The staggering scale of China's Belt and Road initiative

China is embarking on the largest infrastructure project in history, spanning four continents and attempting to link the old Silk Road to Europe — and back to China.

Why it matters: China is increasingly asserting its economic power, and seeking to bolster its global influence. It is undertaking this project at a time when the U.S. can't pass a domestic infrastructure project, and is taking a step back from the world.

Adapted from a Mercator Institute for China Studies map; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios