As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares for an unprecedented third term in office, one wonders what the fate of the centerpieces of his foreign policy – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – will be.
Announced with much fanfare in 2013, the 'belt' denotes a land network of roads and railroads connecting Chinese manufacturing hubs to markets across Eurasia. The 'road' refers to sea routes connecting major Chinese ports to others in Asia, Africa, and beyond. Augmented transport connectivity was to facilitate the easy movement of Chinese goods to South East Asia, the Gulf Countries, North Africa, and Europe. According to official sources from Beijing, the colossal initiative was meant to strengthen regional cooperation.