The Macau Government has today expressed confidence that the Maritime Silk Road will be included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List, with Beijing wishing the list covers some 25 cities.

“We hope that as the Historical Center of Macau was listed in the World Heritage Site in 2005, we will be part of this route in a few years,” said Secretary of Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam.

Tam was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the International Silk Road Symposium, which brought together local and mainland Chinese academics.

After the land Silk Road route which served as a corridor for trade and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe was listed in 2014, China has since been fighting for the listing of its sea route.

Macau, which was also a “major transit port,” said Alexis Tam, joined in May an alliance of 24 Chinese cities that have been working to apply this itinerary to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Speaking at the event, Gu Yucai, Deputy Director of China’s State Cultural Heritage Administration, stressed that it was “not only a trade route” but also an “important cultural route” in which various cultures converged.

“Not only cities in China, we also hope that cities in other countries can also make this list. And we hope that UNESCO and other institutions will continue to support us in preserving this maritime route,” he said.

Concerning Macau, Gu stressed the “important role” that the city played in the silk road and the “unique advantages” it plays in China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, also known as the New Silk Road.

Launched in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the One Belt, One Road initiative aims to strengthen links and boost trade between various economies in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa through infrastructure investments.

During the meeting, the two leaders signed a cooperation agreement, which “serves to further strengthen cooperation on cultural heritage related to the Maritime Silk Route, and to enhance the preservation of the relevant cultural heritage by facilitating the application of the silk route to be inscribed in the cultural heritage ”was announced during the symposium.