Asia

China strengthens Asian Bilateral Relations for ‘Silk Road Project’

China aims to revive the Silk Road in order to reconnect with major business and cultural hubs in Asia

June 27th, 2016
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Now that China has re-emerged as a major world-power, it wants to revive the historic Silk Road. Named ‘The Silk Road Project’, it aims to reconnect China to major business and cultural hubs across Asia. To prepare for the implementation of this project, China has made sure to improve its bilateral relations with fellow Asian countries and the Balkans.

President Xi announced the program in 2013 saying that China is aiming to invest in infrastructural programs in Asia, Africa and Europe. The inititative also aims to revive the ancient Silk Road routes in an attempt to open new trade markets for its corporations as China’s economy is gradually slowing down. The re-construction of the Silk Road can be seen as an attempt to bring economic benefits back to deprived areas. This will be percieved as a sign that China is a powerful nation once again.

According to India’s former Foreign Secretary Salman Haider “it is noteworthy that even before the Silk Road inititiative was given any kind of curreny, or the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project as it is more commonly called today, China worked assiduously to remove the endemic jurisdictional and territorial issues that had complicated its relations in the region to its west”.

China has improved its bilateral relations bypromoting economic compatibility and promising that the OBOR project will boost productivity by investing in those countries’ key industries and offering technological assistance.

The new Silk Road will be an area of economic development for all countries involved stretching from Xi’an all the way to Germany.

China has started to give shape to the project by planning several rail and road projects aiming to form new links between the East and the West. There was a major seminar recently in Beijing where intellectuals from all across Asia discussed their understanding of cultural exchange. Chinese scholars and universities have started to set up partnerships with institutions abroad.

Furthermore, in a speech given by President Xi during his visit to Uzbekistan, he said that Chinese companies have invested nearly US$15 billion in countries members of OBOR. President Xi made the project one of its key foreign policies. He also added that 70 countries so far have taken part in the project, emphasising the importance of the Balkans and Central Asia for the succes of OBOR.

The Silk Road has always been an example of cultural diplomacy, bringing people from different cultural backgrounds together, to share their knowledge and culture. Traders on the Silk Road often had to learn different languages and customs different from their own in order to be able to communicate with other traders and travel through different countries. The huge amount of cultural and intellectual exchange throughout the decades has shaped languages and cultures all along the Silk Road. One of the most important technologies spread through the Silk Road was the technique of making paper.

References:

Cultural Diplomacy News
Dominique Schmutzer, CD News