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China to unveil Silk Road project plan at Boao Forum next week

Beijing, PTI | Updated : 21 March 2015, 02:33 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping will release the implementation plan for his ambitious Silk Road projects listing hundreds of infrastructure ventures at the Boao Forum next week in presence of heads of state from 13 nations.

Xi will deliver a keynote address at the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), to be held from March 26 to 29 in the scenic town of Boao on south China’s tropical island province of Hainan, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told media today.

The annual conference modelled on Summer Davos will be attended by Presidents from Armenia, Austria, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia, said Hong.

The guests also include Prime Ministers from Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia’s Governor-General.

The “implementation plan” for the mega Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiatives recreating the ancient trade routes between Asia and Europe will be released at the forum, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Xi initiated the mega scheme, also known as Belt and Road, in 2013 and later launched USD 40 billion fund for it. The MSR stretches from south China to southeast Asia, and to Africa.

The implementation plan will include a detailed list of major infrastructure projects such as railways, roads, energy, information technology and industrial parks, the report said.

The number of infrastructure projects could reach hundreds and will spread to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and China’s other neighbouring countries.

Xi announced the project as a strategic initiative to revive China’s slowing economy and to counter the US-Asia Pivot strategy under which Washington plans to deploy 60 per cent of its military assets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the Silk Road projects China aims to construct a maze of road networks.

While the main Silk Road connects China with Europe through Central Asia, its other projects included Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

India has attended the BCIM meetings, but is non-committal about the MSR over concerns about Chinese dominance in the Indian Ocean region.

China is anxious as the new Sri Lankan government has suspended its USD 1.5-billion Colombo Port City project, regarded as a key base for the MSR in the Indian Ocean.

To finance the projects, China has set up a USD 40 billion Silk Road fund which together with Beijing-sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with USD 50 billion investment and BRICS Development Bank with USD 50 billion could mobilise sizable investments for infrastructure projects.

The theme of the Boao Forum this year is “Asia’s New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny", Hong said.

First Published: Saturday, March 21, 2015 02:21 PM
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