Xi’s trip ad­vances key eco­nomic cor­ri­dors

Only when th­ese two cor­ri­dors see con­crete progress will the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road be pushed for­ward in a bal­anced way.

China Daily (USA) - - VIEW -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has just con­cluded a trip to Cam­bo­dia, Bangladesh and In­dia, dur­ing which he par­tic­i­pated in the BRICS Sum­mit in Goa, In­dia, at the week­end.

From the perspective of geopol­i­tics, this was an im­por­tant diplo­matic ac­tiv­ity that deep­ened China’s bi­lat­eral ties with the three coun­tries, which are all im­por­tant for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

It was also a trip that re­sulted in con­crete achieve­ments as China and Bangladesh agreed to deepen strate­gic part­ner­ship of co­op­er­a­tion and 31 co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments were signed with Cam­bo­dia , most of them in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion and in­dus­try. Th­ese achieve­ments are im­por­tant for ad­vanc­ing the China - In­dochina Penin­sula Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, and the Bangladesh-China-In­dia-Myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor. They are also the re­al­iza­tion of China’s lat­est ef­forts in car­ry­ing out the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive from the an­gle of bi­lat­eral part­ner­ships and bor­der-re­gion co­op­er­a­tion.

In a China-Cam­bo­dia joint com­mu­niqué, the two sides agreed to ac­cel­er­ate the ef­fec­tive in­te­gra­tion of Cam­bo­dia’s Rec­tan­gu­lar Strat­egy with China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. For this, the two sides signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing re­gard­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion for the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. This is the sec­ond bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment be­tween China and a coun­try in the In­dochina Penin­sula, after the one be­tween China and Laos.

In Bangladesh, a se­ries of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments were signed on in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion, in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion, en­ergy and elec­tric­ity, diplo­macy, dis­as­ter-preven­tion and con­trol and cli­mate change, among other things, within the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Xi also at­tended the launch cer­e­mony of some im­por­tant bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion projects. Bangladesh is lo­cated where South Asia joins South­east Asia, an im­por­tant in­ter­sec­tion in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive can be ef­fec­tively in­te­grated with Bangladesh’s for­eign-bound strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion, so as to cre­ate newop­por­tu­ni­ties for win-win co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Bangladesh.

The neigh­bor­ing coun­tries and re­gions are im­por­tant start­ing points for the con­struc­tion of both the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st Cen­tu­ryMar­itime Silk Road. That’s why China at­taches great sig­nif­i­cance to con­sol­i­dat­ing its neigh­bor­hood co­op­er­a­tion as a foun­da­tion for im­ple­ment­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Xi’s vis­its in­di­cate bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion is an im­por­tant means to fur­ther­ing the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road. The coun­tries vis­ited have huge needs in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing roads, air­ports, ports, en­ergy, and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, and con­struct­ing this in­fra­struc­ture is key to build­ing the afore­men­tioned cor­ri­dors, which should not only pro­mote in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity in their in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, but also cre­ate jobs, and form re­gional pro­duc­tion net­works and value chains for in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment in the coun­tries con­cerned.

There was an in­ter­na­tional sem­i­nar on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive held in Xi’an, Shaanxi prov­ince, re­cently. A re­port is­sued at the sem­i­nar showed the achieve­ments of the ini­tia­tive in the past three years have been more than ex­pected. Xi’s visit to Pak­istan in 2015 ef­fec­tively pushed for­ward the con­struc­tion of the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, and the con­struc­tion of the China - In­dochina Penin­sula Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor will be of prac­ti­cal im­por­tance to deep­en­ing win-win co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, and shap­ing the ma­tu­rity of China-ASEAN part­ner­ship in the com­ing years.

Like­wise, the con­struc­tion of the Bangladesh-China-In­dia-Myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor will in­ject newvi­tal­ity into China-South Asia co­op­er­a­tion.

Only when th­ese two cor­ri­dors see con­crete progress will the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tu­ryMar­itime Silk Road be pushed for­ward in a bal­anced way. The au­thor is a re­searcher on Asian-Pa­cific stud­ies and global strate­gies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences.

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