16 September 2014
President Xi Jinping, currently on a four-nation Asian tour, has reiterated China’s grand vision of a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, planned to span from the South China Sea to East Africa.
The maritime route is expected to further promote China’s economic and strategic interests.
Xi arrived in the Maldives Sunday, kicking off the South Asian segment of his four-nation tour, which will also bring him to Sri Lanka and India.
The Maldives was always an important stop along the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Xi said, reiterating that Beijing welcomes Malé’s active participation in the maritime initiative.
The initiative, first raised by Xi during a visit to Indonesia last October, is named after the expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and East Africa from 1405-33 by famed Chinese explorer Zheng He.
Together with the proposed land-based Silk Road Economic Belt, the initiative is regarded as China’s vision to stretch its economic reach further westward against the backdrop of the US Asian pivot.
… Li Mingjiang, a professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University, told the Global Times that the goal is to consolidate China’s long-term strategic influence in the region.
“The short-term objective is to improve China’s image in the region that has been damaged by the maritime disputes [in the South China Sea] in the past few years,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 16/09/2014