Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $40 billion for the new Silk Road Fund during a meeting on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
The $40 billion figure to set up the new Silk Road Fund was more than the $16.3 billion figure that Bloomberg had previously reported based on information provided by Chinese government officials that were familiar with the matter.
China’s new Silk Road Fund will held to finance the construction of infrastructure for its New Silk Road plan that will link the nation’s markets to three continents.
President Xi said the goal of the new Silk Road Fund is to “break the bottleneck in Asian connectivity by building a financing platform,” according to Xinhua.
Xi said that the new Silk Road Fund will be used to provide investment and financing for infrastructure, resources, industrial cooperation, financial cooperation, and various other projects associated with connectivity for countries along the “Belt and Road” (China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road), Xinhua reports.
According to Xinhua, connectivity will be a key theme of this year’s APEC meeting in Beijing, which prioritizes three topics: advancing regional economic integration, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening comprehensive development in infrastructure and connectivity.
Connectivity is “not merely about building roads and bridges or making linear connection of different places on surface,” Xi cautioned, according to Xinhua.
“More importantly, it should be a three-way combination of infrastructure, institutions and people-to-people exchanges and a five-way progress in policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, trade link, capital flow, and understanding among peoples,” Xi said.
“Asian countries are just like a cluster of bright lanterns. Only when we link them together, can we light up the night sky in our continent,” Xi added.
China’s New Silk Road plan is comprised of a land-based belt and a maritime route and envisions an economic cooperation bloc aimed at reviving the old Silk Road.
A map published by Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency shows that the land-based Silk Road begins at the ancient capital city of Xi’an and stretches westward through Lanzhou and Urumqi, then shifts southwest across Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
The map shows that the Maritime Silk Road runs through Guangdong and the Chinese province of Hainan through the Malacca Strait and Indian Ocean, then onward to the Horn of Africa before entering the Red Sea and Mediterranean.
China also announced on Saturday that it has sped up approvals for investment projects by approving 21 infrastructure projects – including 16 railway and 5 airport projects – valued at 693.3 billion yuan ($113.24 billion) in an effort to stabilize economic growth, according to Xinhua, citing state broadcaster China National Radio.