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Duterte: China’s One Road project will boost regional ‘connectivity’
May 10, 2017, 10:38 am

The famous ancient Silk Road served as a corridor for trade and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe dating back to 2,000 years ago [Xinhua]

A number of countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East are gearing up to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which begins on May 14 in Beijing.

Some 28 heads of state and government leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, with additional delegations, participants, scholars, experts and journalists from 110 countries are expected in the Chinese capital over the coming weekend.

In a sign of strengthening ties, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte – who is one of the major participants – indicated in an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua that he finds the Belt initiative to be a means to boost areas of cooperation and connectivity not only between Beijing and Manila but for the region as a whole.

“I understand the Belt and Road Initiative is primarily an economic undertaking that will build these connections among the countries, and result in mutual benefit that includes increased trade and market access,” he said.

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative aims to create a modern Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to boost trade and extend its global influence.

The ancient Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C.

The 6,000-km road linked ancient Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Arabic, Greek and Roman civilizations.

A map unveiled by state agency Xinhua shows the Chinese plans for the Silk Road run through Central China to the northern Xinjiang from where it travels through Central Asia entering Kazakhstan and onto Iraq, Iran, Syria and then Istanbul in Turkey from where it runs across Europe cutting across Germany, Netherlands and Italy.

The maritime Silk Road begins in China’s Fujian and ends at Venice, Italy.

The network would include building railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links.

In his interview, Duterte said that the new Silk Road initiative would boost healthy and robust economic exchanges that would benefit the Philippine economy and Filipinos.

“We also would want to learn from the development experiences of other participant countries, particularly with the opportunities offered by the OBOR to enhance economic growth and address global economic challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, UAE Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, who is expected in Beijing later this week, praised the Belt and Road Initiative and China’s efforts to “transform the economies of the old Silk Road, strengthen links between them and better connect them to the rest of the world.”

Read more: Egypt endorses new Silk Road
China Rail to London boosts Silk Road projectHungary becomes first EU country to join Silk Road project
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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