China / Society

Forum upholds intl cooperation in building Maritime Silk Road

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-11-27 23:25

Enhanced development of people-to-people diplomacy and international sister-city relationship will play an increasingly important role for building a modern Maritime Silk Road, a senior foreign affairs official said.

"Civil diplomacy, as an integral part of China's overall diplomacy, will help strengthen relations of people between China and countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road, which is conducive to build an overall cooperation platform," said Li Xikui, secretary-general of the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

In a keynote speech to a forum featuring development of a 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which was held on Thursday in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, Li said China would develop more international friendship association to facilitate development of a modern maritime route.

"Traditionally, the route focused on trade and economic cooperation between China and foreign countries and region. Today, we are building a modern route which will integrate cooperation and exchange in almost all sectors ranging from diplomacy, culture, human civilization and trade to economy," Li said.

At present, China has developed 46 international friendship associations with foreign countries and regions, of which more than half are involved by members from the ancient Maritime Silk Road, according to Li.

Moreover, China has developed friendship cooperative relationship with more than 500 non-governmental associations from 157 countries and regions, according to Li.

According to Li, more than 2,100 Chinese cities have developed sister-linked relationship with their foreign counterparts.

"A growing number of cities along the ancient Maritime Silk Road have joined the sister-linked families with Chinese cities, which will help greatly boost overall cooperation," Li told China Daily.

In a visit to Indonesia in October last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping firstly proposed a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to revive the ancient trade and investment route.

The ancient Maritime Silk Road begins in South China and heads into the Southeast Asian region. From the Malacca Strait, it then turns west to Europe, according to one version of the blueprint.

According to organizers of the China International Friendship cities Conference, Guangzhou, as the starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, will develop more international sister cities to conduct overall cooperation with countries and regions along the trade route.

As of October, Guangzhou has developed sister-city relations with 36 overseas cities from 33 countries, according to the Guangzhou foreign affairs authority.

The conference, along with the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation and the Guangzhou International Urban Innovation Conference, is scheduled to open on Friday in Guangzhou, aiming to facilitate ties between Chinese cities and their overseas counterparts under the development of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Su Zhijia, chief of political advisory committee of Guangzhou, urged the city to push up infrastructure development and build modern transportation and commercial service networks to boost cooperation with countries and regions along the ancient Maritime Silk Road.

"As a traditional gateway for China to link overseas countries and regions, Guangzhou should develop an efficient sea-land-air transportation network to facilitate development of a modern Maritime Silk Road," Su said.

On Thursday, participants of the forum signed a strategic cooperative agreement to facilitate construction of cross-border ports of the 21st–Century Maritime Silk Road.

Also, an industrial cooperation action plan and a cross-border e-commerce platform were also launched during the forum to push up development of a modern maritime route.

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