China to renew Silk Belt

Chinese horsemen playing Buzkashi
Chinese horsemen playing Buzkashi

China unveiled the principles, framework, and cooperation priorities and mechanisms in its Silk Belt and Road initiative in a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future together, Xinhua reported.

The vision and action on jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, an initiative raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping during visits to Central Asia and Southeast Asia in 2013, was issued by China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission and the ministries of foreign affairs and commerce.

The initiative aims to promote orderly and free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets by enhancing connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas.

It is open to all countries and international and regional organisations for engagement and honours mutual respect and market operation to seek common prosperity, the plan said.

“The programmes of development will be open and inclusive, not exclusive. They will be a real chorus comprising all countries along the routes, not a solo for China itself,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday while addressing the opening ceremony of the 2015 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in the coastal town of China’s southernmost island province of Hainan.

The initiative is not meant as rhetoric. It represents real work that could be seen and felt to bring real benefits to countries in the region, Xi added.

The plan called for policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds to make complementary use of participating countries’ unique resource advantages through multilateral mechanisms and multilevel platforms.

China will fully leverage the comparative advantages of its various regions and further open up for more interaction and cooperation both at home and internationally.

The development of the Belt and Road initiative is a pluralistic and open process of cooperation which can be highly flexible without sticking to conformity, according to the plan.

China is ready to work with participating countries in improving the content and mode of the initiative and developing timetables and roadmaps of cooperative mechanisms, plans and projects, the plan added.

The action plan came three days ahead of the deadline of the application for joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a China-initiated lender to offer financing for regional infrastructure projects.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at the Boao forum on Saturday that Russia decided to join the AIIB. Up to now 39 countries both from the developed and developing regions have applied to be prospective founding members of the AIIB.

Xi said China welcomed all countries along the routes and in Asia, as well as friends and partners around the world to take an active part in these endeavours.

In promoting this initiative, China would follow the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, Xi said.