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Xi Risks Silk Road Backlash to Remake China Center of World

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President Xi Jinping’s grand plan to make China the center of the world again by reviving the ancient Silk Road trading route faces obstacles at its first stop.

In Kazakhstan, through which Xi envisages pipelines, roads and railways revitalizing an economic belt that stretches half way around the world to Venice, China has struggled to gain a significant foothold. It’s failed in efforts to realize a free trade agreement mooted 22 years ago and, in 2009, the Kazakh president was forced to deny a plan to lease farmland to China after angry protests from a public wary of their neighbor’s growing power.