SARAJEVO, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) — The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) brings economic, cultural, and societal interconnectedness in the modern world, promoting stability, Member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) Presidency Mladen Ivanic has said.
“BRI is of a great importance to Europe, Asia and Africa. I am glad to see that Europe and China are connecting again, which would definitely bring to a global stability,” Ivanic said in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday.
As part of the 16+1 mechanism, a cooperative platform between 16 Central and Eastern European countries and China, Ivanic said he “thinks BiH will have tremendous benefits” and BiH can use the mechanism to build its infrastructure and attract investors.
He mentioned the significance of construction of thermal power plant “Stanari” located some 175 kilometers northwest of the capital Sarajevo, highlighting the trust the Chinese have in BiH partners.
“It is a very positive and economically sustainable project, and it showed that it is capable to withstand the competition on the market,” Ivanic explained the project’s importance.
He also highlighted another project, the Block 7 Thermal Power Plant Project in Tuzla, some 120 kilometers northeast of Sarajevo.
China will be one of the most important economic, political and civilizational actors in the following centuries, and it is in BiH interest to take the maximum effort for economic cooperation with China to be brought on a higher level, Ivanic added.
BiH could be a special place where the Chinese goods could be transported to the West and vice versa, Ivanic said, highlighting BiH strategic geographical position.
After China’s agreement on a mutual visa-free regime with BiH took effect on May 29 this year, BiH saw a sharp increase of tourist arrivals, and economic benefits as well.
“I think the abolishment of visas is of a tremendous importance for the cooperation and BiH will have a special benefit from it,” the official said.
He added that the real effects of the visa abolition will come next year, and predicted that after the third year, more than 100,000 Chinese tourists will visit BiH annually.
Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.