Reinventing Silk Road

Cheming Yang

The “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” are initiatives first introduced by Chinese President Xi in the fall of 2013 during visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, respectively. They are expected to feature prominently in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which will run from 2016 to 2020. The land and sea routes are often referred to jointly as the “One Belt, One Road.” The belt includes infrastructures that will stretch from China, through Central Asia, and ultimately reach as far as Rotterdam and Venice. The maritime road contains a network of ports and coastal infrastructures from South and Southeast Asia to East Africa and the northern Mediterranean Sea.
For the inland Silk Road, instead of the ancient camel and horse convoys, railways will carry the weight of modern trade. As such, people also refer to it as iron Silk Road in the sense that passengers will travel through high seep railways (HSRs) and cargo through conventional railroads.
The newest railway materializing the concept of iron Silk Road is the HSR running from Lanzhou of Gansu Province to Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi. This route is in full operation since December 26, 2014. The Lan-Xin HSR is planned to connect with the one under construction from Xuzhou of Jiangsu province in 2016. For the longer-term, the high-speed network can be extended through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey to Bulgaria. Currently, this HSR will build the foundation for the Silk Road economic belt. The cities and regions that dot this line no doubt will benefit most from the establishment of this iron Silk Road. It will help increase trade, tourism and other exchanges with neighboring countries.
It’s a historical opportunity for investors and adventurers.
Traditionally, the Silk Road is a network of trade and cultural transmission routes connecting the West and East by merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, and nomads from China to the Mediterranean Sea. The central Asian sections of the trade routes were expanded around 114 BC by the Han dynasty, largely through the exploration of Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. Have you ever been marveled by what people had achieved through the ancient Silk Road? Now, it is your chances to make a fortune or write up your very own epic.

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