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Chinese President Xi Jinping toasts to the country’s Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing Chinese President Xi Jinping makes a toast at a summit on the country’s Belt and Road Initiative in Beijing, April 26, 2019 (Photo for Kyodo via AP Images).

China’s Belt and Road ‘Reboot’ Is Really a Foreign Influence Campaign

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019

Of the many paradoxes surrounding China today, the trajectory of its massive Belt and Road Initiative has become one of the most puzzling. Even as the expansive plan has become essentially synonymous with Chinese foreign policy in general, it remains increasingly difficult to nail down with precision what, exactly, it is.

The Belt and Road Initiative today is most readily identifiable as an infrastructure development program, since media coverage tends to focus on flagship projects like ports and power plants, as well as the fallout when some of them go awry. But while Chinese Communist Party leaders hail the scheme in lofty economic terms, in practice, it has become something of a catchall for an almost catholic variety of loosely connected projects and initiatives overseas, all bearing its name. ...

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