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Opinion

Will China let Belt and Road die quietly?

Xi's global investment program faces domestic criticism amid economic and fiscal worries

| China
A construction worker takes a long look at China-funded Sinamale bridge in Male, Maldives.   © Reuters

The news for China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been unrelentingly bad.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia has canceled two mega BRI projects, including a $20 billion railway, citing high costs. Pakistan's new government has called for a review of the crown jewel of BRI -- China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to which China has committed more than $60 billion in funding. Myanmar's government has just told Beijing that construction of a suspended China-funded hydropower dam would not be allowed to resume. The Maldives, the tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, is trying to renegotiate down the $3 billion debt -- equal to two thirds of its gross domestic product -- it has borrowed from China to fund BRI projects.

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