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    New Silk Road: 'Most Important Economic Project of First Half of 21st Century'

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the Silk Road summit in Beijing, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told journalists at a press conference on February 9. The forum will be held on May 14-15. Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry said that leaders from over 20 countries have confirmed their participation in the summit.

    The prime ministers of the UK, Sri Lanka and the president of the Philippines are scheduled to take part in the summit as well.

    According to the Russian ambassador to China, Vladimir Putin accepted the invitation from President Xi Jinping and plans to combine participation in the discussions on the Silk Route together with a bilateral official visit and talks with the Chinese leader.

    The diplomat also said that the position of the two countries regarding issues of world politics is quite similar and often identical. This is due to the fact that there are similar interests between Russia and China in terms of international politics.

    The forum on International Cooperation in the framework of the Chinese strategy of the Silk Road was announced by the Chinese president during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    Expert from the Far East Institute Alexander Lomanov said that, unlike in Davos, where no decisions are made, in Beijing the world leaders will not only discuss the global issues, but will also work out specific terms of cooperation in the framework of the new route.

    “The organization of the Silk Road miraculously combines a tendency to diversify the world and give equal opportunities to participate in the processes of globalization and benefiting from its practical features,” Lomanov said.

    He further said that the promotion of the Silk Road is an economic reality which will facilitate construction of railways and roads, ports and other infrastructure. It will create conditions to assist investment.

    “This is exactly the type of model for countries to gradually get rid of protectionism, as was mentioned by Xi Jinping in Davos. In order to do this just removing all border restrictions is not enough, it requires coordination of interests. This agreement, would take into account the interests of all sides, not only China’s,” the analyst said.

    Therefore, it is a very promising platform as its future is connected with the implementation of “One belt, one road” as a large-scale transcontinental project.

    “It has a chance of becoming perhaps the most important economic project of the first half of the 21st century,” Lomanov said.

    Political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov also spoke about the upcoming meeting between the world leaders and according to him the Silk Road initiative is a personal invention of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    “This is the most important foreign policy move for China and all the efforts are concentrated on this project,” Lukyanov said.

    However, he mentioned that the fact that, while all these countries are geographically located on the Silk Road and potentially are interested in cooperation, it is not enough to turn it into a semblance of G20, APEC or some other similar format.

    “Although, considering the fact that China has declared its willingness to invest heavily in this project and general direction of the world aimed at developing regionalization makes it possible that China will succeed in this project,” the expert concluded.

    During the three years since the Silk Road strategy was announced, China has been actively supported by more than 100 countries and international organizations. In particular, more than 40 countries and organizations have signed an agreement with China on cooperation.

    The amount of investment by Chinese enterprises into the countries along the route has already exceeded $ 50 billion.

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    Tags:
    economic assistance, bilateral relations, globalization, interview, Silk Road Economic Belt, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, China
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