China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative represents a sweeping vision for establishing a global economic network of trade and development, with infrastructure projects in nearly 70 countries stretching all the way to Western Europe. This collection of interviews and articles examines how the ambitious gambit—also known as One Belt, One Road, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—is affecting bilateral relationships while bolstering China’s status as a global power.
Seven years into a sweeping and costly effort to rebuild Asia with itself at the center, China has a publicity problem with its Belt and Road Initiative. What has become the guiding macroeconomic centerpiece of Chinese foreign policy is in many ways stranded on shaky ground. Some of the Belt and Road Initiative’s trouble is superficial, like its unwieldy name, which had to be rebranded from its earlier form, “One Belt, One Road,” that itself was an abbreviation for two interrelated investment strategies called the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. But fundamentally, Beijing’s problems [...]
Of the many paradoxes surrounding China today, the trajectory of its massive Belt and Road Initiative has become one of the most puzzling. Even as the expansive plan has become essentially synonymous with Chinese foreign policy in general, it remains increasingly difficult to nail down with precision what, exactly, it is. The Belt and Road Initiative today is most readily identifiable as an infrastructure development program, since media coverage tends to focus on flagship projects like ports and power plants, as well as the fallout when some of them go awry. But while Chinese Communist Party leaders hail the scheme [...]
Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. China is expected to promote a rebooted version of its signature Belt and Road Initiative when world leaders from 37 countries gather in Beijing this week for the second Belt and Road Forum. Skepticism has been mounting for years over China’s expansive infrastructure investment strategy, and Beijing is looking for an opportunity to reset the narrative at this week’s summit, which begins Thursday and concludes Saturday. Critics have long viewed the Belt and Road Initiative as a bid to [...]