China Prepares to Invest $16.3 Billion in New Silk Road

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced the planned investment of $16.3 billion USD in a New Silk Road policy championed by Beijing. The intention of reviving the old route is historically significant for China, as it did and will serve as the linchpin of the route upon its completion. The vast majority of the funds will be doled out by state-owned Chinese policy bank, the China Development Bank, and utilized to build roads, modernize railways and spearhead gas and oil pipelines throughout the region. China sees the linking of Western provinces to Central Asian nations as an opportunity to develop its restive west and eliminate narcotics smuggling smuggling through Afghanistan. China also fears that separatist Uyghurs will find increasingly find refuge in poor Central Asian states, and has moved to bolster joint border security efforts.

China has already taken steps to develop new infrastructure in neighboring Tajikistan, where it has financed roads that lead from Tajiistan’s capital of Dushanbe to Western China. Beijing’s investment in Tajikistan alone will total nearly $6b USD over the next few years, with similar investments pledged to shore up Afghan institutions, road and railway infrastructure. The project, which hasn’t been given a timeline for completion, is expected to go beyond Central Asia and lead as far West as Europe.

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