Three key programmes designed to boost international ocean-going trade routes, in line with the objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have been outlined in a new strategy document published by the Chinese government. The proposal – The Vision for Maritime Co-operation under the Belt and Road Initiative – was released in the wake of the recent Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation and calls for the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with specific regard to its coastal and maritime priorities.
More specifically, the proposal, jointly published by the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Oceanic Administration, advocates the development of three “blue economic passages” in co-operation with the countries along the proposed routes of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
At present, the three proposed economic passages are:
1. The China-Indian Ocean-Africa-Mediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage
As conceived, this will link the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, running westward from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean before connecting with both the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor.
2. The China-Oceania-South Pacific Blue Economic Passage
This will run southwards from the South China Sea and into the Pacific Ocean.
3. A further Blue Economic Passage connecting to Europe via the Arctic Ocean
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