• ‘Belt and Road Initiative – an opportunity for economic transformation of South Asia ‘

    Ramesh Tiwari
    November 14, 2017
    ‘Belt and Road Initiative – an opportunity for economic transformation of South Asia ‘

    TravelBizNews Reporter –

    Kathmandu: Scholars representing different countries of South Asia have emphasized on strengthening cooperation between China and South Asian countries through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a seminar held here on Monday.

    The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant development strategy launched by the Chinese President Xi Jinping with the intention of promoting economic cooperation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes.

    Scholars and diplomats from China , India , Bangladesh , Pakistan and Nepal focused on various issues of China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the seminar entitled “ Contours of the Belt and Road Initiative for South Asia “ organized by Nepal – China Friendship Forum ( NCFF).

    Addressing the inaugural session , Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Nepal Yu Hong said the BRI participant countries  are working together to achieve the goal of connectivity in terms of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people relations  and build a community of common interests, common future and common responsibility by enhancing political mutual trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.

    “South Asia has a population of over 1.7 billion, accounting for a fifth of the population of the world. South Asia enjoys rich human resources, great potential market, superb geographic location and bountiful natural resources. China shares 5000 kilometers border with countries in South Asia and the western part of China and South Asia shares great potential of road connectivity.”

    ‘Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013 , the trade between China and South Asian countries has grown steadily. The trade volume in 2016 exceeded 110 billion US dollars, an increase of 14.8 % than that in 2013. Direct investment of China to South Asia in 2016 reached 1.46 billion US dollars, increased by 114.7% compared to that in 2013. China now is one of the major investors in South Asia’, she added.

    Ambassador Hong informed that  the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal increased by 60 percent during January to September in 2017 compared with the same period of last year.

    On the occasion, former foreign minister of Nepal Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and Finance Secretary Shankar Prasad Adhikari opined that the BRI offered tremendous opportunities of economic transformation to the South Asian countries including Nepal.

    Prof. Atiur Rahman from Bangladesh, Prof. Prabir De from India, Prof. Dr. Suchang He from China, Shafqat Munir from Pakistan and Dr. Shankar Sharma from Nepal shed light on diverse issues of the Belt and Road Initiative at the thematic presentation session of the workshop.

    President of Nepal – China Friendship Forum (NCFF) Dr. Kalyan Raj Sharma stressed on strengthening multilateral cooperation between China and South Asian countries for the benefit of people living in South Asia.

    The Belt and Road Initiative will extend from the Chinese mainland to Europe and include more than 60 per cent of the world’s population living in 65 countries across Asia, Europe and Africa.

    Nov. 13 , 2017 

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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