Infrastructure

People ride rickshaws, locally known as "cyclo", along a street near the the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 16 February 2024. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

BRI's Funan Techo Canal could steer Cambodia away from Vietnam and towards China

Cambodia’s push to build Techo Canal, a waterway linking the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port to its coastal province Kep, means cargo ships may bypass the Vietnamese port of Cai Mep. Cambodian commentator Sokvy Rim weighs up the impacts of such a prospect.
The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train in Bandung, West Java, on 17 January 2024. (Timur Matahari/AFP)

BRI's Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway: High costs but high returns

A few months after its inauguration, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, the first of its kind that China built overseas with its own integrated system of design, engineering, equipment, technology, and standards, is proving to be a harbinger of stronger and more extensive China-Indonesia economic cooperation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with other leaders, attends the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to mark the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on 18 October 2023. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Ten years of the BRI: Where does it go from here?

Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that after ten years, the BRI has a somewhat mixed report card. Some analysts say that the BRI has helped some countries, while others observe that progress has sometimes come at a cost, ranging from heavy debt to other indirect effects such as corruption and environmental damage.
A man rides a bike past an installation of the logo of the Belt and Road Forum along a street in Beijing, China, on 15 October 2023. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Ten years of the BRI: Raising China’s speaking rights amid geopolitical and debt risks

While China promotes its BRI to developing countries, these countries are often at risk of a poor economy, political instability and other domestic problems. This means that even as China’s influence is growing, the final result may be less than ideal, says Lianhe Zaobao journalist Miao Zong-Han.
Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and US President Joe Biden shake hands next to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, 9 September 2023. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/Reuters)

A Middle East commitment to IMEC would counter China’s regional influence

If given security guarantees from the US, it is hard to see how the Gulf states could not help implement IMEC, says RSIS academic James Dorsey. This may not disrupt their economic and trade ties with China in the short term, but they may be wary of constraints to strategic cooperation.
Containers are loaded from the railway at the seaport terminal DIT Duisburg Intermodal Terminal at the Duisburg harbour, Germany, on 13 July 2023. With the expansion of rail-bound freight traffic along the "new Silk Road", the port continues to expand its role as a hub or end point of the Silk Road, which connects China and numerous other Asian countries with the Port of Duisburg. (Ina Fassbender/AFP)

Can the US-backed ‘modern spice route’ challenge China’s new Silk Road?

While the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor launched at the recent G20 summit has been touted as a game changer, challenges lie in the way of implementing the plan while China’s ten-year-old BRI continues to be entrenched in global infrastructure networks. EAI senior research fellow Yu Hong shares his views.
Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president on the closing day of the BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Center in the Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 August 2023.  (Leon Sadiki/Bloomberg)

China puts spotlight on global south with BRICS expansion

The diplomatic focus on third world countries during Mao Zedong’s era has taken a renewed form in Xi Jinping’s era with the focus on the global south, notes EAI academic Chen Gang. International circumstances could propel the Chinese to further elevate the importance of the global south, not least with the recent expansion of BRICS to include several global south countries.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyzstan's President Sadyr Japarov, Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmon, Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdymukhamedov and Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrive for the joint press conference of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian, Shaanxi province, China, 19 May 2023. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China strengthens its influence in Central Asia as Russia looks on

The China-Central Asia Summit may have ended last week, but it seems that it is just the beginning for China’s re-consolidated relations with Central Asia and also Russia, with an exchange of visits between Chinese and Russian officials coming up. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes that China’s influence in Central Asia is strengthening, not least the result of Russia’s embroilment in the war in Ukraine.
A man walks past the entrance to a construction site in Beijing, China, on 23 March 2023. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Chinese local governments facing debt crisis: Waiting for bailouts

Local governments are teetering dangerously close to bankruptcy, going by the amount of debt that they have racked up. While their financial troubles are likely to ease with the China’s post-Covid economic recovery, the central government is still expected to step in to prevent regional economies from toppling like a house of cards. But will certain forms of intervention do more harm than good?