Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk believes the most important aspect of the New Silk Road project is "the creation of communications corridors" between Europe and the countries of Asia. He also sees a role for Ukraine in the project.
Adamczyk was taking part in a discussion panel on Tuesday entitled, "The New Silk Road on the transcontinental transport corridors’ map" during the 11th Europe-Ukraine Forum in Jasionka, near Rzeszow (southeastern Poland).
"In many countries the project is perceived as a Chinese investment in transport corridors; big Chinese capital, that can be made use of. I have a different opinion," Adamczyk said. "I believe that engaging the Chinese is important, but most important of all is that communications corridors are created running between the Asian countries. Corridors that will enable goods to be shipped. That is the sense in all this; the sense that we perceive the idea of one route, one road."
He noted that the project was of interest to Belarus, which needs good communications connections with Europe. "I think Ukraine has similar ideas," he pointed out. In the ministers view, Poland attaches great hope to the possibility of extending the A4 highway to Ukraine.
According to Adamczyk, the concept of the New Silk Road is already being carried out in the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor. This rail route runs from China via Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the black Sea and across Ukraine to Poland. "It is already materialising," Adamczyk declared.
In Adamczyks opinion, another important element of the New Silk Road is "rebuilding, developing full border infrastructure" with Ukraine. The same should be done with the border with Belarus, he stated.
Stanislaw Zmijan MP, a member of the Sejm (lower house) Infrastructure Committee, pointed out that before joining the EU, Poland had almost 30 border crossings with Germany. "Today we should do the same thing with the Polish-Ukrainian border," he argued. "We cannot limit ourselves to seven crossings. There should be 27 such crossings. They are the challenge for today."
The New Silk Road, a project promoted by China, involves developing a network of connections between the rapidly developing western part of that country, and Europe. The project is mainly focused on creating transport infrastructure and accompanying logistics facilities. Of interest to Poland and its neighbours is the southern variant running through the countries of Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. (PAP)