Major Chinese coastal cities are vying to become the starting point of a maritime route planned for Southeast Asia, Oceania and North Africa.
At stake are unprecedented business opportunities from an explosion of economic activity in the 21st century version of the ancient maritime Silk Road, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Among the contenders are Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Yangzhou and Qingdao, each citing its history as a major trading port.
They are jockeying for position in the maritime section of “One Belt, One Road”, a network of land and sea lanes that will connect China to large swathes of Asia, Africa and Europe.
Wang Lianmao, deputy chairman of China Overseas Transportation History Research Association, said none of those cities can claim to be the starting point of the maritime Silk Road.
However, any of them could have been a shipping center or a major port at a certain point in China’s history, he said.
Li Donghua, a Taiwan scholar, said Guangzhou was a shipping center in southern China during the Tang dynasty while Yangzhou was its counterpart in the north.
Quanzhou was a major port in the Southern Song dynasty and Yuan dynasty, Li said.
Wang said that unlike the land Silk Road, its maritime counterpart covered different zones in different dynasties.
He said ships that sailed from a certain departure port also called it its port of origin.
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