But there are notable absences, including key Chinese diplomatic partners, such as Sri Lanka and Turkey, as well as the country's largest trading partner, the United States. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature global infrastructure policy. First announced in 2013, the project promises to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to Asia, Africa and Europe.
Since its launch, the Chinese government claims up to 150 countries have signed on board, at least in principle. In the first half of 2019, overseas loans as part of the project have already totaled more than $90 billion.