China plans Maritime Silk Road with ASEAN nations: Report

China is the 10-member ASEAN group’s largest trading partner, with the two-way trade exceeding $400 billion last year

China proposes to build a Maritime Silk Road with Southeast Asia countries where it is locked in a vexed dispute over the South China Sea to boost its foreign trade, state media here reported today.

The Maritime Silk Road (MSR) formed the basis the plans to enhance trade between China and ASEAN countries during the current visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Indonesia and Malaysia where he stated the MSR would help turn the “Golden Decade” between China and the region into “Diamond Decade”.

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

While trade was booming politically the China-ASEAN ties were stuck with the growing discard over the South China Sea disputes between China and four of the ASEAN countries, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

China claims sovereignty over all most all of South China Sea. It goes with the historical trend that China proposed building China-ASEAN community and developing the new MSR, the report said.

The MSR idea followed last month’s efforts by China to revive the ancient silk road, the trade route that existed 2,000 years ago connecting China Xi’an city, Gansu Province and Xinjiang with Central and Western Asia and Mediterranean.

The Silk Road is not only a trade route, but also a route of culture and peace.

Full article: China plans Maritime Silk Road with ASEAN nations: Report (Business Standard)

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