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The New Silk Road connects South and Central Asia with the Middle East and Europe much like China’s Han Dynasty Silk Road, established more than two thousand years ago. It is a demonstration of President Xi Jinping’s economic efforts to enter new markets and obtain economic clout over the region’s vast oil and gas reserves. It also demonstrates President Xi’s political efforts to minimize potential conflict in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region by improving economic conditions throughout the region. Although the New Silk Road Free Trade Area provides numerous benefits to China both domestically and internationally, its ultimate aim is to reconnect the region, develop trading points, and complete infrastructure linkages.
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