President Xi Jinping's Eurasia visit solidified deals and secured support for China's Belt and Road Initiative, which concluded on Tuesday. [Special coverage]
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road initiative was high on Xi's agenda throughout this trip.
An editorial in the "People's Daily", the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, said the trip was a milestone in the initiative.
President Xi first floated the idea of an economic corridor during a visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013. He proposed an economic belt of improved infrastructure along the main strands of what, centuries ago, was the network of land routes used by silk traders and others to carry merchandise to and from China through Central Asia and Russia to northern Europe. A month later, in Indonesia, he proposed a maritime route that would stretch from south China to Southeast Asia, and even to Africa.
In the past few months, the initiative has been given a real push. China has earmarked 40 billion U.S. dollars for a Silk Road Fund to support infrastructure projects along both routes. The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is on the horizon, with 57 countries having joined as founding members.
Xi's trip to Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus, underlined China's efforts to integrate the initiative with local development strategies, and to promote mutually-beneficial projects, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
Nearly 90 cooperation deal were signed during Xi's visit, in areas including trade, energy, space, finance, investment and infrastructure.
Concrete projects indicated the ambitious blueprint had obtained progressive implementation, said Wu Hongwei, a researcher with the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In addition, strategy coordination arrangements were also crucial to push forward the Belt and Road Initiative, analysts said.
Yang Shu, head of the Institute for Central Asia Studies at Lanzhou University, said such coordination helped secure common ground between the Belt and Road Initiative and Russia-proposed development plans.
Yang's comment came in response to media reports about concerns of how the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative would affect the development of the Russia-proposed Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Current member countries include Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia.
According to arrangements, the Silk Road Economic Belt will integrate with the EEU, as well as other projects including Kazakhstan's new economic strategy the Bright Road and domestic development plans in Belarus.
The Belt and Road Initiative "will be a real chorus comprising all countries along the routes, not a China solo," Xi said in March at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province.
Trade between China and nations along the Belt and Road reached 1.12 trillion U.S. dollars in 2014. Xi has said he hoped this will surpass 2.5 trillion dollars in a decade.