The PRC Silk Road Economic Belt initiative that aims to establish the network of land and sea routes that will link the western regions of China with the main markets of Central Asia and Europe. The Silk Road Economic Belt project and the Eurasian Economic Union led by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus can become the main driving forces transforming Central Eurasia into a zone of joint development.
This initiative is addressing internal and external challenges. The policy that China has pursued since the late 1970s has allowed the country to increase its impact on the world stage and improve the domestic economic situation. This is China’s largest foreign trade project and its implementation will allow for the strengthening of economic ties between China and the Central Asian countries; the increase in the volume of trade with Europe is considered to be less of a priority.
This Chinese initiative is for economic, geopolitical and security reasons. It is a combined land sea project. The Northern route is supposed to go through the territory of Kazakhstan and the Trans-Siberian Railway. The sea routes will involve the Kazakh port of Aktau, and the ports of the Caspian Sea (Makhachkala, Baku) that provide access to the Caucasus region, Turkey and the Black Sea basin. The Southern routes go through the territory of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran, thus providing access to the Indian Ocean in the Persian Gulf.
The Eurasian Economic Union that commenced on 1st January 2015,brings together Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, lays the foundation for a framework of legal conditions for the joint breakthrough and creates an effective tool for the prevention and resolution of international disputes. The union ensures free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, as well as working on the coordination and synchronization of economic policies in various sectors and there will be only one customs border between China & the E.E.U.
The E.E.U is in many ways a unique association because in addition to the purely economic component, it also includes cooperation in the defense sector – the C..S.TO. The E.E.U. projects and the Silk Road Economic Belt compliment each other and will create a new opportunities.
The first group (the Northern Route) includes the routes that run across the territories of China, Kazakhstan and Russia: Urumqi – Dostyk – Omsk – Moscow – EU countries. The second group (the Sea Route) includes the routes that run across the territory of Kazakhstan and use the Caspian Sea ports for transit. The third group (the Southern Route) includes the routes that bypass the territory of Russia. The Urumqi – Aktau – Baku – Poti – Constanta (the second option is: Urumqi – Dostyk – Almaty – Shymkent – Tashkent – Ashgabat – Tehran – Istanbul route).
The most advanced version of the route is the Western China – Western Europe transport corridor, which runs through the cities of Lianyungang, Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Urumqi, Khorgos, Almaty, Kyzylorda, Aktobe, Orenburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and St. Petersburg, with further access to the Baltic Sea ports.
All this sets the scene for the revival of the Silk Road in its original capacity as the continental belt of trade and economic and cultural interaction among the adjoining states, allowing them to achieve wealth and prosperity.