CEIC Insight -The Belt and Road Initiative






China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) is a plan to promote international cooperation and more inclusive development around the world, according to China’s National Development and Reform Commission. It was initially proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 as a plan to build connections along two historical trade routes. The Belt, connecting China and Europe through Russia and Central Asia; and the Road, which refers to the old maritime Silk Road that covers the ports and shipping lanes from China to Venice via the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean while also connecting China to the South Pacific. 

Two years after the announcement of the BRI, the first official document, named Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, was published and served as a blueprint for the initiative. It is considered the corner-stone of the BRI, because it is issued by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, with the State Council’s authorisation. The blueprint emphasises five key principles: mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.