Belt and Road Initiative

The Melaka Gateway project has been reduced in scale to a cruise terminal. (Screenshot from YouTube/SZ - Eagle Eye Studiors)

Malaysia's Melaka Gateway project: Scaled-down ambitions

Melaka Gateway, earlier touted as a mega project that would generate substantial economic benefits, fresh foreign direct investment and access to technical know-how from China, is now a shadow of its former self. There remains, however, significant challenges for the envisioned cruise terminal.
Vietnam's President Vo Van Thuong (in blue tie and spectacles) arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the Belt and Road Forum in the Chinese capital on 17 October 2023. (Parker Song/AFP)

Late to the party: Vietnam and the Belt and Road Initiative

Chinese-funded investments into Laos and Cambodia have transformed the geo-economic landscape in Vietnam’s immediate neighbourhood. This has caused Hanoi to give China’s Belt and Road Initiative another look.
A person walks past a sign of the Third Belt and Road Forum ahead of its opening ceremony, at the media centre in Beijing, China, on 18 October 2023. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's ten-year BRI faces questions and challenges

As China's Belt and Road Initiative marks its tenth year, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima takes a look at how the BRI has progressed, its overall impact on the countries where it has been implemented, as well as the challenges it faces in the road ahead.
(Left to right) China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev head to a group photo session at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2023. (Suo Takekuma/AFP)

China’s Belt and Road Forum: Pressing ahead without the West

The lack of Western representation at the recent Belt and Road Forum has strengthened China’s resolve to push ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing is using the Forum as a vehicle to engage the developing world in a more concerted manner.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his Chinese counterpart Li Qiang shake hands during a bilateral meeting held at the Liyuan Guest House, 17 September 2023. (fotoBernama)

Anwar's China trips: Is Malaysia putting China before the West?

Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made his second visit to China in September to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo just months after his last visit in March. While Anwar has repeatedly insisted that Malaysia’s relations with the US and other Western countries remain strong, his active engagement of China draws questions over Malaysia’s emphasis in foreign policy.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden along with world leaders arrive to pay their respect at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on 10 September, 2023. (PIB/AFP)

China and India are not playing a zero-sum game in the global south

With the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the recent G20 summit, it could be easy to assume that India has made its strategic decision to join the US-led West to counter China, or that the IMEC is a natural rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But complementary multilateral structures may not be a thing of the past.
A supporter holds a picture of Niger General Abdourahamane Tiani, the chief of the powerful presidential guard, as with others rally in support of Niger's junta in Niamey on 30 July 2023. (AFP)

Domino effect in West Africa: Niger coup destabilises China's expanding economic footprint

The recent Niger coup and conflicts from Mali to Burkina Faso, Chad and Sudan have cast uncertainty on the future of Chinese economic diplomacy in the Sahel and other parts of Africa. Academic Alessandro Arduino explains.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (left) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 17 July 2023. (Saudi Press Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Ankara’s drone diplomacy in the Gulf complicates China’s regional calculations

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan headed to the Gulf last week seeking investments, he had a formidable bargaining chip — drone diplomacy. The top-of-the-line Turkish combat UAV, the Akinci, is much sought-after in Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia. China may be worried, as this development could threaten its leading position in the field and hinder its economic and diplomatic offensive in the Middle East.
Workers check an electronic system at the Tegalluar station of the China-made high speed railway connecting the capital city of Jakarta with Bandung, in Bandung, West Java on 15 May 2023. (Timur Matahari/AFP)

Why China's BRI is not a debt trap

The solution to developing countries’ ballooning debt arising from borrowing to finance Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other projects is not to stop the work, as such projects could spur greater economic development and growth, says EAI senior research fellow Yu Hong. Rather, greater transparency and debt sustainability analysis should be applied in relation to BRI debt.