Formed during the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 BC-AD 220), the Maritime Silk Road has always played an important role in economic and cultural exchanges between East and West. And Southeast Asia has always been a nexus of this interaction. On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, President Xi Jinping proposed jointly building a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in his speech to the Indonesian parliament on October 3, 2013. The initiative aims to boost China-ASEAN maritime cooperation and forge closer ties in a community with a shared future. It calls for joint efforts across the region and beyond. Starting with the launch of individual projects that are expected to help spur a wider range of cooperative activities, it envisions a network of interconnected markets linking the ASEAN, South Asia, West Asia, North Africa, and Europe, and a strategic partnership for the South China Sea and the Pacific and Indian oceans.
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