China’s Belt and Road Initiative Advances in Southeast Asia - Exclusive Geospatial Analysis Reveals China’s Investment in the Region

By: Radiant Solutions

Posted on Mar 18, 2019

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious global infrastructure investment plan that was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Formerly known as One Belt One Road, BRI consists of both land-based and maritime lines of communications. The land-based belt corridors radiate out from China to key trading destinations in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is a parallel effort to secure China’s maritime trade along critical sea lines of communication including Oceania.

This volume will feature the first installment of our BRI analysis, introducing how Radiant Solutions is revealing formerly hidden Chinese investments in strategically vital port and infrastructure projects. Learn how we used land classification analysis and monitoring to identify urban expansion and development, plus crowdsourcing to validate construction sites for Chinese financed infrastructure projects.

How do you identify the global risk of nations losing their most valuable economic and strategic assets?  Watch the story unfold across Asia, Africa, and Europe with Radiant Spotlight.

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Sneak Peek:

Melaka Gateway Port LULC Study

Malaysia occupies a key strategic position adjacent to the Strait of Malacca. In recognition of this fact, China’s EXIM Bank pledged loans to the government of Malaysia during the tenure of former PM Najib Razak between April 2009 and May 2018 for a wide range of BRI-related infrastructure projects. These include the East Coast Rail Link, which would ultimately connect to the Chinese mainland via Thailand and Laos; Kuantan Port on Malaysia’s South China Sea coast; and Melaka Gateway port. China’s single largest investment is the Forest City development, a series of artificial islands between peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. This development cost more than $100 billion USD and was primarily financed by Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, a property development company based in Guangdong Province, China.

Each of these BRI investments supports China’s broader strategic objective of securing strategic chokepoints in the Indo-Pacific region. Additionally, Kuantan Port, Melaka Gateway and Forest City all provide potential future basing options for the Chinese military. Concerns over the potential loss of Malaysian sovereignty to China helped lead to the return to power of Malaysian nationalist Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who ousted Najib Razak as Prime Minister in 2018. Dr. Mahathir has pledged to restructure Malaysia’s BRI investments.