China sets up coordinating group for modern Silk Road

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has set up a senior-level coordination group to oversee Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road, a Communist Party news website said on Friday, as efforts gather pace on a scheme China hopes will generate US$2.5 trillion (S$3.4 trillion) in trade in a decade.

Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will head the group, with deputies including China's top diplomat State Councillor Yang Jiechi, Vice Premier Wang Yang, and Wang Huning, head of the party's Policy Research Office and a key aide of President Xi Jinping, the CPC News website said.

It provided no other details.

Such groups are typically set up to run important policy initiatives, and the one for the new Silk Road project, termed formally by China as the "One Belt, One Road" initiative, underscores the government's commitment to the scheme.

Projects under the plan include a network of railways, highways, oil and gas pipelines, power grids, Internet networks, maritime and other infrastructure links across Central, West and South Asia to as far as Greece, Russia and Oman, increasing China's connections to Europe and Africa.

Xi said last month that he hoped its annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing's plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass US$2.5 trillion in a decade.