The two 'silk roads' proposed by China will revitalize Eurasia as well as help build a more inclusive and open global market
This year could well be described as China's "European year" as Premier Li Keqiang paid a second visit to the continent. In fact, he has visited Europe four times since taking office last year. Moreover, his presence at the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, Italy, on Oct 16-17 has brightened the prospects of the new Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which President Xi Jinping proposed last year, becoming operational.
Li's visit to Germany, Russia and Italy, given their strategic significance both in terms of geopolitics and economics, reflects Beijing's determination to deepen China-Europe cooperation. The "two silk roads" are aimed at improving the connection between Asia and Europe (and even Africa), as well as advancing China's comprehensive reform and Europe's re-industrialization process.
Being the largest trading partner of China in the European Union, Germany serves as a bridge to Eurasian cooperation, and now its city of Duisburg looks set to become the westernmost destination of the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe international rail route. And Italy, where the ancient Silk Road ended, could still play a vital role in connecting Asia, Europe and Africa.
Li's visit to Europe has sown the seeds of deeper China-Europe ties and closer China-EU strategic partnership by making use of two important factors for safeguarding world peace - boosting the global market-oriented economy and promoting "universal civilization".
The two proposed silk roads are aimed at realizing more inclusive globalization. Unlike the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which have kept out China by imposing higher trade standards, the "silk roads" proposition is open, inclusive and not aimed at containing any country. It is also intended to help develop all "roadside countries". Besides, a similar EU-proposed blueprint aimed at building a free trade zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok is likely to take the China-Europe cooperation to a higher level.