BEIJING: A new Silk Road has been taking shape, extending westwards via central Asian and European countries to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, forming a new Asian-European Trans-continental Bridge, Vice Minister of Communications Feng Zhenglin said Thursday in Beijing.
“The new Silk Road will become a new growth zone for China’s economy and add new energy into the two continents,” he explained.
The ancient Silk Road, a route linking the Asian and European continents as of some 2,000 years ago, used to be the world’s oldest and most historically important trade route that wound more than 7,000km.
In recent years, as China's economic and trade exchanges with central Asian countries has risen, the old route has been turning towards a new life.
On Chinese territory, a national trunk highway line from the eastern port city of Lianyungang to Hurgos in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has basically been completed, according to the Ministry of Communications.
Although the two ends of the bridge are two major economic centres, most areas in its narrow but vast intermediate zones are less developed.
The existing road connecting Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and China cannot meet the demands of transportation. As a result, the International Road Federation initiated the Silk Road Rehabilitation project.
China, which joined the federation in 2002, has been active in revitalising the Silk Road and promoting border trade since it coincides with the country's recent Western Development strategy.
In order to speed up the building of the route, the nation has provided 60 million yuan (RM27mil) in aid to Kyrgyzstan, which is short of funds to build the sector between Uzbekistan and China.
The project will break earth soon, according to Feng.
At Thursday's news conference, the Ministry of Communications announced the third International Silk Road Conference, co-sponsored by the federation, will be held in Xi'an from October 26 to 28 this year. – China Daily/ Asia News Network
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