08 December 2014
The Silk Road evokes a resplendent past of trade uniting ports and people, cities and cultures. Now, China is pursuing an ambitious back-to-the-future plan to revive such ancient trading links with its neighbours, stretching south and north, extending all the way to the eastern Mediterranean.
A year ago, President Xi Jinping – as part of his vision to achieve the “Chinese Dream” of a rejuvenated Chinese nation – called for a revival of the 2,000-year-old land-based Silk Road and the maritime silk route that was charted later.
Over the past two months, China has extended financial muscle to back the mantra, including the setting up of a bank and a new fund. It plans to invest billions of dollars on improving infrastructure and industrial and financial cooperation with emerging markets that lie along the routes; one will pass overland through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran and end in Austria; the sea route will link Chinese ports to Belgium’s port of Antwerp.
…But analysts have expressed doubts about the ease of establishing links between the Central Asian neighbours. Zhang Hongzhou, a researcher in the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said given the “extremely low” level of trust among these countries, a multilateral approach might not go down well.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 27/01/2016