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7 Nov, 2014

China to speed up construction of new Silk Road: Xi

BEIJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — China will accelerate the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and strengthen cooperation with the countries involved, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced.

“We should prepare timetables and road maps for the coming years for the ‘One Belt and One Road’ project,” Xi said when presiding over the eighth meeting of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs on Tuesday.

“We will focus on some significant projects and let the construction of ‘One Belt and One Road’ commence as soon as possible,” said the president, adding that the cooperation between China and the countries involved would be mutually beneficial.

Xi, who also heads the central leading group, said China would help partner countries with infrastructure projects, including transportation, electricity and telecommunications.

China will launch projects that improve the countries involved and boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the president said.

“‘One Belt and One Road’ is a huge and inclusive platform, which aims to combine the rapidly expanding Chinese economy with the benefits of all parties involved,” Xi said.

In addition, China will provide more foreign aid and encourage private capital to participate in the construction of “One Belt and One Road”.

A total of 21 Asian countries willing to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as founding members signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Oct. 24. The authorized capital of the bank, with headquarters in Beijing, is 100 billion U.S. dollars.

The AIIB was established to finance infrastructure constructions along the belt and road, said the president.

Xi announced at the meeting that China will set up a Silk Road Fund with the aim of directly supporting the construction of “One Belt and One Road”. No further details on the fund are available.

“The AIIB and the Silk Road Fund are complementary rather than substitutive to global- and regional-development banks,” said the president, adding that both the bank and the fund would work transparently and in accordance with international conventions.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road were initiated by Xi in 2013.

“One Belt and One Road” connects economies in Asia Pacific and Europe. China and the countries along the belt and road will share the benefits of the project such as bolstering the economy, improving people’s livelihood and tackling crisis, according to Xi.

China said earlier that “One Belt and One Road” was open to all parties and many have registered their interest.