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China Silk Road will not encroach on Russian interests in Asia-Pacific — Chinese expert

May 29, 2015, 16:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the expert, the Silk Road is a purely economic project which has no geopolitical roots

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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Klimentyev

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. Chinese experts say Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road linking East Asia with Europe is not aimed at encroaching on Russia’s interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The Silk Road is a purely economic project which has no geopolitical roots," LI Yongquan, director of the Institute of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said on Friday.

"Implementing an economic project does not involve matters of sovereignty. And this is a very sensitive issue in the post-Soviet space," he told an international conference entitled Russia and China: New Partnership in a Changing World.

Li stressed that projects to develop trade and transport infrastructure across Asia as part of China's Silk Road initiative were not aimed against Russia’s transit potential, including the Trans-Siberian and the Baikal-Amur railway mainlines alongside the Northern Sea Route, which runs along Russia's northern coast and links Europe with ports in East Asia.

At the same time, he added that initiatives aimed at linking the countries’ potentials required careful consideration by the international community.

"There can be certain reasons for concern indeed," the expert said, noting, however, that "mechanisms of close co-operation existing between us should resolve these issues".

Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road aims to revive the ancient route of the same name and build a transport, energy and trade corridor between Europe and Asia. Projects would include a network of railways, highways and other infrastructure as well as oil and gas pipelines, power grids and Internet networks.

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