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New Silk Road to bind China and Central Asia with rail and pipelines

Rising gas supplies are at the centre of a burgeoning new regional relationship

China's president Xi Jinping has put the development of the so-called New Silk Road – aimed at reviving the historic trade and cultural ties between China and its western neighbours in Central Asia – at the centre of his foreign policy. Where traders once beat a path between China and Europe by foot and caravan in search of wealth and adventure, Beijing envisions a 21st century version of the route where roads, high-speed rail lines and pipelines link the economies of China and its neighbours.  It would be easy to dismiss it all as little more than a geopolitical gimmick aimed at winning new friends for Beijing, but Xi has thrown considerable political and economic weight behind the pro

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