Over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Silk Road, a 7,000-km-long trade route created by merchants on camel, started to link China with Europe via central and west Asia.
Today, the ancient invention still inspires both China and the United States as they work out their respective blueprints to promote regional development.
In China, a “Belt and Road” strategy has been proposed by President Xi Jinping to boost trade and growth along and beyond the ancient Silk Road, linking China with Europe via central Asia.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) EZRA VOGEL, Harvard University:
“Personally, I think China’s proposal of the ‘Belt and Road’ is really good. We have yet to see its performance but the direction is right.”
In the U.S., there’s also a “New Silk Road Initiative”, with war-torn Afghanistan at the heart of a possible trade pathway between Asia and the West.
Now, as President Xi is visiting the U.S. later this month, many believe the trip will offer a good chance for both sides to review their respective initiatives to see what they could do together.
Some say China and the U.S. could work as partners instead of rivals, when they meet along the ancient Silk Road, and that it could generate a great number of merits that benefit everyone involved.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DAVID DENOON, NYU Center on U.S.-China Relations:
“Institutionally, organizations like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the new silk road, I think, will also be important because they would show China’s links not only to central Asia but going further in the Middle East, and some of the plans for the silk road actually show railroad links going into Europe, so these will be an important force for integrating the economy on a global basis.”
Experts suggest Beijing and Washington start concrete talks, work out ways to cooperate in infrastructure construction, facilitate investment and remove trade barriers, so as to unleash the potential for better growth.