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China’s B&R initiative well promoted, programs adjustable: Russian expert

Updated: May 23,2016 9:29 AM     Xinhua

MOSCOW — The promotion of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has been successful, and its economic programs are adjustable and constructive in advancing multilateral cooperation, a Russian expert said on May 21.

In an interview with Xinhua, Alexey Maslov, head of the Oriental Studies Department at the Russian Higher School of Economics Research University, spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative raised by President Xi Jinping in 2013, which is aimed at facilitating connections between China and countries along the two routes.

The promotion of the initiative is a big success, as the concept has become well known worldwide and triggered heated discussions “even without the participation of China,” said Maslov.

“China has managed to promote this concept very professionally at various levels and to a variety of audiences ranging from academics to business and politics.”

A special thing about the initiative is that its economic programs are adjustable, as “each country could choose the cooperative form it found most suitable,” Maslov said.

Unlike some central Asian countries that have directly joined in the projects, Russia chose to link its own projects, such as the development of Eastern Siberia and the Far East, with the Chinese initiative, Maslov said.

He added that although the initiative is economic in nature, interactions among participating countries in political and other arenas have also been activated along with their economic cooperation.

Maslov suggested that China should design a much clearer development structure for the project.

“Time has come to articulate the basic economic parameters of the project,” Maslov said. “The world asks if China plans a single project, or there will be dozens or even hundreds of different projects, in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and other regions.”

Maslov also said the implementation and further development of the Belt and Road Initiative should go slowly so as to prevent possible “negative or even repulsive reactions.”

“It is meaningless to talk about the implementation speed. We must understand that China did not specify any time limits,” Maslov said, adding that the real return on investment comes in the long term.

“Today China is (also) waiting for proposals from other countries that they think are acceptable to them,” the expert added.