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Iran Press TV

China not after expanding influence with Silk Road: Defense Ministry

Iran Press TV

Fri May 26, 2017 8:41AM

China's Defense Ministry says a Chinese trade project commonly known as the Silk Road has no military or geostrategic goals, dismissing claims that Beijing seeks to expand its global footprint with the initiative.

The new Silk Road, formally known as the Belt and Road Initiative in China, is President Xi Jinping's signature policy to expand links between Asia, Africa, and Europe. The 1-trillion-dollar initiative aims to give China better access to those areas via land and water routes.

Some countries have, however, voiced concern that Beijing is using the plan to promote China's influence globally. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India has accused Beijing of trying to "undermine the sovereignty of other nations" with the project.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said on Thursday that such accusations were "groundless."

Guoqiang said at a regular monthly news briefing that the new Silk Road was about cooperation and trade.

"The Belt and Road Initiative has no military or geostrategic intent. China is not seeking the right to guide global affairs, or spheres of influence, and will not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries," he said.

China's official Xinhua news agency has said the new Silk Road would be a boon for the developing countries that had been largely neglected by the West.

In a commentary earlier this month, the state-run Xinhua also took a jab at the United States, saying, "As some Western countries move backwards by erecting 'walls,' China is contriving to build bridges, both literal and metaphorical. These bridges are China's important offering to the world, and a key route to improving global governance."

Analysts say China may gain some geopolitical advantage from the Belt and Road Initiative but that would be a natural outgrowth of the economic benefits of the project.

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