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.
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 [...]
On March 23, Italy officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, an expansive development strategy first unveiled in 2013 that aims to build a network of roads, railways and ports connecting China with more than 60 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In addition to the memorandum of understanding on the infrastructure-building initiative, signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome last week, the two countries agreed on a constellation of deals worth 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion), ranging from banking and energy to sports. The visit’s outcome reflects deepening relations between the eurozone’s third-largest [...]
In recent years, the issue of Chinese investment has become divisive enough to help shape the outcomes of elections in Malaysia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, mostly through money tied to Beijing’s huge Belt and Road Initiative. Indonesia, which is preparing for general elections next month, has welcomed billions in Chinese money to fund critical infrastructure needs, and there are signs that Asia’s largest economy will play a major role in the vote there too. Opposition candidate Prabowo Subianto has already called for reassessing Indonesia’s trade with China, declaring that President Joko Widodo, whose administration has prioritized infrastructure development, is [...]