China pledges $50 billion short for Southeast Asia: Study

China pledged billions of dollars to infrastructure projects across Southeast Asia, but many of them were never built, according to a study by an Australian think tank published on March 27.

Sydney's Lowy Institute found that since 2015, Beijing has not allocated more than $50 billion promised to development projects in the region.

More than half of the projects were canceled, scaled back or unlikely to continue.

Through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing has plowed billions into Southeast Asia and other regions in an effort to expand its economic and political power.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that the landmark initiative will spur global economic growth and use it to achieve „the modernization of every country in the world.”

But Alexandre Dayant and Grace Stanhope of the Lowy Institute say political instability, poor engagement with local stakeholders and declining interest in fossil fuel projects are hampering China's plans in Southeast Asia.

The pair found that China has significantly reduced its investment in Southeast Asia in recent years and has moved toward financing smaller projects.

However, China remains the largest infrastructure partner in Southeast Asia – involved in 24 of the region's 34 mega projects.

Of those 24 programs, there was a 33% completion rate, the study found.

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