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Extend new Silk Road to Far East, say Japanese, South Korean experts news
06 July 2007

Mumbai: Experts from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan believe the new Silk Road, linking China with Europe, can be extended further eastward to the Far Eastern countries as well.

The issue was raised at the 2007 International Symposium on Regional Economic Cooperation along the New Silk Road held in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China''s Gansu Province.

The symposium focused on the development of modern logistics in the region as well as the construction of cooperation networks for the cities along the route in China.

The 8,000-km Silk Road or Silk Route with a series of interconnected trade routes that once linked Changan (modern Xian) in China with Asia Minor and the Mediterranean , has huge potential in promoting economic growth along the region, they point out.

The new 10,900-km Eurasian continental bridge, also called the new Silk Road, is similar to the 2,100-year-old old Silk Route and will link China''s ports of Lianyungang and Rizhao with Amsterdam in Holland and Antwerp in Belgium .

Kwaak Yong Hoon, chairman of the Korean KWAAK HwangKyung Group, said he hoped the road could be extended to his country. He said Park Geun-hye, one of the candidates for ROK''s presidential election this year, had promised to build a train-ferry link to connect ROK with the Chinese ports of Yantai, Qingdao and Rizhao.

Mitsuo Honda, a professor of economics at the Japan-based Nihon University, says the huge industrial belt along the road could extend to Japan and the ROK when it came into being.

Both Japan and the ROK could then benefit from the economic integration of Asia and Europe, he added.

They, however, said the lack of integrated planning and industrial fragmentation amidst the push for economic globalisation and the relatively high transportation costs could still hold up the project.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), China''s ministries of commerce and information, and the Gansu provincial government sponsored the symposium.

More than 500 delegates from 12 counties and regions along the new Silk Road attended the conference.

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Extend new Silk Road to Far East, say Japanese, South Korean experts