Commentary from the Web, Week 50, 2020

The Belt and Road Initiative and China's global economic vision OMFIF Webinar, December 11, 2020.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the world’s boldest geo-economic vision. In carrying out their flagship foreign-policy effort, China plans to spend over one trillion dollars on infrastructure touching over one hundred and thirty countries, and even beyond into the Arctic and outer space. While Beijing claims this is in the name of promoting global development, Washington is warning of a path to global dominance. Jonathan Hillman, Senior Fellow, Economics Program, and Director, Reconnecting Asia Project and Agatha Kratz, Adjunct Fellow (Non-resident), Reconnecting Asia Project and Economics Program of the Centre for Strategic & International Studies join Mark Sobel to discuss a Hillman’s latest book, Chinese commercial lending, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and sustainability.


China’s Belt and Road lending dries up SupChina, December 8, 2020.

New data compiled by researchers at Boston University show that China’s two largest policy banks have dramatically scaled down overseas lending.


Going Local: An Assessment of China’s Administrative-Level Activity in Latin America and the Caribbean  The Dialogue, December 7, 2020.

Chinese banks, companies, and governmental entities have for many years sought new avenues for engagement with the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region’s investment environments and political systems, whether through the acquisition of assets in strategic sectors or the cultivation of relationships at various levels of government and society. More recently, China has promoted a “multi- tiered” approach to engagement with the region to generate new pathways and opportunities for commercial deal making and political exchange, including a growing focus on engagement with local-level actors and entities in LAC. 

Thanks to Rasheed Griffith for this item.


Washington’s Backyard: The Caribbean Amid Sino-American Competition by Rasheed Griffith and Bradley Murg, The Diplomat, December 7, 2020.

China’s engagement with the region is altogether more patchy than many popular prognoses make out.

Despite the steady stream of commentary framing geopolitics in terms of a “new Cold War,” a return to bipolarity, and widespread recognition that Sino-American competition is expanding beyond the confines of the Indo-Pacific, one region remains generally overlooked: the Caribbean.


This weekly takes a Christmas break with the current issue, until January 9, 2021. Happy holidays to everyone, and best wishes for the coming year.