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'Silk Road in the air' links to Luxembourg

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-15 06:51

China supports building a Silk Road in the air between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

The two countries should deepen cooperation in finance and production capacity within the framework of building the Belt and Road, Xi said when meeting with visiting Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Beijing on Wednesday

The airfreight industry has been a highlight of Bettel's official visit to China, which started on Sunday. His country already serves as a key partner of China for financial services in Europe.

Observers said there is huge potential for cooperation in air transportation when countries, particularly European countries, are helping build the Belt and Road with China.

On Monday, Bettel and Premier Li Keqiang witnessed the signing of a joint investment deal involving airline freight shipping companies from Luxembourg and Henan province.

Xi said the two countries should nurture new highlights of cooperation, including shipping by air, high and leading technologies, and green economy to achieve greater mutual benefits.

Also, the two countries should strengthen exchanges in culture, education and sports and facilitate travel, Xi said.

Bettel said the two countries have strong economic complementarity, and his country is ready to expand cooperation in areas including finance, investment, science and technology, tourism and cultural exchanges. Luxembourg is also ready to boost cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

On Tuesday, Bettel visited the Zhengzhou airport. Zhengzhou has seen booming cooperation with Luxembourg in sectors including tourism, air transportation and railway shipping.

Since airfreight operations between the two started in 2014, shipments to and from Luxembourg have accounted for nearly a fourth of Zhengzhou airport's total cargo shipments, according to the Henan Daily newspaper.

Wang Yiwei, professor at the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China, said China's support for the Silk Road in the air "showcases Luxembourg's ambition, foresight and quick action to grasp the new opportunities".

"Both Luxembourg and Zhengzhou are key hubs that link the airways and railways meeting there, and such great infrastructure is ideal for building a Silk Road in the air," Wang said.

The Silk Road in the air also will boost the development of Central China, Wang added.

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