The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China’s grand plan to revive ancient trading routes over both land and sea. Since its inception in late 2013, how China has influenced Southeast Asia through the BRI has become central to the debate on China’s keynote global outreach strategy.
For Southeast Asia, the BRI is not a brand-new policy initiative. China and ASEAN states have enjoyed extensive economic cooperation in past decades and had previously worked together on many large-scale projects. Almost all regional states appear to be generally supportive of the BRI because the initiative promises to meet their infrastructure and economic needs.