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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2962

High Level Discussions on the Maritime Silk Road

Colombo, 14 November, (

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF), with the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), is organizing a high level Panel Discussion and Roundtable on 21st November, involving political leaders, senior officials, businessmen, academics and the media from Sri Lanka and China.

Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, will grace the occasion as Chief Guest and Mr. Zeng Peiyan, former Vice Premier, will lead the Chinese delegation. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Investment Promotion, will be the Guest Honour and Mr. Milinda Moragoda, Founder Pathfinder Foundation, will moderate the high level Panel Discussion. The theme will be ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)’.

Mr. Zeng Peiyan, is currently the Chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and the Vice Chairman of the BFA. He was formerly a Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council of China. Mr. Peiyan, also served as the Chairman of the State Planning and Development Commission. The 40 member Chinese delegation will also include Zhang Xiaoqiang, Executive Vice President, China Center for International Economic Exchanges, who was previously the Vice Minister, National Development Reform Commission; Mr. Zhou Wenzhong, Secretary General of the BFA, who was formerly Ambassador to the United States and Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Mr. Jin Liqun, Head, Working Group for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The MSR is being promoted by the Chinese to encourage collective prosperity in the Asian region by strengthening connectivity. Both the MSR and the initiative to revive the ancient land-based Silk Road provide a robust framework to support China’s policy of exporting capital to make use of its enormous reserves and strengthening currency. Sri Lanka is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities generated through this process.

Given Sri Lanka’s strategic location, being equidistant from the Far East, the Middle East and Africa, the MSR can yield considerable benefits for the country. Realizing this potential will serve to enhance Sri Lanka’s connectivity, both internal and external. On the one hand, the concept is complementary with Sri Lanka’s hub-based strategy, which focuses, inter alia, on the maritime and commercial sectors. In addition, there is also considerable scope to take advantage of the connectivity associated with the MSR to maximize the opportunities created by the preferential access to a market of 2.5 billion which is being enabled by the FTAs with India and China.

The high level deliberations at the Panel Discussion and the Roundtable will contribute towards developing a clear vision and actionable program which can boost Sri Lanka’s development prospects. The opportunities associated with the MSR can also be a key driver of strengthening productivity and competitiveness of the economy.

The Boao Forum for Asia is the premier platform in this dynamic region for promoting economic integration. It is the Chinese equivalent of the Davos World Economic Forum. It was jointly initiated by 28 countries and inaugurated on 27th February 2001. The Forum’s annual conference brings together more than 2,000 senior government officials, corporate leaders and scholars from Asia and other parts of the world. This is the first time the BFA is bringing a delegation to Asia.

This is the most senior Chinese delegation of its type to visit Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

Mr. Zeng Peiyan
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