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Opinion: Belt and Road: A Symphony in Need of a Strong Conductor

By Keyu Jin
A train carrying cotton from Central Asia’s Uzbekistan arrives in a station in Northwest China’s Xi’an, Shaanxi province on Feb. 24. It was the first freight train to arrive from Uzbekistan since Xi’an started a Central Asia freight service as part of the Belt and Road program. Photo: IC
A train carrying cotton from Central Asia’s Uzbekistan arrives in a station in Northwest China’s Xi’an, Shaanxi province on Feb. 24. It was the first freight train to arrive from Uzbekistan since Xi’an started a Central Asia freight service as part of the Belt and Road program. Photo: IC

In just a few weeks, the Chinese president will host the Belt and Road summit — Xi Jinping’s landmark program to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Reactions to the project have been, understandably, mixed.

The vision of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative is essentially about connectivity —facilitated by infrastructure. Many developing countries urgently need investment in roads, railroads, power plants and grids, airports and ports. But to make physical connectivity work, policy coordination and regulatory harmonization also need to follow suit. In the end, the initiative is about global cooperation and integration.

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