Xi Jinping’s global infrastructure investment programme threatens the west with more than economic dominance. He’s playing a serious political game
Earlier this year the first direct freight train from China to the UK arrived at a depot in Barking, east London, carrying containers loaded with consumer goods. Named East Wind, it took 16 days to travel 7,500 miles across eight countries, halving the time it would have taken by sea. A few months later the train made its first return journey, delivering Scotch whisky, pharmaceuticals and baby products to the gargantuan wholesale markets of Yiwu, on China’s east coast. Last year 1,702 freight trains from China arrived in Europe, double the total in 2015, and more services are being added.