Country for PR: China
Contributor: Xinhua News Agency
Thursday, November 30 2023 - 20:40
Maritime Silk Road hub Wenzhou taps BRI opportunities with global peers
WENZHOU, China, Nov. 30, 2023 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/--

The vast sea is boundless, but for hundreds of years, countless people's 
exploration across the ocean has presented a more complete and fuller world to 
the public, and has further promoted global economic, trade and cultural 

During the maritime exchanges between the East and the West, the Maritime Silk 
Road was born, which not only amazed the West with the spices, silk and 
porcelain from the East, but also witnessed the mutual learning of 
civilizations facilitated by the Italian missionary Matteo Ricci and other 
westerners who crossed the sea to explore the East.

On Oct. 3, 2013, China proposed to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk 
Road. Together with the Silk Road Economic Belt proposed on Sept. 7 of the same 
year, they constitute the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has renewed the 
splendid history of economic, trade and cultural exchanges between the East and 
the West.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the BRI, the 2023 Mayors Exchange Conference 
on Maritime Silk Road City Influence was held from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25 in 
southeast China's coastal city Wenzhou, another high-level international 
gathering to promote communication and cooperation of BRI countries after the 
third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.  

Nearly 400 guests, including municipal officials, experts and scholars from 15 
countries of Asia, Europe, Africa and America, gathered in Wenzhou, an 
important Maritime Silk Road hub, according to the Executive Committee. They 
held roundtable discussions on building a harmonious and symbiotic business 
system and promoting the culture heritage of the Maritime Silk Road in a bid to 
tap the opportunities for cooperation and development of the trade route.

The Maritime Silk Road is born of openness and prospers from exchanges. The 
cities along the trade route have a distinctive pioneering spirit, of which 
Wenzhou is a typical representative. Since ancient times, the wealthy coastal 
city has played an important role on boosting trade and cultural ties with its 
global reach, commercial vitality, cultural legacy and active exchanges.

In Jiangxin Islet in the middle reaches of Oujiang River in the north of 
Wenzhou, two ancient pagodas built in Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty 
respectively stand in the islet's east and west. For more than 1,000 years, 
they have been known as the oldest lighthouses on the Maritime Silk Road.

Across the river, Song Dynasty docks, sunken ships and tons of porcelain 
fragments and the ruins of Shuomen Ou Ancient City were unearthed from the site 
of Shuomen Ancient Port in Wenzhou, demonstrating the prosperity and continuity 
of the ancient Maritime Silk Road.

In the 13th century, Chinese envoy Zhou Daguan, a Wenzhou local, visited 
Cambodia during the Angkor period. He not only brought Chinese culture to 
Cambodia, but also wrote A record of Cambodia, which was a vivid account of the 
friendly exchanges between the Chinese and Cambodian people at that time. It's 
the only historical material in the world that reflects the prosperity of the 
Angkor Dynasty.

"I believe that Mr. Zhou Daguan's spirit can inspire all of us - whether 
artists, historians, or friends from all walks of life - to explore the 
unknown, to carry on our cultural legacies, and to forge closer international 
friendships," said Cambodian Prince Sisowath Tesso.

Through the ages, Wenzhou remains an influential hub along the Maritime Silk 
Road, contributing a unique role in facilitating peer city communication and 

In recent years, Wenzhou Port's foreign trade container business has developed 
rapidly, with an expanding foreign trade route network and growing route 
service capacity. The port's near-ocean routes can reach Russia, South Korea, 
the Philippines and other countries, and has 15 foreign trade routes in total.

In 2018, Wenzhou set up a high-level official team to promote economic and 
trade exchanges between Wenzhou and the BRI countries and regions. So far, the 
city's trade volume with the BRI countries has exceeded 640 billion yuan. In 
the past decade, Wenzhou's trade with the BRI countries surged from 53.33 
billion yuan to 147.05 billion yuan.

Nurtured by the pioneering spirit of the Maritime Silk Road, open-minded 
Wenzhou people have been seizing the opportunities of promoting the 
high-quality development of the BRI and higher-level opening-up.

Now Wenzhou has 36 sister cities and friendly exchange cities worldwide, and 
380,000 Wenzhou people are living and working in nearly 60 BRI countries. 
Multinational private Wenzhou firms like Tsingshan Holding Group have ventured 
overseas to expand foothold in BRI countries, which have set up the largest 
number of state-level overseas economic and trade parks for a prefecture-level 

In addition to establishing an exchange platform, the two-day event also 
unveiled a report on the influence of China's Maritime Silk Road cities and the 
top 10 most influential Chinese Maritime Silk Road cities. A cooperation 
initiative on the innovative development of Maritime Silk Road cities was 
jointly launched, opening a new chapter for peer city communication and 

The conference's host city Wenzhou, with its people playing important roles in 
facilitating cross-border economic and cultural exchanges as well as the 
excavation of the Maritime Silk Road landmark heritage Shuomen ancient port, 
posts high rankings in several indices and made into the shortlist.

The joint development of the BRI pursues development, advocates win-win 
results, and delivers hope. Wenzhou will seek maximized integration into this 
road of peace, prosperity, openness, innovation, and civilization, said Wenzhou 
mayor Zhang Zhenfeng.

"We sincerely hope to take this conference as an opportunity to cooperate 
pragmatically and work together for win-win results by means of city and people 
exchanges to inject new impetus into promoting the high-quality development of 
the BRI," Zhang added.

Source: Wenzhou Executive Committee of the 2023 Mayors Exchange Conference on 
Maritime Silk Road City Influence