BEIJING (China), March 12 (APP): It is not just China but
other countries which see the opportunities provided by the Belt
and Road Initiative as it could play a major role in revitalizing
the struggling world economy.
“Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Central Asian republics
have all started to think about their economic futures in terms of
these connections. You get leaders in the Saudi Arabian press are
talking about the new silk roads and how Saudi Arabia fits into
this,” according to an article by Peter Frankopan, director of
the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University, published
in ‘China Daily’ on Sunday.
The academic opined, China’s reaching out through the initiative
comes at a time when the United States is talking the language of isolationism and protectionism.
“What everyone is waiting to see is whether the rhetoric and
language of American isolationism becomes a fact,” he said.
“If these signals are right and America is pulling back, then
China’s fostering of new links, particularly with countries with
which it borders on the West, gains greater significance,” he
Terming the Belt and Road Initiative a ‘global growth engine,
the best-selling author and academic said, the initiative could
play a major role in revitalizing the struggling world economy.
Frankopan said, China with its Belt and Road Initiative –
one of the government’s key strategies discussed at the two
sessions – is revitalizing what could be a major new axis for
He said, the Silk Roads, could provide the global economy
with a new much needed growth engine.
“The reason why there is so much excitement about these
routes is because they have existed before. You only have
to look back in history to see how all these connections and
pathways were made,” he added.
“If they have existed before it can work again. It will
lead to a greater level of ease of distributing goods and
services along the routes which will make the whole
process cheaper and quicker.”
The Belt and Road Initiative consists of the Silk Road
Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road.
More than 30 countries along the routes have signed
cooperative agreements with China. Last Year Chinese
companies invested $14.5 billion in markets along them.
Zong Qinghou, deputy to the National People’s Congress
and chairman and general manager of Hangzhou Wahaha Group,
China’s largest soft drinks maker said, the new routes under
the Belt and Road Initiative have provided opportunities not
just for the Chinese companies but to local businesses too.
“The Belt and Road countries are full of business
opportunities and development potential. Investment in
the countries and regions is not only able to help the
development of local economies, but also promote
the transformation of domestic industry,” he added.