Infrastructure connectivity key to growth

Updated 2017-05-15 11:00:21 China Daily

President calls for further development of trans-regional logistics network and global energy interconnection to boost economy

China will try its best to promote infrastructure connectivity, since that is the foundation of international cooperation and development, President Xi Jinping said while addressing the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday. [Special coverage]

Xi also spoke about how to further enhance infrastructure connectivity.

"We should promote land, sea and air connectivity and the information expressway, concentrate our efforts on key passageways, cities and projects, and build a network of highways, railways and seaports," he said.

Xi proposed the further development of a trans-regional logistics network and global energy interconnection to achieve green and low-carbon growth.

China has tried to promote infrastructure connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative since it was proposed by Xi in 2013.

The initiative aims to boost exchanges in trade, infrastructure investment and people-to-people understandings between China and the rest of the world.

Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng said that so far, China has signed more than 130 bilateral and regional transportation agreements with other countries, including those on railways, roads and civil aviation.

"A more convenient international transportation network will be established (because of the initiative)," he said while hosting a panel session on Sunday afternoon.

According to the Ministry of Transport, 356 cross-border highway and railway routes had been opened between China and 15 Belt and Road countries by the end of last year.

Direct flights now link China with 43 Belt and Road countries.

In an earlier interview, Li said transportation and infrastructure connectivity are the cornerstones of the initiative.

More than 200 delegates from around 60 countries and international organizations attended the panel session on infrastructure connectivity.

"We want to be building bridges, not walls," said Jyrki Katainen, vice-president of the European Commission, adding that economic growth can be stimulated by improving infrastructure connectivity.

Tadeusz Szozda, chairman of the Organization for Cooperation of Railways, said the organization supports the initiative.

Through cooperation, customs clearance procedures for cross-border rail transportation can be simplified to reduce time and costs, thus promoting international trade, he said.

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