The China-Southeast Asia Economic Corridor is an important component of the BRI and will link Yunnan Province to Singapore.
On November 20 and 21, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping made an official visit to Manila and met with his counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. Philippines are now officially part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
China and Singapore upgraded their Free trade Agreement. This FTA now mentions the Belt and Road Initiative.
Both countries also agreed to further develop the International Land Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) or Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.
At a forum organised by the IMF and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia, China’s Vice Minister of Finance, Ms. Zou Jiayi, reassured the international community about China’s commitment to solve possible debt issues.
“Belt and Road Initiative” infrastructure development and construction projects have great impact in the poorest rural areas, according to AidData.
On 21 August 2018, the newly elected Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir announced the cancellation of three BRI projects in Malaysia, including the “East Coast Rail Link” (ECRL) and two pipelines. But Malaysia is still member of the BRI.
In September 2018, a Sino-Japanese committee on public and private investment along the new Silk Roads might be held in Beijing.
China and Myanmar continue negotiating on the construction of Kyaukpyu Port in Rakhine State. Kyaukpyu is expected to become a major economic center on the Bay of Bengal through the construction of a deep-water port and the opening of a special economic zone.
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.
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.