Silk Road initiatives help boost Asia renewal: China

KJM VARMA
BEIJING: China Saturday said its initiatives of building Maritime Silk Route connecting Asian states besides reviving the centuries old Silk Road through the Central Asian states were aimed at boosting the renewal of Asia.
“We want to work with relevant countries to add two powerful wings to the rejuvenation of Asia,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told media briefing here on the sidelines of the annual session of the country’s national legislature, the National People’s Congress, (NPC).
China has formally invited India to take part in the Maritime Silk route proposed by its President Xi Jinping last year during the tour of South East Asian Countries last year.
Sri Lanka has extended its backing to Beijing’s proposal.
Commenting on the proposal former Indian Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal said China Maritime Silk Route connecting the Pacific and Indian oceans is part of its propaganda drive to convince the world about its peaceful rise.
The silk road symbolised China’s connectivity with the outside world. Connectivity is the focus of China’s current economic and trade strategy  China uses the silk route memory to serve its interests, ambitions and image in several ways, he wrote in a commentary published last month.
The silk road represented China’s economic superiority then, one that it seeks to regain in today’s context when it has become the world’s second-largest economy and its biggest exporter, he said. Xi also proposed to build a Silk Road economic belt when he was on a visit to Kazakhstan last year.
Wang said the initiatives aim to seize the opportunity of the further opening-up of China, especially opening in the westward direction.
Simultaneously China has proposed various central states sharing its border to revive the ancient old Silk Road connecting the Central Asia with East Asia and Europe.
Wang said although the Silk Road was first travelled by Chinese people 2,000 years ago, it belongs to the whole world.
He stressed that they will focus on economic cooperation and people-to-people cultural exchanges, and prioritise connectivity and trade and investment facilitation.
“We will pursue these initiatives through equal-footed consultation, and incremental progress with a clear goal to deliver benefits to all and build a community of shared interests,” he said, adding the initiatives will proceed in parallel with the existing cooperation mechanisms and ideas in the region.
He said China welcomes relevant and interested countries to work together to discuss, build and benefit from the initiatives.
—PTI