China's Belt and Road Initiative: Lending Hands with Claws
With the economic crisis unfolding in Sri Lanka, there is a renewed interest in better understanding and analyzing the Belt and Road Initiative.
By Akhil Ramesh
With the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, there is renewed interest in better understanding and analysing the Belt and Road Initiative in order to keep nations from falling into China's orbit and, as a result, falling into its "debt traps."
This issue brief broadens the scope of analysis on the BRI by focusing on projects in South East Asia that may be more geoeconomically and strategically significant than debt traps, deep sea ports, or even power rivalry.
While China has taken advantage of the region's infrastructure deficit, as it has in other parts of the world, the old adage "the devil is in the details" applies to the BRI in the region.
This paper examines the cost of road construction per mile as well as the role of special economic zones (SEZ) in shaping the regional trade architecture in the Mekong region.