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China’s 'Belt and Road' push brings risks, rewards to Mideast

China's digital and satellite advances offer new regional opportunities and challenges for the United States in countering Beijing's economic influence in the region.
Workers take down a Belt and Road Forum panel outside the venue of the forum in Beijing on April 27, 2019. - Chinese President Xi Jinping urged dozens of world leaders on April 27 to reject protectionism and invited more countries to participate in his global infrastructure project after seeking to ease concerns surrounding the programme. (Photo by GREG BAKER / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

With the launch of the final satellite of the BeiDou Satellite Navigation System (BDS) into orbit in late June, China has finally completed its quest to become a space power. Introduced in 2015, the BeiDou satellite navigation network is part of the Digital Silk Road (DSR), a digital corridor of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Completed six months ahead of schedule, the system is an alternative to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia’s GLONASS and Europe’s Galileo.

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