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Silk Road to take on a new look

2013-09-11 08:32 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan
Feng Xiuxia / China Daily

Feng Xiuxia / China Daily

Experts call to set up free trade zone to cover China and Eurasian countries

President Xi Jinping's proposal to build a "Silk Road Economic Belt" is a huge economic opportunity for the region, observers said.

To realize the goal, which Xi made in his first formal policy speech on Central Asia, they suggested a free trade zone that includes China and Eurasian countries, which have a combined population of 3 billion.

In a speech at Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev University on Saturday, Xi proposed establishing a Silk Road Economic Belt, similar to the original, ancient Silk Road of more than 2,000 years ago, to boost cooperation between China and Eurasian countries.

The regional cooperation structure, Xi said, can be set up through "strengthening policy communications, road connections, trade facilitation, currency circulation and people-to-people exchanges".

"My home, Shaanxi province, is the start of the ancient Silk Road," Xi said.

He said he was moved as he reviewed the Silk Road's history during his visit to Kazakhstan, a modern nation on the ancient commercial road.

The Silk Road boasts a population of 3 billion and a market that is unparalleled both in scale and potential, Xi said.

He also said that Beijing considers relations with Central Asian countries a foreign-policy priority.

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