How is China getting 17 nations on board with such an ambitious -- and expensive -- project? For starters, they're offering to pick up the tab. China will build the infrastructure in exchange for rights to natural resources in the nations that benefit from the high-speed links. So China gets timber, minerals, oil, gas, etc. as well as a fast, efficient means to pipe them to cities within its borders, and smaller, sometimes isolated nations (here's looking at you, Burma) get a high tech, high speed connection to the greater global economy.