This graphic maps the participation of Eurasian states in different international organizations, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economy Union (EAEU).
This graphic maps China’s infrastructure investment in Europe related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including planned and completed railroads, ports and bridges, among other projects.
In September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping first announced his strategic vision of “One Belt, One Road” (subsequently renamed the “Belt and Road Initiative” or BRI) during a speech at Nazarbayev University in the Kazakh capital. In essence, the BRI is a massive Chinese project, involving more than 130 countries, over $600 billion in existing commitments, and a total price tag estimated in the trillions of dollars, to redevelop the ancient Silk Road trade routes running between China and Europe. In his speech at Nazarbayev University, Xi suggested that China and Central Asia cooperate to build “the Belt,” the continental part of the Chinese vision, as opposed to “the Road,” the maritime segment. The choice to unveil this enormous project in a country with a relatively low international profile suggests the significance that China attaches to Kazakhstan specifically as well as the broader region in which it is situated. Indeed, Central Asia and the South Caucasus will be a key part of the BRI and home to a number of major associated projects.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has both a land-based and a maritime component. This graphic provides an overview of the maritime element, the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI) which connects connects China to Europe and Africa via the Middle East. For an insight into the BRI in the Middle East, including its implications for China’s impact on the region, read Lisa Watanabe’s recent CSS Analyses in Security Policy here.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative seems to benefit only Central Asia’s richer countries.
Cynics often ask if China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has increased trade between China and its neighbors, or if it threatens to trap participants in debt. There are myriad reasons why countries sign on to the BRI. Some seek to plug gaps in domestic infrastructure, some to improve global trade ties, and some because China, with its population of 1.4 billion, is an attractive market for their goods.