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Adam Minter

China's Answer to Europe's Needs

Will trade run one way along the New Silk Road?
An unequal partnership.

An unequal partnership.

Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Although Budapest and Beijing are separated by 6,000 miles, they've just agreed to become much closer. In a quiet ceremony held last weekend, Hungary became the first European country to sign onto China’s New Silk Road initiative, a multi-billion dollar program to build up infrastructure and trade along the land and maritime routes of the ancient Silk Road that stretched across Asia and Europe.

Right now, Hungary’s participation probably won't have an impact beyond its own borders. But as others countries follow its lead, China’s economic and political relationship with Europe will likely undergo a dramatic shift -- one that may not be to the European Union's liking.