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China's Belt and Road Initiative Finds Shaky Ground in Eastern Europe

Aug 9, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (C) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a summit at the Belt and Road Forum on May 15, 2017, in Beijing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (C) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a summit at the Belt and Road Forum on May 15, 2017, in Beijing. China is keen on investing in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, but some obstacles are blocking its path.

As China expands its influence around the world, Europe has become a prime destination for Chinese investment and infrastructure projects. Chinese companies have poured over $300 billion into the Continent over the past decade, lately under the Belt and Road Initiative, to acquire strategic assets in Western Europe, develop energy and port infrastructure in Southern Europe and increase transport connectivity to Eastern Europe. Three former Soviet states – Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – have emerged as an important part of this effort, offering China an overland corridor to access the European market. Because of their small economies and their geographic position between Russia and the West, however, the countries will present a challenge for China's Belt and Road Initiative....

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