A signature policy of President Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at bringing China closer to the world through investments and infrastructure projects.
BRI refers to overland routes connecting China to Europe through Central Asia, as well as to South Asia and Southeast Asia; while "Road" denotes a maritime network linking China to major ports across Asia, Africa, and Europe. I Photo: Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Park
With an unprecedented influx of cash injected into nearly 150 countries, China boasts that it has transformed the world - and it is not entirely wrong. Tessa Wong reported for BBC News.
However, Beijing's massive gamble hasn't entirely unfolded as expected. Was it worth it? BRI refers to overland routes connecting China to Europe through Central Asia, as well as to South Asia and Southeast Asia; while "Road" denotes a maritime network linking China to major ports across Asia, Africa, and Europe.
It began with substantial state-driven investments in foreign hard infrastructure. The majority of the estimated $1 trillion (£820 billion) has been allocated to energy and transportation projects, including power plants and railways.
Beijing promoted this as an economic win-win, assuring other countries that these investments would stimulate development.
At the same time, at home, it marketed the BRI as a means to support Chinese companies, boost the economy, and enhance the country's reputation. It achieved limited success in certain objectives, such as internationalizing the yuan and addressing Chinese companies' overcapacity.
However, China reaped significant economic benefits from trade. A series of agreements provided access to more resources, such as oil, gas, and minerals, particularly as the BRI's focus expanded to include Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
Approximately $19.1 trillion worth of goods were traded between China and BRI countries in the past decade.
The BRI reduced China's reliance on US soybeans and lessened its dependence on Japan, South Korea, and the US, as noted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).