Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao, announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, launching one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects. Critics pointed to the massive debts for partner countries and the economic advantages for China. BRI has helped to connect partner economies and has promoted trade and economic growth, while the US has been challenged to offer a more appealing economic vision. Review the accomplishments and downsides of the BRI and the implications for US policy. Presented in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Albuquerque.

William Itoh is Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A career foreign service officer, he served as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council at the White House and as Ambassador to Thailand. He holds BA and MA degrees in history from UNM.