Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Asia Cooperation Dialogue extends Silk Road

By Liu Jianchao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-29 07:39

Editor's Note: The following is adapted from a speech by Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao at the opening ceremony of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue Forum on Silk Road Cooperation in Lanzhou, Gansu province on May 28.

The Asia Cooperation Dialogue is an important mechanism for inter-governmental dialogue and cooperation in Asia. With such dialogue mechanisms as the summit and the ministerial meeting established, its membership has increased from 18 to 33. Cooperation within the ACD has now been expanded into 20 areas, including energy, economy, trade, culture, and connectivity, and the Provisional Secretariat is up and running in Kuwait. The ACD has already become an important platform for forging Asian consensus, promoting the Asian spirit and advancing Asian cooperation.

The world is undergoing complex and profound changes, and the global economic gravity is shifting eastward. Asia has become a major engine of the world economy, contributing more than 50 percent to its growth. However, unlike the rise of other regions and countries in history, Asia's rejuvenation and development is not about the rise of a single country but the collective development of a number of countries, the emerging economies in particular.

Asia's development is rooted in its traditional cultures and builds on Asian people's tradition of achieving strength through unity. Over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors overcame many hardships and difficulties and traveled across mountains and rivers to open the world-renowned Silk Road, which facilitated not only trade and technological exchanges between countries, but also dialogue and integration between civilizations and cultures. The Silk Road was a road of peace, cooperation and friendship that promoted economic, cultural and social progress in the region. It was also a cultural bond that brought Asian countries together.

To carry forward the Silk Road spirit, President Xi Jinping has proposed building a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to advance Asia's economic integration and promote understanding and trust between Asian countries.

In recent years, regional cooperation in Asia has made big strides. But there is a wide development gap among countries in the region; the links between sub-regions are not close enough; and regional development and cooperation face numerous challenges. By linking Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, West Asia and other sub-regions, Xi's two initiatives can facilitate cooperation between the countries along the routes and improve the regional trade and investment environment, thus boosting Asia's sustainable development.

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