Infrastructure is crucial for fostering countries’ economic development and prosperity. This collection of policy briefs discusses how to maximize the impact of quality infrastructure investments through sustainable financing and other resilient strategies to support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was officially launched in April 2015, promised transformational gains. The CSIS Reconnecting Asia Project collected open-source data to analyze the initiative's progress five years later.
A trilogy of corruption and bribery cases centered around Uzbekistan's telecommunications market have reverberated through international courts, highlighting just how severe the global risks can be of deciding to pay off politically connected elites in even the most closed and far-off countries.
While the COVID-19 epidemic has spread along the routes of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), those same corridors are being used to provide medical support as Beijing attempts to position itself as a global leader in healthcare—a move which Chinese President Xi Jinping calls the “Health Silk Road.”
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), stretching from the eastern coast of India to Europe via Iran, Russia, and the Caspian region, has been plagued by financial and political difficulties but its economic impact could be transformative if ever fully realized.
A flurry of recent diplomatic activity highlights the multilateral and multi-stakeholder footing of Eurasia's North-South trade and transport initiatives. While significant economic and political challenges remain, they retain the potential to transform Eurasia's economic landscape.
The Blue Dot Network (BDN)—an effort by the United States, Japan, and Australia to promote high-quality global infrastructure—holds promise and should be encouraged, but many unanswered questions about its implementation will need to be addressed for the initiative to achieve its desired impact.
European firms seeking to participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative face rising hurdles while Chinese state-owned companies are successfully pricing out their European competitors. As European leaders gear up for several high-profile meetings with Beijing in the coming months, a push for greater transparency and reciprocity along the BRI could help level the playing field.
China’s growing military ambition in South Asia is matched in financial terms by its Belt and Road Initiative, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. What remains unclear is how the U.S. should navigate the new dynamic. This report addresses the question of how the India-Pakistan rivalry will play into the emerging great power competition.
As the world becomes increasingly urban and digital, smart cities are emerging as ground-zero for new approaches to development and governance. On Thursday, January 23rd, a diverse group of experts convened as CSIS to distinguish between leading smart city models and discuss how their technologies, including in the areas of public safety and surveillance, are impacting the power of citizens, governments, and corporations,
The European Chamber describes the role of European business in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), suggests ways the initiative can become more inclusive, and recommends areas where the EU can both complement the BRI and develop its own connectivity strategy into a credible alternative.
The CSIS ChinaPower project hosts a podcast episode with Dr. Wang Huiyao to explore the evolution of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the developments that have occurred since it was first introduced in 2013.
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.
As China comes under increased scrutiny over its global energy investments, Chinese authorities have announced a series of multilateral initiatives to “green” its Belt and Road initiative (BRI). While just recognizing the problem is a positive step for China, these initiatives are generally too voluntary to be effective, too duplicative to be adding value, and too opaque to be adequately assessed.
While the core focus of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is on traditional infrastructure deployments, it is evident that the Digital Silk Road is a key part of the overall BRI strategy, and China will leverage technology to increase its influence along the route.
Historically, Kazakhstan's economic potential has been constrained by geographic extremes and uneven development. To address these challenges, the government has emphasized investment in transportation networks and urban economic centers, achieving steady growth and reducing inequality as a result, yet some risks remain.
It is too early to know whether China's Belt and Road will bring change, but for now, locals in northeastern China appear uncertain about the initiative and skeptical of its promises.
The development of the Millennium Highway, which links China to Russia through Mongolia, has catalyzed changes extending beyond Mongolia's aspirations for national, regional, and global connectivity. Through a series of local interviews, this new study by Dr. Alexander Diener and Dr. Batbuyan Batjav explores the intended and unintended consequences of Mongolia's efforts to build paved roads where none existed.
Huawei’s “Safe City” products, including facial recognition and surveillance technology, have fueled concerns that China is exporting authoritarianism. A new dataset analyzes Huawei’s growing global footprint, questions the benefits its technology provides, and identifies issues for further research.
Questions of economic development, military power projection, political influence, and global economic suzerainty form the backdrop for what is emerging as a global competition centered on the most economically dynamic region of the world—Asia. And infrastructure development is at the center of that contest.
On October 17, the CSIS Japan Chair hosted the governor of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Tadashi Maeda, to discuss the role of infrastructure development in maintaining a free and open Pacific region and responding to China's Belt and Road Initiative.
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.
On October 16th, CSIS Senior Vice President and Simon Chair in Political Economy, Matthew P. Goodman, hosted Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao for a conversation about quality infrastructure in Asia, China's Belt and Road Initiative, and more.
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.
Drawing from academic literature, evaluations, and technical consultations, this report analyses human rights and environmental impacts at the project and macroeconomic level to give recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risks infrastructure investment can pose for achieving equality, human rights, and the environmental sustainability.
Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy vision, the Belt and Road Initiative, is a long-term strategy to make China the center of the global economy. Can China deliver on its ambitious plans? CSIS Reconnecting Asia Director Jonathan Hillman explains what's happening with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Through means, motive, and opportunity, China's expanding economic footprint and political avenues of influence in the Western Balkans have deepened and widened with profound implications for the region’s economic development and long-term dependency.
By traveling the length of China's 4,300 km border with Russia, Ankur Shah aims to understand what China's Belt and Road Initiative means for daily life along on the border.
Supporters of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have long argued that the initiative would spur development and improve Pakistan’s macroeconomic fortunes. As Pakistan faces its thirteenth IMF bailout in the last thirty years, it is clear that without serious reforms, the debt incurred to fund CPEC could do more economic harm than good.
Critics of China's Belt and Road Initiative caution that the project stokes corruption, harms the environment, creates financial dependencies and extends Chinese military power. Writing for The Washington Post, Jonathan Hillman tackles five myths that have been fueled by the ambiguity of China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia are locked in intense competition to dominate the age of 5G telecoms, writes The Financial Times, citing data from the Reconnecting Asia Project.
Jonathan Hillman joins Jane Nakano and Nikos Tsafos for the CSIS Energy and National Security Program's Energy 360° Podcast to look at the importance of energy projects in the BRI, changing expectations from BRI partners, and what defines a successful BRI.
Even as Huawei faces resistance in Western airwaves, it is racing ahead under the world’s seas in a commercial contest that could eventually provide China with strategic advantages.
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.
This episode of the ChinaPower podcast discusses the Belt and Road Initiative's current projects and financing, including recent backlash and scrutiny from partner countries, as well as the approach the U.S. is taking toward the initiative in the lead-up to the second Belt and Road Forum.
China’s hostile economic practices, military expansion, and coercive political and ideological tactics in Africa should not be ignored. However, establishing a clear distinction between detrimental and essential BRI engagement is crucial to fostering development, building common ground with China, and expanding the global market.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. should not conditionalize its infrastructure diplomacy to exclude or de-prioritize countries that participate in China’s Belt and Road. Extending support on an open basis will offer the broadest menu of options to governments and ensure that connectivity integrates, rather than divides, the Indo-Pacific.
Southeast Asia’s strategic importance for China, the United States, Japan, and others, and the advantages that will come with control over data flows, mean that the region’s decisions on digital infrastructure and internet governance will have implications that far transcend business outcomes.
The world requires an interconnection agenda that focuses on multilateral institution-building and frames power trade as a tool for states to shore up grid systems in the renewables age.
It is clear that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) carries important implications not only for the world’s water resources, but also for politics in BRI countries. One of the worst outcomes would be for it to exacerbate the growing number of local conflicts over shared, and often shrinking, 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.
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.
In 2017, China surpassed South Korea to become the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer. In a few years, it might overtake Japan. But how is China securing its LNG needs?