 million during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit in March.
A country’s transportation infrastructure is plugged into other national and supranational networks in such a way as to impact, not just domestic economic interests, but also advance national security and foreign policy objectives.
The U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team was the only amphibious power in the Indian Ocean—but not for much longer as the People’s Liberation Army Marine Corps is over the horizon.
Japan and China are vying for influence over strategic shipping routes through the Bay of Bengal by competing for shares in various ports throughout the region.