Commentary: High time to build new maritime silk road

BEIJING, (PNA/Xinhua) — In his speech at the Indonesian parliament on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed to build a China-ASEAN community of common destiny and provided guidance for constructing a new Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century.

After a decade of fruitful cooperation since the launch of strategic partnership between the two sides, we have every reasons to believe it is high time to bring the brilliant concept of a new maritime silk road between China and the ASEAN into reality.

Such a project would be built upon solid political basis and economic foundations, and is in line with the common aspirations of the peoples of China and the ASEAN countries.

First of all, China and the ASEAN countries are close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers and their fates are increasingly interconnected.

A China-ASEAN community of common destiny conforms to the global trend of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and meets the common interests of the people of Asia and the world, therefore having a huge growth potential.

Second, both China and Southeast Asian nations are Asia’s emerging markets, jointly making great contributions to the sustained economic growth of the region and the world at large.

Their deepened economic and trade cooperation will create enormous business opportunities for both sides and provide huge impetus to world prosperity.

Currently, China is the ASEAN’s largest trading partner, with the two-way trade exceeding US$ 400 billion last year, a six-fold increase since a decade ago. Meanwhile, their mutual investment topped US$ 100 billion last year, a quadruple of the number 10 years ago.

Moreover, a new maritime silk road is the shared aspirations of both peoples and is originated from their common memories.

In his speech, President Xi recalled key historic events that witnessed the bond between the two peoples.

For example, in the 15 century, Zheng He, the famous Chinese navigator, made seven expeditions to the Western Seas. A Dream of Red Mansions, an ancient Chinese novel, gave vivid accounts of rare treasures from Java. Most recently, the Chinese people offered assistance to disaster-affected Indonesian people after a huge tsunami hit Aceh of Indonesia in 2004.

Besides, a skew of concrete steps taken by China have won extensive acclaim, including efforts to strengthen interconnection in the region as well as the proposal to establish an Asian infrastructure investment bank and set 2014 as the year of China-ASEAN cultural exchanges.

China and ASEAN are now striving to build “a diamond decade” after they have witnessed “a golden decade” of cooperation. And it goes with the historical trend that China proposed building the China-ASEAN community and developing the new maritime silk road.

As long as both sides continue to work together closely and always keep in mind the big picture of China-ASEAN strategic cooperation, the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century will surely have a brighter future.