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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the Australia China state and provincial leaders forum in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 19, 2014 (AP photo by Jason Reed).

China’s Marshall Plan: All Silk Roads Lead to Beijing?

Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014

For centuries, the trade routes of the Silk Road have evoked spices, empires and deserts. However, if a new strategy planned by the Chinese government proves successful, it may well come to be associated with China’s ascent in world politics.

On Nov. 8, during the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $40 billion for the creation of a Silk Road Investment Fund to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia. Only five days after the APEC announcement, the China Securities Journal reported that “relevant departments” are trying to establish a private Maritime Silk Road Bank with an initial paid-in capital of 5 billion yuan, or roughly $810 million. The bank will be largely funded by an organization called Maritime Silk Road Investment Fund—not to be confused with the one announced by Xi—and a number of unspecified members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). ...

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