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Asia Insight

China runs into Belt and Road barriers in South Asia

Countries try to slow Beijing's advance without provoking hostility

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan

COLOMBO -- For about three months, confidants of Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih have been holed up in an oceanfront building in Male, sifting through mountains of documents to answer an urgent question: How much money, exactly, does the region's smallest country owe China?

After years of pushing into South Asia with multibillion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure projects, China is encountering real pushback. Larger nations, too, are having second thoughts and signaling to Beijing that it will no longer be business as usual.

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