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China's Belt and Road Infrastructure Plan Also Includes Science

May 17, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

China’s plan to make massive investments in land and sea links with global trading partners also includes a little noticed commitment to support science and engineering, including the creation of dozens of new laboratories.

The belt and road initiative—originally announced in fall 2013 and officially dubbed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road—is primarily an economic development program. Chinese President Xi Jinping's pet project, it is heavy on infrastructure—calling for new roads, railways, bridges, and ports—to recreate the overland and maritime trade routes that once led to China. Nearly 70 nations have agreed to cooperate in the plan, which aims to foster industrial development not only in the developing nations of Asia and Africa, but also in China's western provinces, which have yet to share in the economic prosperity of the country's coastal regions.

China is also planning to use the initiative to flex its scientific and engineering muscles, officials made clear at a 2-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that ended yesterday in Beijing. “Innovation is an important force powering development,” Xi said in a speech to the opening session of the forum. And so the initiative will include technical cooperation in fields including artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and smart cities. He also mentioned the need to pursue economic growth that is in line with sustainable development goals, and that rests on environmentally friendly approaches.

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For more details, please refer to http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/china-s-belt-and-road-infrastructure-plan-also-includes-science.

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(Editor: LIU Jia)

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