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Spotlight: Silk Road wide enough for China-U.S. cooperation

By Source:Xinhua 2015-09-24

Over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Silk Road, a 7,000-km-long trade route created by camel-driving merchants, started to link China with Europe via central and west Asia.

Today, the ancient invention still inspires both China and the United States when they work out their respective blueprints to promote regional development.

Sprouting from the inspiration, the U.S. "New Silk Road Initiative" with war-torn Afghanistan at the heart of a possible trade pathway between Asia and the West, and China's "Belt and Road" initiatives proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost trade and growth along and beyond the ancient Silk Road, have come into being.

Experts say that Xi's upcoming U.S. visit in late September will offer a golden opportunity for China and the United States to review their versions of "Silk Road" initiative to see what they could do together.

CHORUS NOT SOLO

"The two initiatives, one by China and the other by the United States, have a lot in common in terms of their purposes, as they all hope to promote economic growth through facilitating trade," said Yang Xiyu, a researcher with China's Institute of International Studies.

There is much room as well as favorable environment along the route for possible cooperation between China and the United States.

"It's more like a chorus, instead of solo by China," said Xi, referring to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, now also known as "Belt and Road" initiatives for short.

China has mapped out the plan in an inclusive and open manner to encourage participation of whoever is interested, experts observed. Just like the ancient Silk Road, the modern "Belt and Road" will facilitate trade and cooperation among countries with different religions and cultures.

For the U.S. part, the "New Silk Road" is an initiative for Central Asia and Afghanistan, which aims to integrate the region and tap its potential as a transit hub between Europe and East Asia.

Hillary Clinton, who proposed the initiative when serving as the U.S. Secretary of State in 2011, said the network would allow Afghanistan to attract new sources of foreign investment and approach overseas markets, while creating new markets and investment opportunities for the entire region.

The region, covered both by the Chinese and U.S. initiatives, is of great political and economic significance, whose peace and prosperity conforms to the interest of China and the United States, Yang said, noting that it lays a solid foundation for their cooperation.

Experts suggested Beijing and Washington start concrete talks in this respect, working out ways to cooperate in infrastructure construction, facilitate investment and remove trade barriers, so as to unleash the potential for regional development.


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