In this Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 photo, a construction worker cuts concrete in the port of the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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The long-mooted revival of the railway between Tripoli and the Lebanese-Syrian border may have finally found an investor, with profound implications not only for the economy of north Lebanon but for the balance of power in the wider Middle East.The railway, one of the transport projects listed in the government's Capital Investment Plan presented at the recent CEDRE investment conference, would provide China with a means to transport materials from Tripoli into Syria, where Beijing could not only take advantage of the politically contentious issue of reconstruction in the country, but also set itself up long-term as a regional power.According to Dr. Neil Quilliam, a senior research fellow at Chatham House in London and an expert in Syria and the Middle East, reconstruction in Syria is "a springboard for investment in the region". China recently made some major announcements to further position itself as one of the key actors, not just in Syria's reconstruction, but in the region.For Beijing, the reconstruction of Syria looks to be the opportunity it needs to assert Chinese influence in the region.
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