11:50 GMT29 November 2020
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    China's 21st Century Maritime 'Silk Road' initiative has received backing and high praise from more than 50 states and international organizations and aims at bolstering the economic development of the Asia-Pacific.

    Ekaterina Blinova – China's 21st Century Maritime 'Silk Road' project aimed at boosting the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region has received high praise from international experts.

    Overseas experts applauded China's $100 billion-initiative to build modern infrastructure and a network of ports in the Asia-Pacific during the Maritime Silk Road Seminar, entitled "Collectively building the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and creating a community of common destiny," that was held in the city of  Quanzhou, in southeast Fujian province, on February 11-12.

    "People have expressed high appreciations for the Silk Road Spirit and the proposal of Economic Cooperation Corridor among major economies. Over 50 states and the EU, ASEAN, SCO, UN ESCAP and other international organizations have responded positively the initiative. In addition, the Silk Road Fund has been successfully launched, and 26 states have signed up as charter members to establish the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)," Mr. Li Zhaoxing, former Foreign Minister and Chairman of China Public Diplomacy Association, said in an official statement.

    The meeting was attended by 280 officials, analysts and experts from more than 30 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the United States. According to experts, the project will boost the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, linking countries along the route and facilitating their economic development. Experts also pointed out that the initiative launched by China's President Xi Jinping in 2013, will give Asian market an outstanding competitive advantage and will make it highly attractive for other global players. Although China is viewed as the "flagman" of the process, experts underscore that mutual cooperation between the countries is based on principles of equality of all the participants of the project and common prosperity.

    Cited by China's official media sources, Bambang Suryono, a senior Indonesian political analyst, emphasized that Beijing has demonstrated its willingness for peaceful collaboration with other states in developing the ocean. In his turn, Richard Tan, vice secretary-general of Association of Indonesia-China Economic, Social and Cultural Cooperation, stressed that the Maritime Silk Road initiative will boost cooperation within the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations), via implementing new efficient financial mechanisms.

    India's media outlets cite Liu Qibao, a member of the Communist Party's Politburo, who called upon Beijing's neighbors to "put aside differences" and join the initiative. He underscored that China was not intended to compete with other nations, and condemned attempts to aggravate tensions in the region made by some global players, in apparent reference to the United States' "pivot to Asia."

    The Maritime Silk road initiative is aimed at involving states and regions comprising of 4.4 billion people with a total economic volume of $21 trillion, note China's state-run media sources. It is expected that the countries will create a joint hub of ports, energy infrastructure and free-trade zones.


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