EU launches Asia strategy to rival China’s ‘new Silk Road’

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As doubts grow over China’s vast “Belt and Road” trade infrastructure project, the EU is launching an alternative plan for Asia that it says will not saddle countries with debt they cannot repay.

EU member countries are expected to sign off on the new “Asia connectivity strategy” which aims to improve transport, digital and energy links while promoting environmental and labour standards in time for a major summit of European and Asian leaders next month.

Brussels insists the scheme is not a response to any other player, but its launch comes as the sheen fades on Beijing’s “new Silk Road” initiative, which envisions railways, roads and ports being built across the globe using billions of dollars in Chinese loans.

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