The Belt and Road Initiative
The Belt and Road Initiative (一带一路) is used to refer to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
The Silk Road Economic Belt concept was introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013. It is slated to boost cooperation along the ancient Silk Road trade route that stretches northwest from China's coastal area through Central Asia, the Middle East and on to Europe.
The 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road concept first emerged during President Xi's trip to Southeast Asia in October 2013 when he called for increased maritime cooperation between China and ASEAN member countries during a speech to the Indonesian parliament.
A meeting regarding the development priorities of the Belt and Road Initiative was held in Beijing on Feb. 1, 2015. At the meeting, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said the initiative is major policy decisions made by the Party and the State Council that will prove highly significant in further opening to the outside world and promoting regional and world peace.
The Belt and Road Initiative calls for cooperation with countries along the route by allowing route development plans to align with those countries’ own development strategies.
The land route, the Silk Road Economic Belt, will consist of several international economic cooperative corridors based on international transport channels and key economic and trade industrial parks. The development of the sea route, the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, will shape reliable, secure and efficient transport channels between key port cities.
The Belt and Road Initiative has so far won support from 60 countries in addition to support from international organizations such as ASEAN, the European Union and the Arab League. China has also signed memoranda of cooperation with countries such as Kazakhstan and Qatar.
Key facts and figures:
The population of the countries along the Belt and Road totals 4.4 billion, accounting for 63 percent of the world's total population.
Most countries along the Belt and Road are developing countries or emerging economies with rising momentum. Their economies have a total value of US$21 trillion, accounting for 29 percent of total global output.
All of China's 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have expressed their willingness to actively participate in the shaping of the Belt and Road.
In 2014, the trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road exceeded US$1 trillion to reach US$1.12 trillion, which accounts for 26 percent of China's total trade volume.