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Intensified Chinese Silk Road Diplomacy in Europe

May 12, 2015 (EIRNS)—Parallel to talks in Belarus, which China’s President Xi Jinping visited on May 10-12, China’s ambassadors to Cyprus, Liu Xinsheng, and to the European Union, Yang Yanyi, wrote op-eds in the Cyprus Mail (May 10) and EUObserver, respectively, (May 12), explaining in quite some detail the "One Belt, One Road" program and its benefits for Europe and the Mediterranean. They review the history of the strategy since October 2013, and stress that the initiative is "not a solo" for China, "but a chorus" in which 60 nations along the route can play their part.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told Xi Jinping on May 10, Belarusian News (BelTA) reports, "You once said that a relationship between countries depends on the proximity of their people. I am certain Belarus will become a major hub in the implementation of these large-scale projects (the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century) in the Eurasian region, thereby bringing our people and our states even closer."

Belarusian companies will take part in the development of the new port area Xuwei in Lianyungang, BelTA learned from the administrative committee of the port area. "We invite Belarusian companies and businessmen to take part in the construction of a new port and a new port area. China attaches great importance to the development of cooperation with Belarus and the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping is a fine testament to it," a representative of the Chinese administrative committee said.

The representative told BelTA about the near-term prospects for a large-scale construction of a new area which is underway on the vast territories of the former salt deposits. The area will change the appearance of the city that is home to 5.2 million people. Before, the major task of the city due to its favorable geographic position was to connect the central, western and eastern parts of China by sea and railway. The city’s tasks become even bigger due to the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road projects, the two components of the One Belt, One Road program.

Yet, the new area exists only in the form of a layout. However, in the coming years the area of about 500 square kilometers will be occupied by gigantic industrial complexes, including petrochemical and steel-casting facilities. In its first stage the project will be supported by the government, with the prospect of attracting foreign investment in the future.