China / Government

Xi's Eurasia trip boosts Belt and Road

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-12 21:21

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping's Eurasia trip, which concludes on Tuesday, has injected fresh vitality into the Belt and Road initiative, in addition to strengthening partnerships.

The plan, which refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, international trade and infrastructure projects proposed by China in 2013, has been high on Xi's agenda in this trip.

In his visit to Belarus, the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, the two sides agreed to further cooperation, particularly concerning their largest cooperative project, the building of an industrial park near Minsk.

The industrial park, covering 91.5 square km, will focus on developing electronics, biomedicine, chemistry and other industries. China and Belarus have agreed to establish the park as a model for the Silk Road Economic Belt, which connects Asia with Europe.

With trade between the two countries nearing $1.9 billion dollars in 2014, an annual expansion of 27.3 percent, the project should bear real fruit rather than just being window dressing for the initiative.

The Belt and Road also made headway in Russia. Xi agreed with Russian leaders to integrate the Silk Road Economic Belt with Russia's vision of a trade and infrastructure network across Eurasia.

China and Russia also signed a series of cooperation deals in areas including energy, transportation, space, finance and media exchanges.

Xi's visit to Kazakhstan, his second to the Central Asian country since he took office in March 2013, is significant because the Silk Road Economic Belt proposal was first raised in the central Asia nation by Xi.

And the support from the central Asian country for the initiative during Xi's latest trip will give a further boost to bilateral cooperation as the two sides strive to increase the volume of their trade from $22.4 billion dollars in 2014 to $40 billion  dollars in 2015.

All these responsive signals from the three countries prove the popularity of the Belt and Road initiative.

The three nations, with enormous landmasses and a combined population of about 170 million have obvious significance to this infrastructure network, so the recent meetings bring great cause for confidence.

As bilateral trade figures show, the Belt and Road is not wishful thinking by China. It is a blueprint for common development and will benefit people in China and the other countries involved.

Trade between China and Belt and Road countries reached $236 billion dollars and their mutual investment totaled more than 2.5 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2015.

These numbers will almost certainly rise as the potential of cooperation is unleashed.

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