China is looking to accelerate the creation of an "information Silk Road" between countries encompassed by the Belt and Road Initiative, a high-level Chinese official told an international forum on Monday.
Cui Yuying, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, said the plan is needed to break down communication barriers between Asian and European nations. The initiative is meant to join these areas and others through investment and trade.
Cui spoke at the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Information during the Fifth China-Eurasia Expo held in Urumqi, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Media outlets have a big responsibility in pushing forward the information Silk Road and should "set up (information) sharing platforms to help each other with areas that are lacking."
Countries along the initiative's routes should work together to uncover the value in information and facilitate its flow, to better serve economic and trade exchanges.
Media outlets from different countries should also enhance cooperation, share new media experience and jointly push innovation in media production, transmission and presentation, she said.
More than 100 countries and international organizations have taken part in building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the two key components of the initiative unveiled by President Xi Jinping during visits to Central and Southeast Asia in 2013.
China has invested $51.1 billion in countries along the initiative's route and has signed related cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries, Cui said.
Representatives from 14 countries and international organizations took part in the forum.
Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Pakistani Parliamentary Committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, said on the sidelines that an information Silk Road will support the connectivity of economies by enabling more media and academic exchanges.
Jean-Jacques de Dardel, Swiss ambassador to China, said bringing Europe and Asia closer requires more than investments in trade, roads, bridges and airports.
"It should also include closer collaboration on a cultural level, and definitely collaboration between the media. Approaching another culture is always connected to exchange of different ideas, and invention of new ways of cooperating with each other.
"Indeed, we welcome all efforts to assist the work of the media. ... We believe this is the best way to enhance connectivity," he said.