China Belt and Road dreams fade in Germany’s industrial heartland

Geopolitical tensions derail Duisburg’s hopes of trade bonanza

DUISBURG, Germany — Suad Durakovic, the owner of a truck driving school on the outskirts of the western German city of Duisburg, made it into Chinese newspapers in 2019 by testifying that Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative had triggered a local logistics industry boom.

Today, his business benefits from a shortage of qualified truckers, but not because of China’s global infrastructure development strategy.

“The Silk Road has not developed for us,” Durakovic told Nikkei Asia. “First it was COVID, then it was the Ukraine war, so the boom is no longer about Silk Road logistics.”

Duisburg, a city of half a million people, is located in Germany’s industrial heartland at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. A downturn in the country’s steel and coal industries in the 1990s and early 2000s battered its economy.

But the city found a savior in Chinese President Xi Jinping, who visited Duisburg in 2014 to officially make its inland port Europe’s main Belt and Road hub. While this fueled anticipation of a new heyday, recent events suggest the prospects are dimming.

Much of this stems from the Ukraine war and Germany’s awkward relationship with China.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz was the first European leader to visit Beijing since Xi secured a third term as party leader at the Communist Party Congress in October. But German attitudes have soured recently over China’s cozy relationship with Russia, Taiwan and human rights, as well as its growing trade deficit with the world’s second-biggest economy.

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China Announces New ASEAN Belt & Road Initiative Projects Centered Around Cambodia

The Phnom Penh-Bavet Highway which will ultimately link the Cambodian and Vietnamese capital cities

The 2022 ASEAN summit took place at the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, this past weekend, with China as an official guest. At the event, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced Beijing’s approval of Chinese investment in significant infrastructure projects in the ASEAN region.  

Among these is a US$1.6 billion expressway to be built from Phnom Penh to Bavet, at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, and financial support for a rail link between Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Vientiane, Laos, from which a high-speed rail link has already been constructed into China. 

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China-indebted Laos way more broke than advertised

World Bank predicts public debt will swell to 95% of GDP by year’s end while ‘hidden debts’ to China likely take the figure north of 120%


Laos will be hard-pressed to meet its external debt obligations. Photo: Faceboo

Laos’ public debt could climb to nearly 95% of GDP by the end of 2022, making it one of the most heavily indebted and mostly likely to default nations in Asia, according to World Bank estimates published this month

Significantly, the World Bank’s already dire debt figures do not encompass all of the small Southeast Asian nation’s liabilities.

Asia Times’ reporting and analysis show that Laos’ total debt, including other publicly guaranteed liabilities not included in headline figures, could take the state’s total financial obligations well over 100% of GDP for the first time ever this year. And that’s only the debt officially recognized by the Lao government.

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Road to nowhere:China’s Belt and Road Initiative at tipping point

Pakistan, Sri Lanka debt crises threaten Beijing’s regional influence

By Adnan Aamir, Marwaan Macan-Markar, Shaun Turton and Cissy Zhou – AUGUST 10, 2022

The drive to Pakistan’s port of Gwadar takes seven and a half hours from Karachi via the Makran coastal highway. Much of the 600-km route is deserted, with no restaurants, restrooms or even fuel stations. On a recent journey, around 200 vehicles in total could be counted during the entire drive.

Arriving in the city on Pakistan’s Indian Ocean coast, Chinese and Pakistani flags are ubiquitous, and Chinese-financed construction projects loom, but the city is spookily devoid of economic activity. Near the seafront, broad avenues are curiously empty of vehicles. Inside the city center, the roads are narrow, congested and covered with foul smelling drain water, with few multistory buildings aside from the Chinese-built port compound. 

It is hard to visualize Gwadar as the launch pad of a new global paradigm, but that is what Beijing would have the world believe.

Nine years ago it was plucked out of obscurity —  a backwater in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan region — and presented as China’s commercial window onto the Indian Ocean, a hub for regional integration under the Belt and Road Initiative, which was to harness the juggernaut of the Chinese economy to the goal of Asian economic development. 

The BRI is an audacious program of lending, aid and infrastructure contracts totaling over $880 billion, according to the American Enterprise Institute.

The initiative, which includes pledges to 149 countries, aims to promote Chinese-led regional integration — and sow economic dependence on Beijing.

First announced in a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 as the “Silk Road,” the BRI was fleshed out in April 2015 with the announcement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stretching from Gwadar to the Chinese city of Kashgar, in Xinjiang. The CPEC showcased the China-Pakistan “all-weather friendship” with $46 billion in pledged funds that has since grown to $50 billion. It was to be the backbone of the now renamed Belt and Road Initiative.

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Asia Stream: A tale of three cities

Asia is home to some of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities. Why do some of them fail?

Nikkei staff writersFebruary 18, 2022 11:59 JST

NEW YORK — Welcome to Nikkei Asia’s podcast: Asia Stream.

Every week, Asia Stream tracks and analyzes the Indo-Pacific with a mix of interviews and original reporting by our correspondents from across the globe.

New episodes are recorded weekly and available on Apple PodcastsSpotify and all other major platforms, and on our YouTube channel.


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Thái Lan sắp hưởng lợi khủng từ đường sắt Lào-Trung: Việt Nam đành “đứng ngoài cuộc chơi”?

VPDF –  20/01/2022 – 16:09

Thái Lan đã lên kế hoạch để tận dụng tuyến đường sắt Lào – Trung mới được khánh thành.

Thái Lan sắp hưởng lợi khủng từ đường sắt Lào-Trung: Việt Nam đành "đứng  ngoài

Thái Lan hưởng lợi từ đường sắt Lào – Trung

Theo China Daily, các chuyên gia cho biết Thái Lan sẽ thúc đẩy hơn nữa hoạt động thương mại quốc tế và kích thích nền kinh tế trong nước bằng cách tăng tốc kết nối với tuyến đường sắt Trung Quốc-Lào.

Tiếp tục đọc “Thái Lan sắp hưởng lợi khủng từ đường sắt Lào-Trung: Việt Nam đành “đứng ngoài cuộc chơi”?”

Campuchia: 30 năm nhìn lại

DANH ĐỨC 13/12/2021 6:00 GMT+7

TTCTThứ năm 14-11-1991, Hoàng thân Sihanouk hồi loan từ Bắc Kinh, cùng theo ông có hoàng tử Ranariddh. Chủ nhật 5-12-2021 vừa rồi, hoàng tử hồi hương từ Paris trong một quan tài, sau nhiều năm dài xa xứ. Cũng tuần rồi, Thủ tướng Hun Sen giới thiệu con trai cả là ứng viên thủ tướng thay ông. Trong 30 năm qua, Campuchia thay đổi chính thể, triều đại, nền kinh tế, song có một thứ không thay đổi: quan hệ với Trung Quốc.

9h sáng thứ hai 6-12-2021, báo Khmer Times hoan hỉ đăng tin: “Đại sứ Trung Quốc tại Campuchia Vương Văn Thiên cho biết dự kiến Campuchia sẽ sản xuất vắc xin Covid-19 vào năm tới”. Số là ông đại sứ sáng đầu tuần ấy dự lễ khánh thành một con đường ở tỉnh Prey Veng, nhân tiện báo tin tốt lành đó.

Ông Hun Sen (phải) và đại sứ Trung Quốc Vương Văn Thiên. Ảnh: AFP

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Mỏ kim loại khủng ở Lào: Việt Nam dừng bước, “của hiếm” đổ hết sang Trung Quốc

vpdf – Ngày đăng: 09/12/2021 – 17:17

Dự kiến hàng triệu tấn kali khai thác ở Lào sẽ được xuất khẩu sang Trung Quốc nhờ tuyến đường sắt cao tốc mới khánh thành.

Mỏ kim loại khủng ở Lào: Việt Nam dừng bước, "của hiếm" đổ hết sang Trung

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ASEAN needs more Belt and Road money, say ministers

China-led investments needed to assist COVID-damaged economies

Chinese high-speed trains are flagship Belt and Road Initiative projects that will dramatically improve connectivity in mainland Southeast Asia.    © APCK TAN, Nikkei staff writerSeptember 1, 2021 21:14 JST

SHANGHAI — Ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations called on Wednesday for more multilateral investments through China’s Belt and Road Initiative to support economic recovery while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to depress regional economic growth.

Meeting online at a Belt and Road Summit, ASEAN ministers said the region has benefited from the infrastructure and digital connectivity already brought about by BRI, but new initiatives are needed to create opportunities amid pandemic-induced uncertainties.

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G7 approves B3W plan to push back China’s one belt one road

giThe adoption of the US-inspired “Build Back Better World” (B3W) project came after President Joe Biden and leaders met to address “strategic competition with China, the White House said.

By Feeds -13/06/2021165

PC L Aqeel Ahmed

G7 leaders on Saturday adopted a rival plan to oppose China’s Belt and Road Initiative by helping build infrastructure in poorer nations in a “values-driven, high-standard and transparent” partnership.

The adoption of the US-inspired “Build Back Better World” (B3W) project came after President Joe Biden and leaders met to address “strategic competition with China and commit to concrete actions to help meet the tremendous infrastructure need in low- and middle-income countries”, the White House said.

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How China Is Weaponizing the Belt and Road Initiative

September 8, 2020 — Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President for International Diplomacy and Security Daniel Russel examines some of the findings of ASPI’s new report Weaponizing the Belt and Road Initiative. The report explores relevant Chinese doctrine, highlights the involvement of China’s People’s Liberation Army with the BRI, and assesses the potential military and geostrategic advantages China accrues from BRI ports and other projects. (9 min., 59 sec.)

To download the report visit:

Mỹ trừng phạt công ty Trung Quốc vì dự án tại Campuchia

16/09/2020 /Pháp luật TP.HCM

Mỹ trừng phạt một công ty Trung Quốc liên quan dự án khu du lịch tại Campuchia với cáo buộc phục vụ mục đích quân sự cũng như tham vọng “Vành đai và Con đường”.

Đường băng đang được doanh nghiệp Trung Quốc xây dựng tại sân bay quốc tế Dara Sakor của Campuchia. (Ảnh: THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Tờ South China Morning Post  đưa tin Bộ Tài chính Mỹ hôm 15-9 đã trừng phạt công ty Union Development Group của Trung Quốc liên quan dự án khu du lịch Dara Sakor ở Campuchia, với cáo buộc chuyển đổi phục vụ mục đích quân sự và phục vụ tham vọng “Vành đai và Con đường”.

Động thái cho thấy cuộc cạnh tranh ngày càng gay gắt của Mỹ với Trung Quốc hiện đang lan sang khu vực Đông Nam Á. Tiếp tục đọc “Mỹ trừng phạt công ty Trung Quốc vì dự án tại Campuchia”

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

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

Murray Hiebert

Murray Hiebert

Published: 1:30pm, 8 Sep, 2020 SCMP

Workers from the China Communications Constructions Company at the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link project in Malaysia. Photo: AFP

Workers from the China Communications Constructions Company at the construction site of the East Coast Rail Link project in Malaysia. Photo: AFPBarrels of ink have been spent on hyping up the Belt and Road Initiative, which Beijing launched with great fanfare in 2013. But in the intervening years, the programme has faced a raft of challenges as it sought to move across China’s southern border into Southeast Asia.The RWR Advisory Group in Washington, which monitors belt-and-road projects around the world, estimates that China has started work on or completed projects totalling US$200 billion in Southeast Asia in the five years beginning in 2013. But that number seems inflated to someone who has visited most of the countries in recent years.

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