China continues to develop plans to implement its New Silk Road policy. Specifically, Beijing recently maneuvered to inject approximately $62bn USD into state-controlled “policy banks” in order to further development of the planned trade route. The strategy outlined by the Chinese government includes significant amounts of infrastructure development throughout the region, as well as already-implemented or under-construction natural gas pipelines. The project, if implemented successfully and in its entirety, would stretch from Beijing to Western Europe, as well as into parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, among other regions.
In a related maneuver, Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently visiting Pakistan, a country to which Beijing has pledged $45 billion to assist with infrastructure and energy development in the country. Pakistan recently joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s alternative to such Western-sponsored bodies like the World Bank, and highly values relations with Beijing. Apart from investing in Pakistani infrastructure, China seeks to curb the flow of insurgents from Pakistan to its restive western province of Xinjiang, where violence between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese has been frequent. Moreover, a shorter route to the Middle East and access to the Indian Ocean are also likely goals.
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