In late February 2018, this program was further advanced with the creation of a Digital Belt and Road International Center of Excellence in Thailand. This center is the result of cooperation between the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In 2018, Xinjiang Autonomous Region will invest 450 billion RMB in infrastructure.
Investment projects will focus mainly on the expansion of Urumqi Airport, and the province’s rail and road networks.
These new investments reflect China’s desire to make Xinjiang an important hub to Central Asia and Pakistan.
Australia, the United States, India and Japan are reportedly discussing the formation of a competing project for China’s Belt and Road initiative. The best option for the EU is to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative to better protect its interests.
Since 2009, China has become Malaysia’s largest trading partner. Under Xi Jinping’s presidency, Chinese investment in Malaysia has seen strong growth. While most investments have been concentrated in the infrastructure, transportation and real estate sectors, new, more diversified investments are expected.
The 2nd MEDports forum was held in Marseille on February 7-8, 2017.
The MEDports forum aims at boosting cooperation among ports located on the North and Southern coasts of the Mediterranean sea. A MEDports association was inaugurated at the conclusion of the forum.
During this event a special session was dedicated to the Belt and Road Initiative.
In late January 2018, China announced the forthcoming creation of commercial courts dedicated to the “Belt and Road” initiative by the Supreme Court. This new judicial institution would consist of three courts. The headquarters would be located in Beijing. Court in Xian would settle commercial disputes over the new Continental Silk Roads; and in Shenzhen, the court would focus on the various issues related to the sea routes.
From 19 to 22 January 2018, the China-CELAC Forum took place in Santiago de Chile. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi encouraged Latin American and Caribbean states to expand their trade with China.
The Belgian port of Zeebrugge is expected to become a new hub of the Belt and Road initiative. Zeebrugge, the port of Bruges, is the second largest container port in Belgium after Antwerp, and the sixth in the Channel-North Sea region (2016). It is also the leading European port for car transportation.
Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the European Union’s ambassador to China, announced on January 10 that the European Union was working on a connection project between Europe and Asia that could be linked to China’s Belt and Road initiative.
On January 12, 2018, a new fiber optic network connecting Nepal to China was inaugurated in Kathmandu. Until then, Nepal was entirely dependent on India for its access to internet. Another cable had already been launched by China in December