Tag "Belt and Road Initiative"

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Eurasia Politics

Hungarians protest encroaching Chinese Influence

Recently, Hungary’s President Orban has faced a wave of protests in response to plans to build a Chinese satellite campus at a Budapest University at the cost of $1.8 billion. The Hungarian public have objected on the grounds that the project could undercut the country’s higher education and increase the influence of China’s communist authorities in Hungary and across Europe. If the project goes ahead, there could be benefits for Sino-Hungarian relations but possibly at the cost of Hungary’s relations with its European neighbours and the stability of Orban’s premiership. 

Europe Security

The political implications of Switzerland’s F-35 acquisition

Switzerland has finally selected Lockheed Martin’s F-35A for its Air Force 2030 program. The deal, with 36 aircraft, is expected to be worth $6.5 billion. Critics have argued that the F-35, with its sophisticated stealth and networking capabilities, is too much for a small country like Switzerland that requires only an air-policing aircraft. The decision to select the F-35 exemplifies how much politics are involved in purchasing military hardware worth billions of dollars.

Africa Covid-19 Politics

Heightened Human Security Concerns in South Sudan May Lay the Foundations of Great Power Competition in North Africa

A South Sudanese famine, exacerbated by recent large-scale flooding, is threatening to deal a shattering blow to the world’s youngest state. Wracked by domestic instability and with a government refusing to acknowledge the danger faced by its people, the potential for a humanitarian disaster is enormous. Now is the chance for the UN and the West to reaffirm its commitment to stability in North Africa. 

International South and Central Asia

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: How Delhi is losing the Indian-Chinese soft power game in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has increasingly become a focus of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the last decade. The Hambantota port development project is a notable example, an ambitious but costly endeavour by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which was in the end handed over by the government to a Chinese enterprise on a 99-year lease in 2017 to reduce its spiralling debt burden.

Europe Politics

Can the EU work with Biden in the Balkans?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) signed in December provides access to the Chinese market for European investors while protecting China’s existing rights in EU trade. However, US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, voiced concern over the deal, stating Washington would welcome early consultations with Brussels when addressing Beijing’s economic relations. The lack of coordinated EU-US strategic thinking on China poses a risk to Euro-Atlantic integration in the Western Balkans. 

China Politics

China’s new Silk Road or debt-trap diplomacy?

Italy’s decision to join China’s new Silk Road project last month has heightened Western nations’ concerns over Chinese expansionism.

Europe Politics

Italy Embraces Belt and Road Initiative

On March 23, Italy formally endorsed China’s landmark Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The new arrangement risks riling fellow EU members, the United States and the rest of the G7. It could also see a seismic shift in China’s Europe strategy. Xi Jinping’s increasingly ubiquitous reinvigoration of the Silk Road will result in further involvement in European politics, business and defence for years to come, with wide-ranging repercussions. Italy’s decision places itself in an invidious position and will meet disapproval from traditional allies.

Insights South and Central Asia

Between a Bear and a Dragon: New challenges for Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev is stepping down. This exposes the new leader to challenges of balancing Kazakh interests between China & Russia

Economics South and Central Asia

Myanmar is set to embrace Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative

After years of interrupted progression with Chinese-backed projects the Myanmar government has agreed to speed up progress. This signals that relations between China and Myanmar are good and that Myanmar is seeking for the foreign investments it needs to improve its economy.

Europe Politics

The dragon over Visegrad: China in central Europe

China’s modern successor to the Silk Road – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – has received heavy criticism from the West as a tool that could be used to divide Europe through economic influence. Just how well-established is China’s influence in Central Europe – and does Chinese investment represent a threat?