Silk Road Economic Belt plan takes basic shape

Updated: 2014-12-13 15:54


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BEIJING -- The general blueprint for the Silk Road Economic Belt has "basically" taken shape, Chinese officials said Friday.

"The Silk Road Economic Belt will be characterized by openness and reciprocity, and China welcomes all sides' participation in the plan and sharing of the benefits," Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told a briefing on Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming overseas tour.

Li will visit Kazakhstan, Serbia and Thailand from Dec. 14 to 20. In Kazakhstan, he is scheduled to hold the second regular meeting between the China-Kazakhstan heads of government with his Kazakh counterpart Karim Masimov, and attend the 13th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The belt initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe was put forward by President Xi Jinping during a visit to Kazakhstan in September last year. Kazakhstan and many other countries have responded positively to the initiative.

Kazakhstan hopes to link their own development plan to the initiative and become a major passage in Eurasia. China and Kazakhstan have been cooperating well within the framework of the belt initiative.

There are many advantages to China-Kazakhstan cooperation, Cheng said, highlighting a joint-venture logistics base between the two countries, strengthening connectivity between the two with highways, railways, ports, air routes, and oil and gas pipelines.

At the upcoming SCO meeting, Li will put forward practical measures to boost cooperation among the SCO members on security, trade, investment, finance, agriculture, infrastructure, and people-to-people exchanges, with a view to the long-term development of the bloc.

"China is very much willing to communicate with every of the other SCO member on its respective development strategy and the plan for regional economic cooperation," said Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of commerce, also at the briefing.

The SCO, founded in 2001, currently has six member states -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It also has Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan as observers and Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka as dialogue partners.