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Belt and Road

Cautious EU holds China's Europe ambitions in check

But some Central and Eastern European countries find China a better friend

The building of the Belgrade-to-Budapest high-speed rail line backed by China has been delayed after intervention by the European Union.

BELGRADE, Serbia -- Six months after a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a China-backed high-speed rail project to link the capitals of Serbia and Hungary in November, the site is covered with weeds and there are no signs of any activity.

The project, agreed between the three countries in 2013, is a key part in Europe of China's Belt and Road Initiative aimed at creating an expansive economic bloc along sea and land transport routes spanning Europe to Southeast Asia. The majority of the rail line's estimated $4 billion in total construction costs is to be funded by Chinese loans.

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