Tehran, Iran, Sept. 4
China's Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun said no one could deny Iran’s key role in the development of the 3,200-kilometer New Silk Road that goes all the way to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Urumqi in China.
The Asian giant’s “Belt and Road” initiative, a project aiming to build a modern-day Silk Road at a cost of $1 trillion, is replete with opportunities and capacities and Iran is a strategic crossroad located on the path of the road, Jun told IRNA news agency on September 4.
Describing Iran’s role in the development of the road as key and undeniable, he said Tehran and Beijing have close ties over the new Silk Road project.
“China has healthy, superb, extensive and stable relations with Iran, particularly in the field of economy, and we want to further expand them,” he said.
Iran could facilitate China’s relations with the Middle East, West and Europe via the road, the senior Chinese official noted.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) or the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road is a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government which focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries, primarily the People's Republic of China (PRC), the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the ocean-going Maritime Silk Road (MSR). Until 2016 the initiative was known in English as the One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR) but the Chinese came to consider the emphasis on the word "one" as misleading.
The Chinese government calls the initiative "a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future". Others see it as a push by China to take a larger role in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.