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Keywords to Understand the Belt and Road Initiative
Keywords give you an insight into the Belt and Road Initiative
 NO. 23 JUNE 8, 2017

The China Academy of Translation, a research institute affiliated with the China International Publishing Group, the country's leading international publisher, has analyzed prevailing terms concerning the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and translated them into a number of foreign languages. In each issue, Beijing Review presents some of these keywords to help readers know more about the initiative.

The Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Initiative—­­­China's proposal to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in cooperation with related countries­—was unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visits to Central and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013. The initiative focuses on promoting policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure and facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and strengthened people-to-people ties through a consultative process and joint efforts, with the goal of bringing benefits to all.

The initiative covers primarily East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, and Central and East Europe. It reflects a convergence of interests and an increasing need for regional and global cooperation. The response from countries along the proposed Belt and Road has been enthusiastic. By the end of 2016 over 100 countries and international and regional organizations had expressed an interest in participating, and more than 40 of them had signed cooperation agreements with China.

Silk Road Economic Belt

The Silk Road first emerged more than 2,100 years ago during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) after China's imperial envoy Zhang Qian twice visited Central Asia. It became a bridge between East and West, opening the door to friendly engagement between China and Central Asia. For two millennia, countless tales of everlasting friendship between peoples have been woven into this ancient network.

In a speech at Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev University on September 7, 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed building a new Silk Road Economic Belt to expand Eurasian economic cooperation. An innovative cooperative approach was outlined, starting with individual projects that are expected to help spur larger-scale regional cooperative development. The proposed economic belt is considered the longest economic corridor in the world—and potentially the most dynamic—connecting the Asia-Pacific region in the East with developed European economies in the West.

21st-Century Maritime Silk Road

Formed during the Qin (221-206 B.C.) and Han dynasties, 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 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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