China has called on Russia to join its new Silk Road trade link initiative – an ambitious project meant to revive the ancient commercial route between Asia and Europe.
Cai Guiru, the president of the Association of Chinese Entrepreneurs in Russia, expressed hope that Russian companies would show their willingness to join the project.
"At the moment, $40 billion has been allocated for the Silk Road fund and development of capital projects. The first tranche of 10 billion is already on the fund's account," she said at a meeting with the Russian Federal Migration Service's chief.
"Russia should play a greater role in getting investments from this fund," Cai was quoted as saying by Sputnik news agency.
The Silk Road project linking China with Europe was introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
With the project, Beijing seeks to improve political ties, create a traffic network between the Pacific Ocean and the Baltic Sea, shorten the barriers to trade and investment, and broaden settlements in national currencies.
China has also called on North Korea to join the crucial trade link also referred to as ‘One Belt, One Road’ project.
Last week, China offered a $28 billion investment package for Pakistan, showing Beijing's determination to get going with the Silk Road project. The sum was a down payment for a $46 billion infrastructure development program called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that aims to connect northwestern China with Pakistan's Arabian Coast.
The new Silk Road project plans to build roads, ports, railway systems and other infrastructure from China going into the Middle East, Central, Southeast Asia and through to Europe. Besides facilitating trade and economic activity from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, the project would also help China to build new political ties.
The megaproject has already caused enthusiasm among other countries. Last week, Kazakhstan unveiled its own ambitious plan of investing over $20 billion by 2020 into its transportation industry, aiming to become the main transit country between the Chinese and European market.