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China Sees Notable Progress in Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Silk Road Fund

March 8, 2015 (EIRNS)—Speaking at the 2015 Spring Festival reception celebrating Chinese New Year in Manila, China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China is looking forward to the year 2015, the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese calendar, as a year of peace, gentleness, and perseverance. He said the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will become operational by the end of the year, and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund would begin to finance infrastructure projects in China’s neighborhood. The AIIB, an initiative of China announced on separate occasions by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in October 2013, is envisioned to be an intergovernmental regional development financial institution to support infrastructure and regional economic development, the Philippines Star reported today.

Ambassador Zhao pointed out the diplomatic success that China has achieved in the past year, citing the successful hosting of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders, the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and the Boao Forum for Asia. He said China has also made steady progress in developing relations with other major countries, entered into a new phase of neighborhood diplomacy, and made headway in its cooperation with other developing countries. The ambassador cited notable progress in economic diplomacy, including the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives, as actual implementation of these initiatives will begin this year.

Ambassador Zhao arrived in the Philippines at a time when China-Philippines relations are tense over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal. Urging the Philippines authorities to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Zhao said: "Let us be kind and gentle to each other. Let us be hard-working and persevere in making new progress for the betterment of China-Philippines relations."