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2015 a critical year for "Belt and Road" initiatives: commerce minister

2015-03-07 11:24 Xinhua Web Editor: Sun Tian

2015 will be a critical year for China's "Belt and Road" initiatives and the move will see a good headstart, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Saturday. [Special coverage]

China has made smooth negotiations with countries along the route and some projects are under implementation while some are under plans, Gao said at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual parliamentary session.

"Belt and Road" refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives proposed by China in 2013 for improved cooperation with countries in a vast part of Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Silk Road Economic Belt is to be established along the ancient Silk Road trade route, stretching northwest from China's coastal area through Central Asia, the Middle East and on to Europe, while the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will run through the country's south to Southeast Asia.

Gao stressed that the initiatives will carry the spirit of being "open and inclusive." Any countries or organizations that are interested in the plans could participate under the principle of jointly negotiating, constructing and sharing, he added.

So far, more than 50 countries have shown interest in the "Belt and Road" initiatives, according to Gao.

"We believe the initiatives will not only facilitate China's growth, but also boost economies along the route as well as the world," Gao said.

A 40 billion-U.S. dollars Silk Road Fund has been put into operation since February to offer investment and financing services to economies and private players along the route.

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