Given the mission creep of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese leaders have moved to better define its scope, reining in some costly and indebted megaprojects. They have increasingly turned to other channels under the Belt and Road’s aegis, aimed at influencing media and academic circles abroad.
China's Belt and Road Initiative
China is expected to promote a rebooted version of its Belt and Road Initiative when world leaders from 37 countries gather in Beijing this week for the second Belt and Road Forum. Critics have long viewed the initiative as a bid to spread Chinese influence abroad via “debt-trap diplomacy” and other tactics.
On March 23, Italy officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an expansive development strategy first unveiled in 2013. Italy is the first member of the Group of Seven to endorse China’s centerpiece foreign policy initiative, and the move comes at a sensitive moment for the trans-Atlantic partnership.