New Silk Roads to energize Asia's vast economic potential

2014-11-09 01:48:41 GMT2014-11-09 09:48:41(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Since its inception in 1989, APEC has served as a platform for increasing economic cooperation across the Asia-Pacific region.

The concept of modern-day Silk Roads, proposed by President Xi Jinping, is now fundamental, within that guiding principle. It is hoped that by re-awakening these ancient trade routes, economic links from China, across Asia to Europe, can be further energized, boosting the vitality of the entire region.

There are two general trade routes: The modern day inland Silk Road will begin in Xi’an in Northwest China — the same starting point for the ancient route. It will stretch through Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, before crossing into Kazakhstan. This revitalized trade network will then run southwest from Central Asia to northern Iran before swinging west through Iraq and Turkey. And from Istanbul, it will branch northwest through Europe, finally intersecting at the other proposed trade route — the Maritime Silk Road.

This sea trading route will begin from Fujian province in East China, and head south to the Malacca Strait. It will then cross the Indian Ocean to Nairobi, in Kenya, before heading north to the Mediterranean.

The fundamental idea is to boost regional interaction. And there is a reason: total trade volume between China and all nations along both the two routes was over US$1 trillion in 2013 — roughly a quarter of China’s total trade. Between 2003 and 2013, that total trade volume grew by an average of 19 percent year-on-year — significantly faster than the growth in Chinese trade with other parts of the world.

So these are the key areas that China wants to focus on. Various projects have already begun, including the relaunch of the China-Europe railway project.

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