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China's Silk Road strategy draws interest from over 50 countries: official

China's initiative to build the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime Silk Road has received interest from more than 50 countries, an official said Saturday.

He Yafei, deputy head of the overseas Chinese affairs office of the State Council, made the remarks at a conference in the southern-most island province of Hainan.

Along the belt and road are many developing countries with a combined population of 4.4 billion and an annual economic output of 2.2 trillion U.S. dollars. Given complementary industrial structures, the economic belt has strong growth potentials, He said.

With huge forex reserves and more frequent uses of the yuan in trade settlement, China could offer low-cost financing to the countries which participate in the drive, he said.

The countries should seek consensus on cooperation and step up cooperation in fields like infrastructure, tourism, energy and finance, he said.

China's initiative gives new impetus to regional integration and offers rare growth opportunities for businesses, said Ong Chong Yi, minister counselor at the Malaysian Embassy in China.

The belt and road initiative was put forward by President Xi Jinping during his overseas visits in 2013. The program reminds people of the ancient Silk Road that set a paradigm for interaction among nations.

[Source: Xinhua, Haikou, 24Jan15]

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