Xi's South Asia trip as smooth as silk

Updated: 2014-09-17 09:15


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BEIJING - Visits by President Xi Jinping to three South Asia countries show China's commitment to regional cooperation and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Xi's state visit to the Maldives was the first by an incumbent Chinese President since diplomatic relations were established 42 years ago. The two sides agreed on the benefits of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and resolved to expand cooperation in trade, tourism, infrastructure and the maritime sector.

The Maldives has floated a number of major projects recently, including a bridge linking capital Male with the nearby Hulhule and a special economic zone in the north, which both have implications for the Maritime Silk Road.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, if it comes to pass, will integrate all existing cooperation mechanisms between countries along the route, bringing their economies closer and boosting trade.

Sri Lanka is a vital staging post on the route due to its location. Just ahead of Xi's arrival there, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris promised Sri Lanka's support for the plan.

In an article carried by Sri Lankan newspaper The Daily News, Xi said that "Sri Lanka has envisaged itself becoming a five-fold hub: maritime, aviation, commerce, energy and knowledge, which coincides with China's proposal to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road."

Xi called on both sides to turn "their wishes into a driving force" and enhance exchanges and cooperation in maritime, business, infrastructure, defense, tourism and other areas, and accelerate renewal of the Maritime Silk Road.

In the last leg of Xi's South Asia trip, he will visit India to exchange views on bilateral relations and strengthen cooperation. China and India must carry out more pragmatic cooperation to realize peace and tolerance, which will not only benefit people in the two countries but the world at large.