China is waiting for a global hello to the new Silk Road and is quite hopeful to show everyone the corridor as the sole answer to all economic meltdowns that occurred in past and are likely to happen in future. Instead of hot pursuit, it is a phenomenally calm and steady showing, no haste to persuade world or even antagonists, believing that impressive results are always better to convince critics.

Many of countries have already jumped onto the bandwagon to reap the benifits and the rest are in the process of rigorous negotiations. Few influential countries including America, that are putting up fierce resistance, are also in talking terms with Beijing which signifies that big hello to new Silk Road can never be ruled out.

Definitely common interest is the lucky charm that turns foes into friends. ZTE’s case is a glaring example that tells us how US-China tension lowered despite simmering trade hostility. Recently US president Donald Trump slapped several years’ worth of sanctions on ZTE (Chinese Telecommunication Company) with rhetoric to not let China rape his country and steal US jobs. In a flash, he had to reverse all. Meaning of ban was to deprive US market of ZTE’s profit bonanza. The dramatic summersault saved US from impending loss.

Advancing the momentum to Silk Road and bringing more clarity among the stakeholders, recently China held 3rd Silk Road International Exposition and the Investment & Trade Forum for Cooperation between East and West at Qujiang International Convention Center, Xian, capital of Shaanxi province.

I got an opportunity to have a close look at the event. Being a representative from Pakistan I attended media activity titled 2018 The Silk Road “Overseas Experts Rediscover in Shaanxi” organised by CRIOnline in cooperation with Foreign Affairs Publicity Department of Shaanxi provincial party committees and executive committee of Silk Road International expo.

With a cheerful mood, Silk Road forum made everyone sit up and take notice. Avid participation of delegates set the enthusiasm soaring. A fast tempo is always been the hallmark of all summits, forums and expos of Belt and Road initiative (BRI).

Foreign experts belonging to Pakistan, US, Australia, Canada, Burma, Vietnam, Romania, and Turkey offered their insights to highlight challenges and prospects of the new Silk Road . Silk Road exhibition where hundreds of national and international companies had been displaying stalls helped to demonstrate the magnitude of future business opportunities. As train freights routes from Xi’an to Central Asia and Europe are already operational, the new Silk Road has exploitable potential to rock the world.

Silk Road is the lost glory of China that helped China to blossom into hub of trade in ancient times. Original Silk Road materialised during China’s Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) expansion plan, which formed trade routes and networks in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan, as well as modern-day Pakistan and India to the south. Those routes eventually sprawled over many miles to Europe.

Central Asia had status of the epicentre of one of the first era of globalisation, meeting eastern and western markets, boasting immense wealth, and intermixing cultural and religious traditions. Valuable Chinese silk, spices, jade, and other goods were traded with west while China in turn got gold and other precious metals, ivory, and glass products. The route climaxed during the first millennium, under the leadership of first the Roman and then Byzantine Empires, and the Tang dynasty (618–907) in China.

The crusades and furious military advancements of the Mongols in Central Asia impaired era of booming trade. Later Asian commerce with Europe switched from land route to sea route dampening Silk Road business.

New Silk Road usually called Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is lifeline of China’s development and ambitious plan of high-tech industrialisation and service-oriented market. After saturation level peaked and overstocking climaxed, China needed to open up to let business and trade flow outside the country to survive economically. Finally gigantic work to build New Silk Road came underway to restore old trade glory.

During NPC speech, President Xi Jinping called BRI as gateway to new era of modernisation and openness. “Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open. We should pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, give equal emphasis to "bringing in" and "going global," follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increase openness and cooperation in building innovation capacity,” Xi said.

It is fortunate that Pakistan is core partner of rising China to materialise BRI. All eyes are now on CPEC and New Silk Road . It is clarion call to extend loud and clear invitation to all, including US and India, to get in momentous journey to be equal recipient of immersive dividend of Silk Road .

 

The writer is a senior journalist working for China Today and China Radio International. He also contributes to national mainstreams newspapers on economy, international relation and human rights. He is a fellow of ICFJ and is a recipient of China-friendly Netizen 2017 award.

yaseerkhan@hotmail.com

@yasirkhann