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China Presents Action Plan for ‘One Belt, One Road’

March 30, 2015 (EIRNS)—This year’s Boao Forum became a central focus for China’s mobilization around the “One Belt, One Road” project for Asia and the world. In his speech on March 28, China’s President Xi Jinping had traced the development of the Asia-Pacific region during the last 70 years from the end of the Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations, to the historic Bandung conference 60 years ago, where Chinese leader Zhou Enlai and India’s Nehru had laid out the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, including non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, and will witness, Xi said, the completion of the ASEAN Community. With the development of the two new Silk Road projects, China hopes to create by 2020 an East Asian Economic Partnership and, by 2020, an East Asian Economic Partnership.

Forty-eight nations were represented at this year’s Boao Forum, an Asian economic forum held annually, with a much greater participation of world leaders, attracted by the vision of the New Silk Road. Most significantly, China used the opportunity to present a broad and rather detailed program of how they envision the development of their “One Belt, One Road.”

Titled “Visions and Actions on Jointly Building Belt and Road,” the document, issued on March 28, detailed the various aspects of the envisioned process, involving economy finance, culture and security . The “framework” of the project includes linking Asia, Europe and Africa by means of the Silk Road Economic Belt through China, Central Asia, Russia, and Europe, a link through Central Asia and West Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, and a sea-land corridor linking China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean, and through the South China Sea to the South Pacific. Further corridors will be developed through China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia and China-Indochina Peninsula. There will also be a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

Economic priorities involve coordinating, enhancing and accelerating trade and transportation, eliminating obstacles on the borders with regard to customs and multimodal transport, promoting connectivity of energy infrastructure, enhancing cooperation in oil and gas, in hydropower and in nuclear energy, and collaboration among the nations in developing new industries, setting up science centers and cross-border economic and investment zones.

The “Road and Belt” will also be supported through the new financial institutions, the action plan continues, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the BRICS Bank, the Silk Road Fund. A financial arm will be established in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and cooperation will be strengthened in the China-ASEAN Interbank Association and SCO Interbank Association. China will also allow companies and financial institutions with good credit-rating to issue Renminbi bonds in China for their financing needs. They will also create a regional financial risk early-warning system, and create an exchange and cooperation mechanism for addressing cross-border risks and crisis.

The cultural exchanges are equally important with the promotion of student exchanges between the “Belt and Road” countries promoting tourism along the Belt and Road as well as sports exchanges. Also cooperation in the area of medicine and in the control of epidemics and other medical emergencies in the region. Joint labs and research centers will be set up to promote innovation in science.

The report goes on to indicate the effects this will have in the continued “reform and opening up” policy in China, including the development of the northwest region with Xian in the center and the northeast region with a focal point in Harbin and corridors going north into Russia and Mongolia. In addition there will be a development of a western corridor from the Yangtze Delta region along the Yangtze River to Chongqing and to Chengdu, which has become a transportation hub along the Central Asian Economic Belt. Such a Yangtze River Corridor would also include such inland cities as Changsha, Nanchang and Hefei, the site of the China Science and Technology University and the Chinese fusion program. The action plan also indicates accelerating cooperation between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze and their counterparts along Russia’s Volga River.

It is a grandiose vision of trade and development which makes the stalemated PNAC imperial vision of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pale in comparison. And the principles of the “One Belt, One Road” laid out in Xi’s speech, where the underlying principle is the mutual respect shown to each countries core interests and choice of development paths contrasts starkly with the imperial unipolar world that lies at the basis of the TPP notion.