Jennifer Hillman and David Sacks are codirectors of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report on a U.S. Response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is co-chaired by Jacob J. Lew and Gary Roughead.
In the fall of 2013, shortly after assuming power, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt,” extending from China to Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and a sea-based “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” connecting China to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe via major sea lanes.
Together, these came to form the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), still known officially in Chinese as “One Belt, One Road,” which quickly became Xi’s signature foreign policy undertaking. Under BRI, Chinese banks and companies seek to fund and build roads, power plants, ports, railways, 5G networks, and fiber-optic cables around the world.