Xi's speech on China-Central Asia ties catches global attention

Updated: 2013-09-08 13:32


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BEIJING - Foreign experts spoke highly of President Xi Jinping's speech on China's foreign policy toward Central Asia, referring to the Silk Road economic belt he proposed as a grand cause benefiting regional countries.

Xi, currently in Kazakhstan for a state visit, proposed that China and Central Asia join hands to build a Silk Road economic belt to boost cooperation, in a speech delivered at Nazarbayev University on Saturday.

The Silk Road boasts a three-billion population and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential, said Xi, urging relevant parties to facilitate trade and investment and remove barriers.

Andrey Devyatov, deputy director of the Institute for Russia-China Strategic Interaction, said Xi's speech lifted cooperation between China and Eurasian countries to a new height.

Xi's proposal on constructing a Silk Road economic belt will bring the region into world focus, he said.

The expert added that it is very necessary to improve traffic connectivity in the region, as have suggested by Xi, which will facilitate resource exports and promote development and prosperity of the region.

Inamul Haque, chairman of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said Xi's proposal suggested that China would play a bigger role in boosting the development of Central Asia.

The construction of the economic belt will be a great drive force for the economic development of the region, especially of those inland countries, he noted.

Kadisha Dairova, vice-president of the Nazarbayev University, said the ancient silk road, linking regional countries, had been a symbol of cooperation between countries, while the new silk road should cover cooperation in such fields as culture and education to meet the needs of the time.

Pierre Picquart, a China expert in France, lauded that Xi's proposal on building a Silk Road economic belt is very novel, saying the idea revives both the economic and cultural spirits of the ancient Silk Road.

Ibrahim Yusuf, chairman of the executive board of Indonesia's Council on World Affairs, said Xi's speech iterated China's good-neighborly and friendly policy toward Central Asia, which is conducive to enhancing the friendly and cooperative relations between China and the region.

Nazari Pariani, editor in chief of Afghan leading newspaper the Daily Mandegar, said that China's new Central Asia policy "to build a Silk Road economic belt to boost cooperation" would benefit the whole region including Afghanistan.

"Since Afghanistan is located in Central Asia and a neighbor to China, it can enormously benefit from China's new Central Asia policy," Pariani said. "Since the Silk Road is passing through Afghanistan, the revival of its historic position can help Afghanistan act as a bridge between Central, East and South Asia."

He added that his country can play a significant role in enhancing trade and economic cooperation in the region.

Developing communication network, building roads, highways and railways and linking Afghanistan to the neighboring nations would help the countries in the region stabilize their economies and achieve self-sufficiency, Pariani said.

"Our region as President Xi mentioned in his speech is the home to three billion people, larger than the population of Europe. No doubt the countries located in the region can have huge market for their products unparalleled both in scale and potential, which creates conducive investment environment and job opportunities for their people and will eventually alleviate poverty in our region," he said.



President Xi visits Central Asia, attends G20, SCO summits

Sept 3 to 13: Pay state visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Sept 5 to 6: Attend the eighth Leaders' Summit of the Group of Twenty (G20) in St. Petersburg.

Sept 13: Attend the 13th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.


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