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Belt and Road Initiative open to all

Updated: 2015-04-16 23:16
By Zhang Xiang (chinadaily.com.cn)

Any country interested in the Belt and Road Initiative is welcome to participate, a China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) official said on Thursday.

Ou Xiaoli, an inspector in the Department of Western Development of the NDRC, who is also in the State Council's working group on the initiative, made the remark during a briefing for foreign ambassadors in China.

More than 60 countries have so far shown interest and willingness to cooperate, but the initiative will not be limited to those countries, Ou said.

The Eurasian continent has the developed European economic circle at one end and the vibrant East Asia economic circle at the other, but encompassing countries have huge potential for economic development, Ou said.

China offers a vision to make the economy of Eurasia more vibrant and dynamic, which will further benefit the world, he said.

"We welcome any country which has interest in it and hope there will be more and more participants," he said.

The "Belt and Road Initiative" was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, with the purpose of rejuvenating the two ancient trading routes and further opening markets in a mutually beneficial manner.

"Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road" was jointly released by the NDRC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce on March 28.

The Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe (the Baltic); linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and West Asia; and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

The 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road is designed to go from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one direction, and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other.

"Chinese authorizes have had a great deal of talks on the initiative, and the most important thing I learned from the briefing is its openness," said John Kavanagh, Irish ambassador to China. "It’s not restricted to a specific list of countries, either defined by geography or by economic situation".

Concerning infrastructure construction, industrial development and resource cooperation, countries involved have different situations, so there are also many new challenges in the process, Ou said.

Countries involved should enhance communication and establish systems to provide institutional guarantees and better serve the interests of the investors, he added.

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