The Belt and Road Initiative, connectivity and trade facilitation were among the key themes highlighted by Beijing at the opening ceremony of the 7th China-South Asia Expo, a major trade event which opened on Wednesday in Kunming, Yunnan province.
While addressing the opening ceremony, Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that China and South Asian countries have joined hands in the trend of globalization to accelerate their development and revitalization.
"The region has become one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the world," he said.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of both the expo's launch and President Xi Jinping proposing the BRI.
Wang, who is also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, put forward a series of proposals on deepening bilateral cooperation in strategic mutual trust, interconnectivity, economic and trade cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges.
He stressed the need to advance the construction of major routes such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Nepal cross-border railway.
Both sides shall accelerate the construction of key hubs and projects and advance the region's smooth economic circulation, he added.
Wang called on China and South Asian neighbors to further promote trade facilitation and synergy with institutional standards, boost investment cooperation and build on links in global production and supply chains, he said.
The two sides should support each other in international and regional affairs, jointly advocate regionalism based on openness, build on the region's closer cooperation, jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries and champion international fairness and justice, he said.
Wang stressed that China welcomes South Asian countries to continue to take the "China Development Express" and share the dividends of the nation's development.
The expo is being held in Kunming from Wednesday to Sunday.
Foreign leaders, including Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, also attended and addressed the opening ceremony.
They said that South Asian countries have actively promoted the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road with China and achieved fruitful results.
They voiced their expectation to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with China and contribute to the region's openness, inclusiveness, peace, stability and common development.