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'One Belt, One Road' initiatives offer opportunities for Eurasia

2015-03-24 13:21 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, also known as "One Belt, One Road", offer opportunities for China and Europe to join hands in operating the great Eurasian market, a Chinese scholar said in Milan, Italy Monday.

Historically, the Eurasian continent has always been a center of world civilization, Wang Yiwei, a senior fellow at China's Renmin University, told a conference here.

The East and the West were linked through the historical Silk Road, he said. Today, in the era of globalization, "One Belt, One Road" urges a dozen Chinese provinces to establish close economic ties with European regions, Wang explained to local academics and businessmen.

First proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2013, the "One Belt, One Road" initiatives consist of a network of railways, highways and other forms of infrastructure, as well as oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks and aviation routes in the Eurasian area.

Wang said the initiatives open up opportunities for reconciliation between the European Union and Russia. In fact, he noted, the current Ukraine crisis was a consequence of the strategy of "keeping Russia out" adopted since the end of World War II and the establishment of NATO.

"One Road, One Belt," he explained, pays particular attention to Russia's development projects in the Far East and making organizations like the Eurasian Economic Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization compatible with each other with the view of "keeping Russia in."

The initiatives are also an opportunity for the EU to participate more easily in Asia-Pacific affairs and expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific region, he added.

China and the EU are negotiating a bilateral investment treaty and are considering a China-EU free trade agreement. "One Belt, One Road" brings China and Europe even closer, he said.

As for China-EU cooperation in maritime economic development, China's strategy of "One Belt, One Road" can be effectively integrated with the maritime strategies of Europe, Wang said.

Greece, in particular, would become China's important gateway to Europe and a bridgehead in cooperation between China, Europe and the Middle East, he added.

"One Belt, One Road," which emphasizes openness and inclusiveness and neither excludes any country nor seeks any spheres of influence, constitutes the new framework of China's neighborhood policy and is the key opportunity to build a greater Eurasian market, he said.

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