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Expert notes China's new Silk Road plan should address geopolitics

China will have to pay attention to a whole number of aspects in its Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, including business interests, economic and military security, a leading Chinese expert told TASS on Monday.

"The implementation of this initiative in market conditions cannot depend solely on Xi Jinping and all our scientists with their ideas," Director of the Center of Russian and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Pan Dawei said.

"Specific work is done by entrepreneurs who always have their commercial goals. On the one hand, it is necessary to take into account the interests of business and, on the other hand, one's responsibility as this project is being implemented abroad rather than in the home country. This is a common ground and, upon reaching it, it is necessary to study the laws of the countries involved in this initiative and the relevant international norms," Pan Dawei said.

"Secondly, I believe that it is necessary to consider not only someone's economic interests in the implementation of any project but also to pay attention to social and humanitarian projects. In other words, there should be benefit for the population. It has to be admitted that Western countries have learnt well to implement such socially-focused projects and they have vast experience. China should also learn this from them," the expert said.

Besides, all the initiative's projects are linked with geopolitical interests in one way or another, Pan Dawei said.

"This is a reality that has to be recognized. It may turn out that some project can influence political architecture in the region to some or other degree. That is why, the developments on external markets should be treated with special caution," the expert said.

"Another aspect is that each project within the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative means international cooperation. That is why, it is necessary to consider seriously security issues not only in the course of implementation but also after the end of some project. This relates both to military and economic security," Pan Dawei said, pointing to the problem of international terrorism and the security of trade routes.

The Silk Road Economic Belt initiative (also called the One Belt, One Road project in China) was put forward by Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2013. The project aims to create a transport, energy and trade link between Central, South Asia and Europe to intensify scientific and technical cooperation and deepen economic interaction among countries.

[Source: Itar Tass, Shanghai, 27Mar17]

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