Pakistan takes desperate measures to revive Belt and Road’s port | Nikkei Asia

“Pakistan’s federal and regional governments are taking a series of actions, including giving the status of regional subcapital and promoting tourism, to revive the struggling town of Gwadar, whose port — built and operated by the Chinese — hardly receives ship calls.

Experts believe these actions will not work unless infrastructure gaps are addressed in Gwadar, which is the center stage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the $50 billion Pakistan component of the Belt and Road Initiative.”

Read the full article @ Nikkei Asia (paywall):

Djibouti-China marriage ‘slowly unravelling’ as investment project disappoints | France 24

“Djibouti, a major geopolitical crossroads in the Horn of Africa, goes to the polls in a presidential election on Friday. Much of the international discourse about the country focuses on China bringing it into its economic orbit through the Belt and Road Initiative. But experts say that Djibouti illustrates the limitations of China’s vast investment and loans project.”

Read the full article @ France 24:

Chinese Infrastructure Projects in Indonesia Face Fresh Delays | The Diplomat

“Indonesia’s government should tread cautiously when green-lighting large-scale Chinese infrastructure projects.

On March 23, the Indonesian news magazine Tempo reported that the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Rail project, one of China’s main Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in the country, has been delayed due to financial and environmental considerations.”

Read the full article @ The Diplomat:

Analyst: Malaysia plays major role in Belt & Road Initiative | CGTN

“Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is meeting his counterparts from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines this week. Wang met with Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Thursday. Shan Saeed, a chief economist at Juwai IQI’s Malaysia office, joined CGTN’s Global Watch from Kuala Lumpur to share his insights.”

See the clip @ CGTN:

China, Indonesia vow to deepen ties in vaccines, BRI, marine security | Global Times

“China and Indonesia will deepen vaccine cooperation, push forward on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects and enhance cooperation in the marine field, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi agreed, during a meeting in East China’s Fujian Province on Friday.

China is deepening cooperation with Indonesia on vaccines and discussing proceeding with mutual recognition for health codes to facilitate personnel exchange as early as possible. Wang hopes that Indonesia can support the implementation of China’s “Spring Seedling Action” in Indonesia, making Chinese citizens in the country receive their COVID-19 vaccines earlier.”

Read the full article @ Global Times:

China, Thailand sign agreement on high-speed rail line, set to open in 2026 | Global Times

“Thai transportation authorities and Chinese construction corporations signed a construction agreement for the first phase of the Thailand-China High Speed Rail on Monday, a new step forward for the long-awaited rail project that could link the two Asian countries.

The first 251-kilometer leg connecting the Thai capital, Bangkok, and Nakhon Ratchasima, better known as Korat, in northeastern Thailand, is expected to be completed and open to traffic in 2026, China’s national broadcaster CCTV said on Monday.”

Read the full article @ Global Times:

Iran, China sign deal on ‘Belt and Road’ project | Anadolu Agency

“Iran and China signed a much-anticipated 25-year strategic cooperation agreement on Saturday, as part of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative.
The document was signed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his Chinese counterpart Wang Li in a ceremony in Tehran attended by top officials of the two countries. Wang arrived in the Iranian capital Friday on a two-day visit as part of his regional tour, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between China and the US.
The cooperation agreement aims to bolster economic cooperation between Tehran and Beijing and paves the way for Iran’s participation in the “Belt and Road” Initiative, a massive infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe, with a focus on the private sector.

The $400 billion deal had been on anvil since January 2016 when Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to visit Iran following the signing of the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.”

Read the full article @ Anadolu Agency:

We’re part of China’s BRI but India our ‘most important partner’: Bangladesh foreign advisor | ThePrint

“Bangladesh has said it is “not going to choose” between India and China as it expressed desire to join the “Indo-Pacific relationship”, though it is part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“We are part of China’s BRI but we are very willing to be a part of the Indo-Pacific relationship… we are not going to choose [between India and China],” Gowher Rizvi, international affairs advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said during a virtual seminar hosted by London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies Tuesday.”

Read the full article @ ThePrint:

Thailand’s land bridge rail-and-port project “to be unveiled in June” | Global Construction Review

“The Thai government will reveal the location of its planned “land bridge” between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea in June, the country’s transport minister Saksayam Chidchob has said.

The plan is to build two deepwater ports on either side of one of Thailand’s narrowest regions, linked by a 100km railway and motorway, so that cargo ships sailing between the west Pacific and the Middle East can use the land bridge as a relay, allowing them to avoid the Malacca Strait at Singapore, the world’s most congested sea corridor.

The land bridge concept has replaced the long-mulled idea of building a costly canal.”

Read the full article @ Global Construction Review:

China and Pakistan fall out over Belt and Road frameworks | Nikkei Asia

“China and Pakistan are embroiled in their most serious disagreement relating to the Belt and Road Initiative, causing the annual bilateral summit of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be delayed.”

Read the full article @ Nikkei Asia (paywall):

Turkey, Iran, Pakistan rail link to China’s Belt and Road | Nikkei Asia

“The governments of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan will revive a transnational rail service linking Istanbul, Tehran and Islamabad in 2021. The ITI transnational railroa is expected to enhance connectivity with China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) by providing a rail connection between China and Turkey, Nikkei Asia has learned.”

Read the full article @ Nikkei Asia (paywall):

The United Front: A Lesser-Known Side of Chinese Presence in Switzerland | The Geneva Observer

“The influence of China on the world economy and international politics increases from day to day. Many economic or diplomatic actors are wondering about their relationship with the Chinese state, struggling to grasp all its facets. One facet of the Chinese party-state that we have difficulty identifying, despite its presence in Switzerland, is the United Front.”

Read the full article @ The Geneva Observer:

Tale of two Belt and Road Initiative port projects in Malaysia shows limits of Chinese money | SCMP

“The Kuantan Port expansion and Melaka Deepwater Port projects show that while China may provide funds, domestic actors also play an important role.
Despite Malaysia’s political turmoil, the Kuantan project continued to receive government support, but the Melaka project is a different story.”

Read the full article @ SCMP (paywall):

Did a Belt and Road project in Malaysia just crash and burn? | SCMP

“The government of the Malaysian state of Melaka has terminated an agreement with the main developer of a Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure project after years of delays, raising questions about its future and the Malaysian government’s commitment to other projects under the strategy.

The Melaka Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement that the agreement with KAJ Development on the Melaka Gateway mixed development had been ended after the developer failed to complete the 246.45-hectare maritime initiative, which it signed on to in October 2017 and was meant to include port facilities, economic parks and tourist attractions on three artificially constructed islands.”

Read the full article @ SCMP (paywall):

Thailand and China sign delayed deal on Belt and Road rail line | Nikkei Asia

“Thai and Chinese official on Wednesday signed an agreement for a 50.6 billion baht ($1.62 billion) segment of a high-speed rail line, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road cross-border infrastructure initiative.”

Read the full article @ Nikkei Asia (paywall):

China’s belt and road: from Malaysia to Philippines, Asean projects face roadblocks | SCMP

“Chinese firms have since 2013 signed deals with Asean nations to build projects such as railways, bridges, dams and special economic zones.
But many have been slow to start, with negotiations over loan amounts, environmental concerns and corruption causing years-long delays.”

Read the full article @ SCMP (paywall):

BRI and beyond update | Baker McKenzie

“We regularly share this Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) media coverage bulletin, so our growing BRI Community across Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America can remain ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest developments in the market.”

Read the full bulletin @ Baker McKenzie:

Contract for Kenya’s China-funded railway ruled ‘illegal’ | SCMP

“When Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted African leaders at last week’s China-Africa Summit, he singled out Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway, a multibillion-dollar Chinese-funded Belt and Road Initiative project, for helping to move cargo during the coronavirus pandemic.

Xi congratulated Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta for ensuring the uninterrupted flow of cargo from the Port of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast into the East African hinterland via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which first started operating in 2017. Kenya’s decision, he said, had helped keep trade flowing in the region despite freight restrictions required by Covid-19 containment measures.”

Read full article @ SCMP (paywall):

Danger ahead: US bumps in China’s global belt and road | SCMP

“Beijing’s ambitions to link countries and continents through infrastructure have hit a hazard in Romania, with Bucharest abandoning plans for a joint nuclear energy project. American pressure could mean a rethink in strategy for other small allies that do business with Chinese partners, observers say.”

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Tanzania President cancels ‘killer Chinese loan’ worth $10 bln | Khabarhub

“Tanzania President John Magufuli has cancelled a Chinese loan worth $10 billion saying that the terms of the Chinese loan agreement could only be accepted by a drunken man.

The aforesaid loan had been signed by his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete to construct a port at Mbegani creek in Bagamoyo.

His predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete had signed the deal with Chinese investors to build the port on condition that they would get 30 years to guarantee on the loan and 99 years uninterrupted lease, according to local media reports.”

Read the full article @ Khabarhub: