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Bank of China chief stresses Mediterranean region's importance in Belt and Road construction

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-12-03 13:33

ROME - Bank of China Chairman Chen Siqing said on Saturday that the Mediterranean region's position is unique and of strategic importance, at the crossroads of land Silk Road and maritime Silk Road.

Chen made the remarks at a three-day forum of the Third Mediterranean Dialogues that concluded Saturday. He shared with an audience of some 500 participants from different countries and regions the topic of how to promote "Belt and Road" construction projects for a more prosperous Mediterranean region.

Chen said the construction of the Belt and Road has created a new platform for international cooperation and provided new energy for common development.

According to the Chinese banker, the role of the Mediterranean region becomes more and more important as the Belt and Road construction goes on.

"Here (the Mediterranean) is the key juncture of the infrastructures along the Belt and Road. The Mediterranean's position is unique and of strategic importance, at the crossroads of land Silk Road and maritime Silk Road," he said.

In 2014, China and four Mediterranean countries decided to build "China-Europe Continental and Ocean Expressway". As far as now, Chen said, China-Europe trains have already become an important means of transport in international logistics.

"In the future, we should continue to intensify the building of infrastructures in the Mediterranean region and to push forward the construction of great projects such as the Hungary-Serbia railway linking Budapest and Belgrade, as well as the shaping of a logistic and transport network linking Europe, Asia and Africa by land, sea and air," Chen said.

The Mediterranean region is one of the most popular destination for Chinese tourists, and there are increasing number of products moving from the Mediterranean to China, the bank chief said.

Noting that in 2016 the Mediterranean-China import-export trade volume exceeded $150 billion, Chen urged both sides to speed up trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and expand financial and commercial exchanges in order to provide new engines to regional development.

Chen also described the region as a big market for international cooperation on Belt and Road industrial capacity.

"In the future, we should accelerate industrial capacity cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road, promote regional development and peaceful coexistence among peoples," he added.

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