Early harvest seen for Belt and Road

Updated: 2015-10-16 07:04


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President Xi says initiative has been eagerly embraced by the international community

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed two years ago, has begun to reap an early harvest, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday.

He made the remarks while meeting in Beijing with foreign delegates attending the Asian Political Parties' Special Conference on the Silk Road.

"In the past two years, the Belt and Road Initiative has been eagerly embraced by the international community, especially the more than 60 countries along the route, and it is gradually reaping early benefits," Xi said.

The initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road plans, was proposed by Xi during overseas visits in 2013 as a way to connect countries in Asia, Europe and Africa and to promote cooperation among them.

Xi told the delegates that construction under the initiative has been decided and implemented by countries working together. The initiative aims for mutual benefits and will bring tangible results to people along the route, he added.

Delegates from political parties of Asian nations said the initiative provides an important historic opportunity for joint prosperity of the Eurasian region and will help maintain peace in Asia.

The three-day conference, which began on Wednesday, has drawn delegates from more than 60 political parties and organizations from more than 30 countries.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said on Wednesday when addressing the conference that "China hopes to build up an open, inclusive, balanced and reciprocal cooperation framework during the construction of the initiative".

According to Liu, China has taken practical steps to promote an early implementation and harvest of the initiative, including establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund.

In the first seven months of the year, trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road route totaled more than $570 billion, and direct investment by Chinese companies into the 48 countries along the Belt and Road totaled $8.59 billion, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year.

China also signed 17 cooperation deals with governments or government departments, with several big projects already underway.

"China is ready to formulate a timetable and road map with countries along the Belt and Road to promote the integration of each country's development strategy, and jointly explore the potential of regional markets," Liu said.

Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said during a group discussion at the conference that it is expected that the Silk Road initiative will "once again play its historical role of not only strengthening economic cooperation through trade, but also contributing to the evolution of modern syncretic culture".

Abdulkadir Emin Onen, deputy chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Justice and Development Party of Turkey, told China Daily, "The Belt and Road Initiative will help bring closer friendly cooperation between Turkey and China, especially enhancing understanding between the two peoples."

Turkey hopes that it can cooperate with China within the framework of the initiative by building a railway that will start in London, cross Turkey and end in Beijing, Onen said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.