KIEV, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The 2nd Ukraine Silk Road Forum was held here on Thursday, bringing together officials, business leaders and public figures from China, Ukraine and other countries along the Belt and Road, who lauded the role of the forum in boosting China-Ukraine cooperation over the past year and drew a roadmap for the future.
JOINT EFFORTS FOR COMMON PROSPERITY
The Ukraine Silk Road Forum is a platform developed in Ukraine to promote cooperation and dialogue with China and other countries, which joined the Belt and Road Initiative.
Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
Located at the crossroads of global trade, Ukraine aims to become an important link on the modern Silk Road, offering its infrastructure network and trade potential to other countries participating in the initiative.
This year, more than 1,000 participants from 25 Asian and European countries joined the Ukraine Silk Road Forum, signaling that Kiev's plans to become an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative are achievable.
Addressing the forum, Wu Bixiu, secretary general of the Silk Road Cities Alliance, said the forum would be another step towards closer cooperation among countries along the Belt and Road.
She emphasized that these countries could bring their potential into full play only by joining their hands for the sake of common development.
Since the first Silk Road Forum was held in Ukraine on Nov.7, 2016,China and Ukraine have achieved remarkable progress in their bilateral ties and cooperation.
Iryna Nikorak, a secretary of Ukraine's parliamentary group on the development of relations with China and one of the forum's organizers, said that the first Ukraine Silk Road Forum paved the way for the implementation of humanitarian, social and educational initiatives between the two countries.
For instance, after the forum, the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, which assembles business associations of the Belt and Road countries, awarded grants to 30 Ukrainian students for studying in Chinese universities.
"We selected students from all Ukrainian regions and social categories, including vulnerable groups, orphans. These students will learn China's best practices and bring China's experience to Ukraine," Nikorak said.
China-Ukraine economic cooperation has been also flourishing over the past 12 months.
Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said that since the first Ukraine Silk Road Forum, the two countries have established cooperation on several major projects.
"Our cooperation goes beyond words. One of the largest Chinese companies has already been carrying out dredging work in Ukraine's Yuzhny port. Another large Chinese company has won a tender for the reconstruction of a number of roads in Ukraine and will implement it over the next few years," Omelyan said at the forum.
"We also have initiated a number of promising projects between the Ukrainian Post and AliExpress," he added.
GRAND PLANS FOR FUTURE
In the future, Ukraine has vast opportunities for cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, given its rich natural resources, developed infrastructure and close proximity to the European markets, Omelyan said.
As the most promising projects for potential cooperation, he listed the possible joint construction of a railway link between Kiev and Ukraine's largest airport Boryspil, and the joint production of electric cars.
Besides, Ukraine has the potential of become a manufacturing hub for Chinese investors, Omelyan said.
"Ukraine can produce goods for China and export them to the European Union and other countries, with which Ukraine has agreements on free economic zones and free trade," he added.
While many projects between Ukraine and China currently are in the planning stage, the groundwork for others has been already laid down. One of the most far-reaching projects is the construction of a fourth subway line in the capital city of Ukraine.
In May, the Ukrainian authorities have picked two Chinese companies -- China Railway International Group and China Pacific Construction Group -- to be the managing partners and contractors of the project, responsible for engineering, procurement, and construction.
Worth about 2 billion U.S. dollars, the project is expected to start in 2019 and finish within four years.
"The implementation of this project will largely solve the problems of traffic jams in the Troyeshchyna district in Kiev. It will also contribute to raising the quality of life and economic development of the city," Wang Zijian, vice president of China Railway International Group, said at the forum.