Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visits to Central Asia and Southeast Asia in 2013 launched the initiative of jointly implementing the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future together.
The Economic Belt focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe (the Baltic), linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and West Asia, and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean.
The Maritime Silk Road is designed to go from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean on one route, and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific on the other.
On land, it said, the initiative will focus on jointly building a new Eurasian Land Bridge and developing China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia and China-Indochina Peninsula economic corridors by taking advantage of international transport routes.
This will also be closely related to the BCIM and China-Pakistan economic corridor, according to the plan and therefore China sought “closer cooperation”.
“To be specific, they need to improve the region’s infrastructure, and put in place a secure and efficient network of land, sea and air passages.”
Bangladesh strongly supports China’s economic corridor, and road and belt initiative, though those are being seen as steps to expand its influence in the region by many.
China says the development of the Belt and Road initiative is “open and inclusive and we welcome the active participation of all countries and international and regional organisations in this initiative”.
“It features mutual respect and trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and mutual learning between civilizations,” according to the plan.
To make best use of the participating countries resources, the plan also called for policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds.
This is a way for “win-win cooperation that promotes common development and prosperity and a road towards peace and friendship by enhancing mutual understanding and trust, and strengthening all-round exchanges”.
It also stressed on “deepening political trust” among the countries.
It also called countries along the belt and road to speed up investment facilitation, eliminate investment barriers, and push forward negotiations on bilateral investment protection agreements and double taxation avoidance agreements to protect the lawful rights and interest of investors.
China will take “full advantage” of the existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms to push forward the building of the Belt and Road and to promote the development of regional cooperation.
“We should strengthen bilateral cooperation, and promote comprehensive development of bilateral relations through multi-level and multi-channel communication and consultation”.
“China is ready to conduct equal-footed consultation with all countries along the Belt and Road to seize the opportunity provided by the initiative, promoting opening-up, communication and integration among countries in a larger scope”.