Winning hearts and minds: The BRI is not just about infrastructure. It is also an avalanche of factories, oil pipelines, Chinese schools, special economic zones, mines, and friendship associations drawing a country closer to China in bilateral relations.
This Chinese school at the Myanmar-China border provides free education to locals.
The school song sums up the situation.
This is one of hundreds of Chinese factories that have opened up across the world, from Asia to the Middle East to Africa.
Resource extraction is another major purpose of the BRI. In Kyrgyzstan, the Zuoan gold mine has 10 million tons worth of gold, which is being extracted and sent to China on the New Silk Road.
This is the China National Petroleum Corporation’s oil project at North Azadegan. This is a controversial project as Iran currently faces sanctions.
It is tough work out here in the North Azadegan Iranian oil field. The nearest town is more than three hours away.
CNPC flies in a Chinese chef to help workers deal with being homesick.
Journey to production: It is not always easy to feature Chinese projects on the BRI. To gain access to these locations in Iran, I spent more than six months negotiating with the Iranian government.
In some parts of China, access is also extremely controlled.
Xinjiang is a critical link on the BRI. But the region is mired in controversy. China says it is battling extremism here.
At another port - Piraeus in Greece - Chinese investment has completely turned the business around.
Under COSCO management, the port will handle five times as much cargo volume as it did in 2010. Piraeus is on track to be the busiest port in the Mediterranean by 2019.
At the end of my five-year journey, there is no doubt in my mind, that the New Silk Road will cement China’s position as a superpower. But whether that dominance brings with it responsible, sustainable global development remains to be seen.