GYUMRI, Armenia—Xi’an, the capital of China’s northwestern Shaanxi Province, established on Monday a friendly-city relationship with Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia, with an eye to more in-depth cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinhua reports.
Dong Jun, mayor of Xi’an, attended the ceremony in Gyumri Monday marking the signing of the friendly city agreement as well as one on trade and economic cooperation, along with the Mayor of Gyumri Samvel Balasanyan, and the Governor of Shirak region, Felix Tzolakyan.
The two sides expressed the wish to expand bilateral cooperation in all possible spheres, including trade and economy, tourism, culture, and high-tech.
Xi’an and Gyumri are both located along the ancient Silk Road. Xi’an, as the starting point of the Silk Road, is not just a major transport hub linking China’s east with its west, but also the biggest city in the China section of the new Eurasian Continental Bridge. In his keynote speech at the Xi’an-Gyumri Economic and Trade Forum Monday evening, the mayor of Xi’an called for the establishment of various cooperation platforms between the two cities, to promote the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia in September and October of 2013.
The Initiative refers to creating the modern Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road to boost international trade and expand global economic ties. The Belt and Road routes run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and developed European economic circle at the other.
Recalling Gyumri’s role along the ancient Silk Road, Balasanyan said he would like to see a revival of Armenia in the modern Silk Road Economic Belt.
The Xi’an delegation also visited Monday Gyumri’s Technological Park.
Gyumri, with a population of 146,000, is also a cultural capital of Armenia.