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Explain the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road

March 22, 2021


Abstract : In order to revive the ancient Maritime Silk Road and bring more benefits to the relevant countries and peoples, Chinese proposed in 2013 that China and countries along the ancient Maritime Silk Road would build together a new Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century.

In order to revive the ancient Maritime Silk Road and bring more benefits to the relevant countries and peoples, China proposed in 2013 that China and countries along the ancient Maritime Silk Road would build together a new Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century. 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. 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is part of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Such an initiative draws inspiration both from history and from latest developments in the 21st century. The aim is to inject strong impetus in enhancing political mutual trust, deepening economic cooperation, and promoting cultural as well as people-to-people exchanges among relevant countries through joint cooperation, common development and regional integration. All countries along the Maritime Silk Road are welcome to plan, develop and benefit together from the initiative.

1. Silk Road Economic Belt Concept and Overview

The Silk Road has long been known for its overland and maritime routes since the ancient times. The two routes complemented each other with flying colors, adding a brilliant chapter to the annals of human civilization.

The ancient maritime Silk Road was opened and operated by the people of Asia, Europe and Africa. For hundreds of years, a large number of ports thrived along the coastlines on the West Pacific, the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Calling on these ports were not only ships carrying silk, but also those loaded with porcelain, ironware, spices, precious stones and books. Crew and passengers included Chinese, Europeans, people from Southeast and South Asia, Arabs and Africans, who came to each other's aid readily as travellers in the same boat.

In the early 15th century, the great Chinese navigator Zheng He who led the world's biggest fleet at the time on a total of seven expeditions, reaching as far as East Africa, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. They did not invade, colonize or swindle, but went for trade along with spreading amity and cracking down on piracy. Zheng He's fleet received welcome and assistance from the countries along the route and touching stories about Zheng He are still being told to this day.

On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership, China proposed jointly building a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road on October 3, 2013. The initiative aims to boost China-ASEAN maritime cooperation and forge closer ties in a community of a shared future. It calls for joint efforts across the region and beyond. 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.

Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is the continuation and development of the ancient maritime Silk Road. What we want to continue pushing forward is the Silk Road spirit featuring peace, friendship, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. What we want is to properly design cooperation pivots and economic corridors on the sea for all-round maritime cooperation in this age of economic globalization and multipolarity. While upholding its own maritime rights and interests, China stands ready to work together with other countries to build maritime partnerships of win-win cooperation.

2. 21st century Maritime Silk Road countries

The main routes of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road:

Quanzhou--Fuzhou--Guangzhou--Haikou--Beihai--Hanoi--Jakarta--Colombo--Calcutta--Nairobi--Athens--Venice

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road passess through 23 countries and regions:

The Republic of Korea (ROK), Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Brunei, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kenya, Tanzania, Greece, Italy.

3. Income of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road countries

The following table provides an overview of the countries of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road. The field income group is according to the World Bank categorization:

Country

Region

IncomeGroup

China

East Asia & Pacific

Upper middle income

Brunei

East Asia & Pacific

High income

Cambodia

East Asia & Pacific

Lower middle income

Egypt

Middle East & North Africa

Lower middle income

Greece

Europe & Central Asia

High income

Indonesia

East Asia & Pacific

Lower middle income

Italy

Europe & Central Asia

High income

Kenya

Sub-Saharan Africa

Lower middle income

Republic of Korea

East Asia & Pacific

High income

Kuwait

Middle East & North Africa

High income

Malaysia

East Asia & Pacific

Upper middle income

Myanmar

East Asia & Pacific

Lower middle income

Pakistan

South Asia

Lower middle income

Philippines

East Asia & Pacific

Lower middle income

Saudi Arabia

Middle East & North Africa

High income

Singapore

East Asia & Pacific

High income

Sri Lanka

South Asia

Lower middle income

Tanzania

Sub-Saharan Africa

Low income

Thailand

East Asia & Pacific

Upper middle income

Turkey

Europe & Central Asia

Upper middle income

United Arab Emirates

Middle East & North Africa

High income

Vietnam

East Asia & Pacific

Lower middle income


4. Exports, imports, and FDI of selected countries along Maritime Silk Road

Even according to the narrow-definition, countries along the 21st century Maritime Silk Road bear a significant share of world international trade and cross-border capital flows. They accounts for 25.95% of the world's total exports of goods and services, 27.6% of world's imports of goods and services, and 25.69% of FDI inflows.

Country

GDP

(bln USD)

GDP per capita

GDP measured by purchasing power parity (PPP) (bln USD)

Population (mln)

China

14342.9

10261.68

23523.36

1397.72

Brunei

13.47

31086.75

28.1

0.43

Cambodia

27.09

1643.12

75.56

16.49

Egypt

303.09

3019.21

1233.15

100.39

Greece

209.85

19582.54

348.35

10.72

Indonesia

1119.19

4135.57

3338.14

270.63

Italy

2003.58

33228.24

2756.95

60.3

Kenya

95.5

1816.55

237.71

52.57

Republic of Korea

1646.74

31846.22

2275.78

51.71

Kuwait

134.63

32000.45

219.02

4.21

Malaysia

364.68

11414.21

946.34

31.95

Myanmar

76.09

1407.81

290.21

54.05

Pakistan

278.22

1284.7

1060.75

216.57

Philippines

376.8

3485.08

1005.74

108.12

Saudi Arabia

792.97

23139.8

1680.54

34.27

Singapore

372.06

65233.28

579.76

5.7

Sri Lanka

84.01

3853.08

297.76

21.8

Tanzania

63.18

1122.12

156.41

58.01

Thailand

543.55

7806.74

1342.17

69.63

Turkey

761.43

9126.56

2347.13

83.43

United Arab Emirates

421.14

43103.32

684.81

9.77

Vietnam

261.92

2715.28

809.99

96.46

(Data source: World Bank)

5. Overview of 21st century Maritime Silk Road countries

The following table provides an overview of the countries of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road. The Data is according to the World Bank categorization:

Country

Imports of goods and services  (bln USD)

Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)

Exports of goods and services  (bln USD)

Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)

Net FDI inflows (bln USD)

Net FDI inflows (% of GDP)

China

2476.29

17.26

2641.27

18.42

155.82

1.09

Brunei

6.81

50.56

7.8

57.95

0.37

2.77

Cambodia

16.92

62.47

16.55

61.09

3.66

13.52

Egypt

78.09

25.77

53.04

17.5

9.01

2.97

Greece

78.06

37.2

78.04

37.19

5

2.38

Indonesia

211.48

18.9

206.02

18.41

24.52

2.19

Italy

570.07

28.45

631.2

31.5

31.19

1.56

Kenya

20.41

21.37

11.49

12.03

1.33

1.4

Republic of Korea

610.1

37.05

657.83

39.95

10.57

0.64

Kuwait

..

..

..

..

0.52

0.38

Malaysia

210.71

57.78

237.85

65.22

9.1

2.5

Myanmar

..

..

..

..

2.29

3.01

Pakistan

56.53

20.32

28.15

10.12

2.22

0.8

Philippines

151.72

40.27

106.78

28.34

7.69

2.04

Saudi Arabia

218.94

27.61

285.86

36.05

4.56

0.58

Singapore

541.84

145.63

645.59

173.52

105.47

28.35

Sri Lanka

24.57

29.25

19.43

23.12

0.76

0.9

Tanzania

..

..

..

..

1.11

1.76

Thailand

275.17

50.62

324.88

59.77

4.82

0.89

Turkey

227.98

29.94

249.3

32.74

9.05

1.19

United Arab Emirates

288.4

68.48

389.37

92.46

13.79

3.27

Vietnam

271.36

103.6

279.72

106.8

16.12

6.15

(Data source: World Bank)

6. Industrial structureof selected countries along Maritime Silk Road

Economies covered by the 21st century Maritime Silk Road also have a highly complementary in industrial structure and resource endowment. There are economies in the very early stage of industrialization, like Brunei, Cambodia, Egypt, Korea, Kuwait, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam in which agriculture accounts for over 20% of their total GDP. There are also typical manufacturing economies like Germany and China. As for endowment, many of the countries are rich in oil, gas, or mineral resources,while some others have scarce supply of natural resources.

Country

Industrial value added (% of GDP)

Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)

Agriculture value added (% of GDP)

China

39

17.26

7.1

Brunei

62.5

50.56

1

Cambodia

34.2

62.47

20.7

Egypt

35.6

25.77

11

Greece

15.3

37.2

3.7

Indonesia

38.9

18.9

12.7

Italy

21.4

28.45

1.9

Kenya

16.1

21.37

34.1

Republic of Korea

32.8

37.05

1.6

Kuwait

57.5

..

0.5

Malaysia

37.4

57.78

7.3

Myanmar

..

..

..

Pakistan

18.3

20.32

22

Philippines

30.2

40.27

8.8

Saudi Arabia

47.4

27.61

2.2

Singapore

24.5

145.63

0

Sri Lanka

27.4

29.25

7.4

Tanzania

..

..

..

Thailand

33.4

50.62

8

Turkey

27.2

29.94

6.4

United Arab Emirates

46.2

68.48

0.7

Vietnam

34.5

103.6

14

(Data source: World Bank)

7. Three Blue Economic Passage of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road

China is willing to engage in all-dimensional and broad-scoped maritime cooperation and build open, inclusive cooperation platforms with countries along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, promoting mutually beneficial "blue partnerships" and forging a "blue engine" for sustainable development. China has put forward plans for three ocean-based "blue economic passages" that will connect Asia with Africa, Oceania, Europe and beyond, in a bid to advance maritime cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).Three "blue economic passages" have been outlined in a document published in June 2017 by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Oceanic Administration.

China-India Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage

The China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea blue economic passage, runs westward via the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, and links with the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, and connects with the China-Pakistan, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors.

China-Oceania-South Pacific Blue Economic Passage

The China-Oceania-South Pacific passage runs southward via the South China Sea into the Pacific Ocean.

China-Arctic Ocean-Europe Blue Economic Passage

China-Arctic Ocean-Europe economic passage links Europe via the Arctic Ocean.

8. The 21st century Maritime Silk Road Cooperation Priorities

Based on priorities to build a mutually-beneficial Blue Partnership, efforts will be made to innovate our approaches for cooperation, set up new cooperative platforms, jointly develop action plans, and implement demonstrative and inspiring cooperative projects. Together, we will embark on a path of green development, ocean-based prosperity, maritime security,innovative growth and collaborative governance.

Green development

Ensuring the health of the ocean contributes to improving human well-being for present and future generations. China proposes that countries along the Road jointly undertake marine ecological conservation and provide high quality marine ecological services, thus safeguarding global marine ecological security.

Safeguarding marine ecosystem health and biodiversity. Pragmatic cooperation will be strengthened to protect and restore the marine ecosystems and to conserve rare and endangered species. Mechanisms for long-term cooperation will be promoted and cross-border marine ecological corridors built. Efforts will be undertaken to jointly monitor, evaluate, preserve and restore the health of mangroves, sea-grass beds, coral reefs, island ecosystems and coastal wetlands. International forums on coastal wetlands will also be held.

Promoting the protection of regional marine environment. Cooperation will be enhanced in addressing marine pollution, marine litter and ocean acidification, and in red tide monitoring and pollution emergency responses. Mechanisms will be set up for cooperation in relevant areas, collaborative assessments of the marine environment carried out, and status reports of the marine environment jointly issued. A China-ASEAN cooperation mechanism for marine environmental protection will be established, and cooperation implemented under the framework of the China-ASEAN Environment Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan. Countries along the Road are encouraged to jointly launch and implement the Plan of Green Silk Road Envoys.

Strengthening cooperation in addressing climate change. Demonstration projects for recycling and low carbon development in maritime sectors will be encouraged. China is willing to support small island states in adapting to climate change, and to provide technical assistance in response to marine disasters, sea level rise, coastal erosion and marine ecosystem deterioration. Support will also be provided to the countries along the Road in conducting island and coastal surveys and assessments.

Strengthening international blue carbon cooperation. China proposes the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Blue Carbon Program to monitor coastal and ocean blue carbon ecosystems, develop technical standards and promote research on carbon sinks, launch the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Blue Carbon Report, and to establish an international Blue Carbon forum and cooperation mechanism.

Ocean-based prosperity

Promoting development and eradicating poverty are the common aspirations of the people along the Road. Countries along the Road are encouraged to give full play to their comparative advantages in sustainably utilizing marine resources, enhancing interconnectivity and promoting the blue economy for a shared future.

Enhancing cooperation on marine resource utilization. China is willing to work with countries along the Road to jointly survey and develop inventories and banks for marine resources. China is prepared to provide technical assistance to countries along the Road in drafting plans for sustainably utilizing marine resources. Enterprises are encouraged to participate in marine resource utilization in a responsible way.Participation is also encouraged in the surveys and assessments of marine resources organized by the international organizations.

Upgrading marine industry cooperation. China will join in efforts by countries along the Road in establishing industrial parks for maritime sectors and economic and trade cooperation zones, and promote the participation of Chinese enterprises in such endeavors. Demonstration projects for developing the blue economy will be implemented, and developing countries along the Road will be supported in mariculture to improve livelihoods and alleviate poverty. China will also work with countries along the Road in developing marine tourism routes and high-quality tourism products, and in setting up mechanisms for tourism information sharing.

Promoting maritime connectivity. Efforts are needed to strengthen international maritime cooperation, improve shipping service networks among countries along the Road, and to jointly establish international and regional shipping centers. Countries along the Road are encouraged to enhance cooperation through pairing sister ports and forging port alliances. Chinese enterprises will be guided to participate in the construction and operation of ports. Projects for the planning and construction of submarine cables will be jointly advanced to improve connectivity in international communications.

Facilitating maritime transport. Exchanges and coordination with relevant countries are encouraged in this area. Closer cooperation will be carried out to improve the market environment for international transportation and to facilitate maritime transportation. China is willing to enhance customs cooperation with countries along the Road, and to promote information exchange, mutual recognition of customs regulations,and mutual assistance in law enforcement.

Strengthening the connectivity of information infrastructure and networks. Information networks will be improved in countries along the Road by jointly building a system with broad coverage for information transmission, processing, management and application, a system for information standards and specifications, and a network security system, thus providing public platforms for information sharing.

Participating in Arctic affairs. China is willing to work with all parties in conducting scientific surveys of navigational routes, setting up land-based monitoring stations, carrying out research on climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, as well as providing navigational forecasting services. China supports efforts by countries bordering the Arctic in improving marine transportation conditions, and encourages Chinese enterprises to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route. China is willing to carry out surveys on potential resources in the Arctic region in collaboration with relevant countries, and to strengthen cooperation in clean energy with Arctic countries. Chinese enterprises are encouraged to join in sustainable exploration of Arctic resources in a responsible way. China will actively participate in the events organized by Arctic-related international organizations.

Maritime security

Maritime security is a key assurance for developing the blue economy. Efforts will be made to promote the concept of common maritime security for mutual benefits. Cooperation in maritime public services, marine management, maritime search and rescue, marine disaster prevention and mitigation and maritime law enforcement will be strengthened in order to enhance capacities for minimizing risks and safeguarding maritime security. [ Strengthening cooperation in maritime public services. China proposes an initiative for jointly developing and sharing maritime public services along the Road, encouraging countries to jointly build ocean observation and monitoring networks, sharing the results of marine environmental surveys, and providing assistance to developing countries in this area. China is willing to strengthen cooperation in the application of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and remote sensing satellite system to provide satellite positioning and information services.

Cooperation on maritime navigation security. China will shoulder its due international obligations, participate in bilateral and multilateral maritime navigation security and crisis-control mechanisms, and work with all parties to combat non-traditional security issues such as crimes on the sea.

Conducting joint maritime search and rescue missions. Under the frameworks of international conventions, China will shoulder its due international obligations, and strengthen information exchange and collaboration in joint search and rescue missions with countries along the Road. Countries are encouraged to expand cooperation in exchange visits, information sharing, personnel training and joint drills in order to enhance capacities in dealing with emergencies at sea including major disasters and security threats to tourists.

Jointly enhancing capabilities to prevent and mitigate marine disasters. We propose jointly setting up marine disaster warning systems in the South China Sea, the Bengal Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and suggest jointly developing marine disaster warning products for transportation, escort, disaster prevention and mitigation. The IOC South China Sea Tsunami Advisory Center(SCSTAC) will play an active role in providing services to neighboring countries. Efforts will be made to work with countries along the Road to build cooperative mechanisms, set up training centers, conduct joint research and applications in marine disaster prevention and catastrophe response, and to provide technical assistance for countries along the Road.

Strengthening cooperation in maritime law enforcement. Dialogue with countries along the Road will be intensified and differences managed. Maritime law enforcement will be boosted under bilateral and multilateral frameworks. Cooperative mechanisms for joint maritime law enforcement, fishery law enforcement, and anti-terrorism and anti-violence on the sea will be developed and improved. Liaison networks for maritime law enforcement will be established and emergency plans developed through collective efforts. Exchanges and cooperation among the maritime law enforcement agencies of countries along the Road will be promoted, and necessary assistance provided for training.

Innovative growth

Innovation is one of the main drivers for the sustainable development of ocean-based economies. Efforts will be undertaken to improve cooperation in the fields of marine scientific research, education and training, and cultural communications, in order to enhance understanding of the ocean, facilitate the application of scientific and technological innovations, and to garner public support for intensifying ocean cooperation.

Furthering cooperation in marine scientific research and technological development. Together with countries along the Road, China will launch a Marine Science and Technology Cooperation Partnership Initiative, jointly survey and research the key waters and passages along the Road, forecast anomalies and assess impacts by researching the interactions between monsoons and the ocean, and by conducting geoscience surveys of the continental margin of the Indian Ocean. Further efforts will be undertaken to intensify cooperation in the fields of marine survey, observation technologies, renewable energy, seawater desalination, marine bio-pharmacy, seafood technology, drones and unmanned vessels. Cooperation in mutual recognition of marine technological standards and technology transfer will also be boosted. Scientific research institutions are encouraged to develop partnerships with enterprises in establishing oversea bases for the demonstration and promotion of marine technology.

Building platforms for marine technology cooperation. Together with countries along the Road, China will build platforms for the sharing of marine research infrastructure, data and technic resources, and marine technological cooperation parks. Efforts will be undertaken to facilitate the development of the APEC Marine Sustainable Development Center, the East Asia Marine Cooperation Platform, the China-ASEAN Marine Cooperation Center, the China-ASEAN College of Marine Sciences, the China-PEMSEA Sustainable Coastal Management Cooperation Center, the China-Malaysia Joint Marine Research Center, the China-Indonesia Center for Ocean and Climate, the China-Thailand Joint Laboratory for Climate and Marine Ecosystem, the China-Pakistan Joint Marine Scientific Research Center, and the China-Israel Seawater Desalination Joint Research Center, so as to improve our capacity to achieve innovation in marine technology.

Jointly building smart ocean application platforms. Marine data and information sharing among different countries will be heightened and cooperative mechanisms and networks set up among marine databases. Countries are encouraged to work together on marine data re-analysis and application, to build the Center for Marine Meteorological and Oceanographic Climate Data, and jointly develop marine big data and cloud platform technologies so as to launch public information sharing platforms serving socio-economic development.

Conducting marine education and cultural exchange. The Marine Scholarship Program will enjoy continued funding from China, and more individuals from the countries along the Road will come to China for research and training. Efforts will be undertaken to implement marine knowledge and cultural exchange and integration programs. Coastal cities in China are encouraged to launch sister city partnerships with counterparts in the countries along the Road. Efforts will be undertaken to enhance exchange and cooperation with non-profit marine organizations and science education organizations. The Matsu folk culture will be promoted and the world Matsu marine culture center set up. Cooperation in marine cultural heritage protection and underwater archaeology and excavation will be promoted. The Ocean Culture Year and the Ocean Arts Festival will be held in countries along the Road to celebrate the Maritime Silk Road's spirit of friendly cooperation throughout the ages.

Joint promotion of ocean related culture. Media cooperation will be enhanced via cross border interviews and other efforts, in order to develop a media "circle of friends". We will collaborate on maritime art creation to present the local customs and lifestyles of countries along the Road, thus laying a solid foundation of public support.

Collaborative governance

The Blue Partnership is an effective way for promoting ocean cooperation. Efforts will be undertaken to promote policy coordination, deepen common understanding, enhance mutual political trust, build bilateral and multilateral cooperative mechanisms and to jointly participate in ocean governance, in order to provide the institutional framework for ocean cooperation.

Developing high-level dialogue mechanisms for marine affairs. China will work with countries along the Road to set up coordination and dialogue mechanisms at different levels and through multiple channels to formulate instruments for inter-governmental and inter-departmental cooperative, including action plans and roadmaps, and to promote major cooperative programs. Joint efforts will be undertaken towards developing high-level dialogue mechanisms among countries along the Road with the mission of implementing action plans and addressing major issues. The China-Small Island States Ocean-related Ministerial Round Table Meeting and the China-South Europe Marine Cooperation Forum will be held as planned.

Developing mechanisms for cooperation in blue economy. The Global Blue Economy Partnership Forum will be launched to promote new concepts and best practices of the blue economy, and to boost marine industrial integration and capacity cooperation. Efforts will also be undertaken to jointly develop international blue economy classification standards, and to release reports on blue economy development. Ocean-related public finance products will be explored to support the development of the blue economy.

Jointly conducting marine spatial planning and application. Cross-border marine spatial planning for blue growth will be promoted, common principles and technical standards implemented, and best practices and evaluation methods shared. China is willing to provide technical assistance in marine spatial planning for countries along the Road, and to jointly build an international forum on marine spatial planning.

Strengthening cooperation through multilateral mechanisms. The Chinese government supports the development of mechanisms for ocean cooperation and the formulation of policies and rules under the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the East Asia Leaders' Meetings, the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum. China will boost cooperation with multilateral cooperative organizations and support the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO), the Partnership in Environment Management of Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and the International Ocean Institute in jointly organizing and promoting major programs and projects.

Enhancing cooperation among think tanks. Dialogue and exchange among the think-tanks of the countries along the Road will be encouraged, joint research on the alignment of strategies and policies undertaken, and major initiatives launched, in order to provide intellectual support for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. China supports domestic think-tanks in developing strategic partnerships with counterparts along the Road and relevant international organizations in efforts to set up a 21st Century maritime Silk Road think-tank alliance.

Strengthening cooperation among non-governmental organizations. Ocean-related public services, academic workshops, cultural exchanges, technological cooperation and knowledge dissemination are encouraged among NGOs along the Road as a complement to intergovernmental efforts, in order to enhance global ocean governance.

9. The 21st century Maritime Silk Road key projects

Including the Malaysia Malacca Seaside Industrial Park, the Pakistan Gwadar Port, the port+industrial park+city mode of integrated development of the Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar, the Colombo Port City and the Phase II Hambantota Port Project in Sri Lanka,the railway linking Ethiopia and Djibouti, the railway between Mombasa and Nairobi in Kenya, and the Piraeus port in Greece.

China is collaborating with the Netherlands in developing offshore wind power generation and with Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Iran in implementing seawater desalination projects. The connectivity of submarine communication has been remarkably enhanced and the Asia-Pacific Gateway (APG) submarine optical fiber cable is officially up and running. The industrial parks in China's Qinzhou and Malaysia's Kuantan, the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone in Cambodia and the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperative Zone in Egypt, are currently under construction, and have achieved remarkable progress.

10. Free trade Zones Harmoniously Connecting the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road

Different from the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is based on the opening-up of the central and west regions in China to the West, the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road is aimed at the eastern coastal areas further opening up to the Asia-Pacific region. The development of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) involves large areas at home and abroad, demanding some core areas and key nodes as strategic support. The eastern coastal areas in China have the advantage of being at the forefront of opening-up and being a forerunner of reform, so building the first pilot free trade zone here and connecting it to the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road are beneficial to exploring a new way or a new mode of deepening the reform in an all-way-round way, further opening to the outside world, and innovating an open economic system.

The present economic globalization is propelling the development and reconstruction of global trade and investment rules. Its developing trend is a high-level fulfillment of an overall trade liberalization, including service trade liberalization as in financial fields. This has introduced many new problems to the reform and opening-up and the BRI development in China. The development of the domestic free trade zones is the most effective way to explore solutions to these problems. The key to the development of free trade zones is institutional innovation; accumulating applicable experience through reform and trial of the investment management system, trade supervision system, financial innovation system and supervision system during and after the process, etc. helps to further develop the Chinese economy and improve the ability to cope with the change of global rules.

Now, China has successively set up four free trade zones in Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangdong, and Fujian, and made them the core areas and starting points for the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. The experience accumulated through the unprecedented experiments in various aspects, such as investment liberalization, trade facilitation, financial globalization, administrative simplification, etc. in the domestic free trade zones, especially China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, can definitely be applied to the other free trade zones established later. Various areas actively trying to get connected with BRI and the development of the free trade zones can serve as a breakthrough to accelerating the reform of economic system. We can gradually fulfill “policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds” at the national level with countries and areas along the Belt and Road, so as to promote an overall sustainable development of the economy and society.

11. Meaning of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road

Build a peaceful and stable surrounding environment.

The concept of jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is a strategic choice for maintaining world peace and promoting common development under the new situation. It will become a strategic point of convergence between China and ASEAN to open up new areas of cooperation and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. It will help set aside disputes, enhance consensus, win-win cooperation, and promote the construction of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous surrounding environment.

Deepen reform and opening up.

China's reform has entered a critical period. Global competition in markets, technology, resources, etc. has become increasingly fierce. Some developed countries have tried to continue to dominate world economic development by formulating new international and regional economic and trade arrangements. The joint construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is an important way to respond to challenges and force reforms through opening up in the new situation.

Expand the space for economic development.

The joint construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will not only help China and countries along the Maritime Silk Road to carry out all-round cooperation in the fields of port and shipping, marine energy, economics and trade, technological innovation, ecological environment, and cultural exchanges, but also promote regional prosperity.

Promote the common prosperity of countries along the route.

Since the rise of the Qin and Han Dynasties, the Maritime Silk Road has been an important transportation corridor connecting the East and the West and the golden route for the prosperity and development of commercial trade. China and ASEAN have established the world's largest free trade area for developing countries.

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Keyword: Maritime Silk Road 21st Century Maritime Silk Road new maritime silk road MSRI

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