Stories by Jonathan Hillman

Expert Voices

Trump may stop Huawei in U.S., but the underseas cable race continues

floating dock with workers installing underseas cable
Workers laying cable in the Baltic Sea. Photo: Jens Köhler/ullstein bild via Getty Images

President Trump's executive order and the Commerce Department’s “Entity List” create new challenges for Huawei’s 5G wireless technology in the U.S. But in the meantime, the Chinese telecom giant is racing ahead under the world’s seas.

Why it matters: Globally, about 380 submarine cables carry the vast majority of international data, from cloud computing to text messaging. These cables will only become more important with the arrival of 5G and other services that will increase the speed and volume of data being transferred.

Expert Voices

Belt and Road Forum a chance for Xi to address initiative's critics

nighttime view of Belt and Road Forum venue in Beijing
The Sunrise East Kempinski Hotel in Beijing, where the Belt and Road Forum is being held April 25–27. Photo: Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei via Getty Images

On Thursday Chinese President Xi Jinping will welcome leaders from 37 countries and delegates from over 150 countries at the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing — an opportunity to promote the initiative's successes and address issues raised by its critics.

The big picture: High-profile projects in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Montenegro and elsewhere have undercut the Belt and Road Initiative's promise to deliver "win-win" outcomes, appearing to benefit China at the expense of its partners. Xi will be aiming to repair the damage these scandals have done to the BRI brand.

Expert Voices

As China expands Belt and Road in Europe, its promise could diminish

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Croatia'd Andrej Plenkovic on a bridge in the rain
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the construction site of a Chinese-funded bridge in southern Croatia on April 11, 2019. Photo: Xinhua/Huang Jingwen via Getty Images

Greece joined China’s club of Central and Eastern European countries during the group’s meeting in Croatia Friday, in another symbolic victory for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) just weeks after China signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy.

The big picture: China has long insisted that this grouping, now the “17+1” format, will not undermine the European Union. But it has adopted very different investment strategies in EU and non–EU countries.