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The “21st century Maritime Silk Road” has become a step nearer reality with the launch of a new fund to help raise the money. China is to raid its foreign currency reserves for some 60% of the $40bn infrastructure and trade financing mechanism – the Silk Road Fund. Two Chinese policy banks and the sovereign wealth fund will make up the difference. China maintains that the Silk Road economic belt is about more than trade and infrastructure linking Asian nations – it will incorporate capital flow, people-to-people exchanges and “understanding among peoples”.

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