Friday, July 28, 2017

These Days, All Roads Lead To Beijing

The success of the new Silk Roads depends on delivering win-win scenarios

Peter Frankopan

Huffington Post - 07/28/2017 

When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, at the beginning of September 2013, few thought it was anything but another ordinary visit. Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, had been to the Kazakh capital several times and usually talked about how he welcomed good relations with one of China’s neighbors to the west. But when Xi began his speech, it was obvious that something new was afoot. The Chinese president was offering more than the usual banal platitudes. He was talking about the future, and he was talking about a plan.  For more than 2,000 years, he said, the peoples who live in the heart of Asia had been able to coexist, cooperate and flourish despite “differences in race, belief and cultural background.” It was a “foreign policy priority,” he went on, “for China to develop friendly cooperative relations with the Central Asian countries.” The time had come, he said, to make economic ties closer, improve communication, encourage trade and enhance monetary circulation. The time had come, he said, for a “Silk Road Economic Belt” to be built. The time had come to breathe new life back into the old Silk Roads, a series of trade routes that once connected Asia, Africa and Europe.

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