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China Daily Website

China to revive 'Southern Silk Road'

Updated: 2013-06-09 06:07
( Xinhua)

KUNMING - China is looking to revive the ancient "Southern Silk Road" linking its southwestern regions with Southeast and South Asia, as it aims to boost cooperation with countries along the once-booming trade route.

China has had trade, religious and cultural exchanges with South Asian countries by way of the "Southern Silk Road" since ancient times, Dilip Barua, Minister for Industries of Bangladesh, said at the ongoing 8th China-South Asia Business Forum in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan province.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, the ancient trade route, stretching over 2,000 kilometers long, was dubbed the "Southern Silk Road" by historians.

The route, originating from Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province, wandered through cities in Sichuan and finally took traders to Myanmar by way of Yunnan province. Then, it extended through to India, Bangladesh and even the Middle East.

Similar to the prestigious Silk Road, the "Southern Silk Road" contributed much to cultural exchanges between China and South Asian countries.

As a country located at the junction connecting China, South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, Bangladesh is eager to strengthen cooperation in various fields with neighboring nations, especially China, Barua said.

As traders from South Asia started to eye the vast Chinese market, economic and trade relations between China and South Asian countries grew. Bilateral trade volume increased from $34.7 billion in 2006 to $93 billion in 2012, according to Li Jiheng, governor of Yunnan province at the forum.

China has become an important trade partner and foreign investment source of South Asian countries while these nations are serving as China's major overseas project contracting markets and investment destinations, Li said.

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