China wants to invest billions of dollars in a new Silk Road – a global bloc to kickstart trade across the world.
The old Silk Road was a 10,000 mile trade route from East to West dating back to the time of Italian explorer Marco Polo in the 1300s.
Then, merchants carried silk and spices across Asia to the hungry markets of the West.
Now, Chinese premier Xi-Jinping wants to build another trading empire and has a trillion US dollars earmarked for his visionary plan.
The money will be spent as Chinese investment in infrastructure and business in countries as far apart as Chile, Ghana and Pakistan.
Xi-Jinping’s dream is an economic powerhouse to bring prosperity to impoverished countries.
His vision is not seen as so bountiful in some corners.
The glittering summit to trigger the new silk Road was boycotted by most Western leaders, especially in Europe, while others, such as India, suspect China is trying to empire build by buying influence with expensive gifts and to expand into the Indian Ocean.
Only Italy is attending the summit, while the notable absentees include the US, UK and Germany,
The plan includes bridges across Central Asia, railways linking China and Russia and bridges in Bangladesh.
The Silk Road initiative is actually two separate proposals – the Silk Road economic belt pumping out goods with trade links to Europe and a sea route from China to Africa, the Middle East and South America.
Dreams gathers dust
The Silk Road covers 65% of the world population and around a third of global GDP moving around a quarter of all goods and services.
The idea is not new. Xi-Jinping first put the idea forward in a speech in 2013.
Since then, his dream has grown and remains as much as most of the projects are still gathering dust in a wait for funds.
Critics say China is looking to build new markets away from the US and Europe and to grab their trade.
The government will also plug a diplomatic as well as economic gap as Brexit and protectionism in the US leave them in retreat from the rest of the world, giving China more geopolitical influence.