China’s Belt and Road Initiative criticised for poor standards and ‘wasteful’ spending

China’s massive infrastructure spending in Southeast Asian nations under the Belt and Road Initiative has run into a series of problems including substandard work and money wasted on unprofitable projects, a new report has warned.

The Belt and Road Initiative, launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, encompasses an estimated US$1 trillion of projects – many of which are road and rail links – in more than 125 countries.

But the initiative has been overshadowed by controversy, including persistent warnings that poorer countries will be burdened with unsustainable debts and claims that Beijing is using it to extend its geopolitical influence – claims the Chinese government has denied.

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Teddy Ng