Europe reaching for Asia

The historic Silk Route: Europe reaching for Asia

Tremendous profits were to be obtained for anyone who could achieve a direct trade connection with Asia. This was the main driving factor for the Portuguese explorations of the Indian Ocean and resulting in the arrival in 1513 of the first European trading ship to the coasts of China.
The first use of the term "Seidenstraße" (literally the Silk Road or Silk Route(s) was by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877, who made seven expeditions to China, from 1868 to 1872. The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive trans-continental network across the Eurasian continent.


The Eurasian Land-Bridge is one of the most important strategic questions of today because the success of the economic integration of Eurasia to technological base - will determine our future.
Suggested Integration of Eurasia to technological base through development corridors:
Integrated infrastructural projects with high-speed railways, highways and waterways and computerized railway stations, were to constitute the transportation arteries of these 100-meter-wide corridors along which the most modern technologies and industries could be brought into Eurasia. (The Schiller institute U.S.A 2001).
Globally integrated and effective railway system to drive the economic development through infrastructure lines:
Line A - the northern route, going from Europe to Vladivostok and China through Trans-Siberian Railroad;
Line B - the central route, going from Europe through Ukraine, Kazakhstan to China;
Line C - the southern route, going from Europe to Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan to China. (The Schiller institute 2001).
An idea called “the Eurasian Land-Bridge concept”, was initially presented in the 1860s USA by Henry C. Carey the economist who was also a partner of President Abraham Lincoln. Carey proposed that the lessons of Europe and the United States in opening up the western lands from the Atlantic to the Pacific and then similarly in Europe, via railroad development corridors, be utilized throughout Eurasia. This policy, presented by Carey was adopted in Germany, France and was also spread into Russia, China, and others (…) That was the so-called “Land-Bridge program” (…)  where all agreed on the development of railway corridors. (The Schiller Institute, U.S.A)

The world's First Transcontinental Railroad, was built between 1863 and 1869 to join the eastern and western halves of the United States. Its construction was considered to be one of the greatest American technological feats of the 19th century. Known as the "Pacific Railroad"  when it opened, this served as a vital link for trade, commerce, and travel and opened up vast regions of the North American heartland for settlement.

Nowadays the term “Eurasian Land Bridge” is used to describe the rail transport route for moving freight and/or passengers overland from Pacific seaports in eastern Russia and mainland China to seaports in Europe. The rail links offer the potential to greatly shorten the distances and reduce transit times between countries and regions and railway corridors could function as a tool to trade expansion and economic growth.

There are three major rail connections over Eurasian continent:
1. The northern route comprises the Trans-Siberian Railway.  It is the First Eurasian Land-bridge and runs through Russia.
2. The central route, Second Eurasian Land Bridge, “New Silk Road”, runs through Kazakhstan to China.
3. The southern route goes through Turkey and Iran and is called the historic Silk Route and is the oldest caravan route to China.

The Eurasian Land-Bridge Map: The Schiller Institute USA

Eurasian Land-Bridge connect the 500 million people of Europe, and 4 billion people in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Only about 1 percentage of the goods shipped from Asia to Europe each year were delivered by inland transport routes - via railway corridors. The potential could be much bigger.

It is obvious that Eurasian Land-Bridge’s long term plan is to use more Eurasian continent as a “bridge” in the trade between Asia and Europe.

Currently the Eurasian Land-Bridge has the required infrastructure to provide efficient land bridge services.

Following facts help to understand the “land bridge” issue:

1. Why for time being such a small proportion only 1 percentage of total container traffic between Europe and Asia is transported by inter modal land bridge services?
2. How the container volume transported by inter modal land bridge services between Europe and Asia could be increased?
3. How to reach efficiency, cost reduction and time saving in the container traffic?
4. How to get the land bridge countries overcome political, economic and ideological differences and start to collaborate in order to achieve efficiency, cost reduction and time saving in the container traffic between Europe and Asia. (Lappeenranta University of Technology 2010)

Eurasian Land-Bridge could also take reference from the North American Land-Bridge, which offers the most efficient railway service in the world. Comparing those two land bridges would be of primary importance.
(professor Olli-Pekka Hilmola, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Kouvola Research Center Unit, Finland 2011)

And today? How is the information about Eurasian Land-Bridge delivered? How is the media informing about this mega project? It is surprising how little information has been delivered about this “mega project” and few of us have ever heard or read anything about this project even though it has been for some time underway. Many countries are participating in this world wide land bridge project, which is clamed to be a project of world historic importance. Although regular references on Eurasian Land-Bridge project in different organ of the mainstream press are missing.
What about international business? Which firms are working on Land-bridge? There should be more visible reference to the articles concerning this project in scientific journals or in the Economist. References on this project on the People's Republic of China are very few. The situation is same on China's state news agencies. There shouldn’t be any difficulties to find exact data on this world wide “mega project” which has been claimed to have “world historic importance”. It is obvious that there is lack of information concerning particularly Eurasian Land-Bridge. More precise information is necessary and that is why the website of “von Witte Association” is following the development of Eurasian Land-Bridge.

Witte’s International business model: Creation of a one whole “system” for Eurasian development

Sergei Wittte: Constructor of the Trans-Siberian railway 9 112 km – The First Eurasian Land-Bridge – and the East Chinese Railway the “Silk Route of modern time” 2400 km - building the last part of Trans-Siberian Railway straight through Manchuria bringing China into the Eurasian development.

“The Witte System”


An international business model: expanding foreign and domestic commercial markets and a wide communication network were the framework within which the products of national labor circulated and engendered wealth.

Central to both foreign and domestic commerce was the railroad, one of the chief instruments of progress.

The basic plan of the Witte System remained a simple one: “Extensive railroad construction would stimulate the growth of the metallurgical and fuel industries supplying rails and other equipment. In turn, the expansion of the heavy industries would create favorable conditions for the growth of the light industries. (…) Railroad construction thus served as the flywheel for the entire economy”. Theodore H. von Laue, Sergei Witte and the industrialisation of Russia U.S:A 1969

Count Witte wrote: “Joining Europe and Asia by a continuous rail connection, that road becomes a global means of transit, on which the exchange of goods between West and East will have to flow (…) with this (…) transit system producing more rapid and cheaper communication”.
“Thanks to the Siberian Rail Road (…) European know-how, and capital will find for itself an extensive new field of employment for the exploration and development of the natural riches of the Eastern nations.”

The Siberian railroad, was Sergei Witte’s largest and most impressive project. As director of Railway Affairs in 1889 he was the first manager of the Siberian railroad construction project and was personally responsible for carrying out the enormously challenging undertaking. In 1901 the great venture had been accomplished according to the plan. It took ten and half years to build the longest railroad line in the world and establish the first rail connection between Europe and Asia.

It was in 1990 when China linked its rail system to the Trans-Siberian via Kazakhstan and called its uninterrupted rail link between the Chinese port city of Lianyungang and Kazakhstan the New or Second Eurasian Land Bridge or the New Silk Route. The route includes China's east-west railways which, in addition to the Beijiang line, are the Longhai Railway and the Lanxin railway.. In 1995 the Chinese and Kazakhstan governments signed an agreement which allows the latter to use Lianyungang as its primary seaport for exports and imports.
- In  1996, the Eurasian Land-Bridge conference in Beijing, defined the Eurasian Land-Bridge as the strategic long-term policy for the Chinese government (The Schiller Institure 2003)
- In 1998, Prime Minister of Russia Yevgeny Primakov proposed in the discussions concerning the development of Eurasian Land-Bridge - the Strategic Triangle of China, Russia, and India… (The Schiller Institute 2003)
- In Autumn 2000 was a positive turning point in the realization of the Eurasian development corridors, when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin placed the Trans-Siberian Railroad at the centre of his Asian diplomacy. “We can specify more than one reason, that people in the Asia-Pacific area should choose transportation routes over Russia. These routes are shorter and not a little faster than the roundabout way by sea as, for example, from Yokohama to Rotterdam. You can transport containers with the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Europe, and they arrive in less than half the time… (The Schiller institute U.S.A 2003)
Examples of Witte’s business model of international commerce for Eurasian Development (Tales of Imperial Russia; The Life and Times of Sergei Witte, 1849-1915 by professor Francis Wcislo, University of Vanderbilt, Nashville Tennessee, U.S.A 2011)

- International commerce where the railroads are the chief instrument of progress.

- A stable currency, expanding foreign and domestic commercial markets and a wide communication network were the framework within which the products of national labor circulated.

- With the help of all types of railroads, the slogan of the Ministry of Finance Witte (…) make Russia “transitible”.

- creation of an entire system of main and secondary railroad lines tying the Far North to central European Russia and the Baltic Sea “a new transit route to Europe for the east and Siberia”.

- Siberian expanse was envisioned linked east to west by rail,  and north to south by river systems that themselves might become more open to international shipping moving along Arctic coasts,

- organizing ocean transit from the Pacific coast terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railroad at Vladivostok to the parts of China and Japan.

- Developing commerce with Central Asia and Persia also was a priority especially along the Trans-Caspian railroad (…) from the Caspian to Bukhara and Samarkand…


1. the northern corridor  First Eurasian L--Bridge” TRANSIB
2. the central corridor  Second E.- L. - B.” New Silk Road”
3. the southern corridor  “Historic Silk Route”
4. the transport corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia
5. the north-south corridor

1.The Northern Corridor – NC –the Trans-Siberian Railway  TSR /  Trans-Siberian  Line, goes from Western Europe to  Eastern  Asia  connecting Netherlands, Germany,  Poland,  Belarus,  Finland, Sweden and Russia. The 9 200  km long  TSR covers  much of this routes and currently carries large  amount of freight  from East Asia to Moscow and further on  to the rest of Europe.
2. The Central Corridor – CC – goes from Western Europe to Southeast Asia, connecting Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and China. Breaks of gauge occur at Polish-Belarusian border (1435-1520 mm) and Kazakh-Chinese border (1520-1435 mm)
3. The Southern Corridor – SC – goes from Western Europe to Southeast Asia connecting Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, with links to China’s Yunnan Province  and, via Malaysia, to Singapore.
4. The Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia – TRACECA – goes from Western Europe to Central Asia, connecting Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Moldavia, Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and China.
5. The North-South Corridor - NSC – goes from Northern Europe to the Persian Gulf. The main route starts in Helsinki, Finland  and continues through Russia to the Caspian Sea, where it splits into three routes, a western route through Azerbaijan, Armenia and Western Iran, a central route across the Caspian Sea to Iran via ferry, and an eastern route through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to eastern Iran. The routes converge in the Iranian capital of Teheran and continue to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Kouvola Research Center Unit, Finland 2011)


Intercultural Communication

By Richard D. Lewis: The Cultural Imperative Global Trends in the 21st Century, United Kingdom 2007
Considering Eurasian Land-Bridge issue: Adopting intercultural communication as a working tool - to get the land bridge countries overcome political, economic and ideological differences and start to collaborate.

The Eurasian Land-Bridge Map: The Schiller Institute USA

- To be able to exchange meaningful information across cultural boundaries it is important to know how the behavioral codes of different nations are build up.

There are three main categories of behavioral codes: 
1. Linear-active, Europeans, task-oriented
2. Multi-active, Eurasians, emotional
3. Reactive, Asians, listeners

1. EUROPEANS - LINEAR-ACTIVE - task-oriented
– People to be task oriented, highly organized planners, who complete actions chains by doing one thing at a time, preferably in accordance with a linear agenda.
– They prefer straight forward and direct discussions, depending on facts and figures they obtain from reliable, often printed or computer-based sources.
– Speech is for information exchange and conversations take turns talking and listening.
– Truthful rather than diplomatic
– Linear-active do not fear confrontation, adhering to logic, rather than emotions.
– They partly conceal feelings and value a certain amount of privacy.
– Results are key, as is moving forward quickly and compromising when necessary to achieve a deal.
– Linear-active believe that good products make their own way and sometimes fail to see that sales are based on relationships in many parts of the world.
– They normally use official channels to pursue their aims and are usually not inclined to use connections, take shortcuts, or influence opinions through presents or undercover payments.
– Normally law-abiding, have faith in rules and regulations to guide their conduct.
– Their honor written contracts and do not unduly delay payment for goods or services received.
– When doing business, they are keen on punctual performance, quality, and reliable delivery dates.
– They are process oriented, brief on the telephone, and respond quickly to written communication.
– Status is gained through achievements,
– Bosses are often low-key
– Money is important.
– Rationalism and science dominate thinking more than religious does.

- Are emotional, loquacious, and impulsive people.
- They attach great importance to family, feelings, relationships, and people in general.
- They set great store by compassion and human warmth.
- They like to do many things at the same time and poor followers of agendas.
- Conversation is roundabout and animated as everyone tires to speak and listen at the same time. No surprisingly, interruptions are frequent, pauses in conversation few.
- Are uncomfortable with silence and can seldom tolerate it.
- In business, relationships and connections are seen as more important than products. The former pave the way for the sale of the latter.
- Relationships are best when they are face-to-face; they cannot be maintained over a protracted period simply by written correspondence or phone calls, although, the former has less effect with multi-actives than the latter.
- They much prefer to obtain their information directly from people and trade in rumor and gossip.
- Show less respect for official announcements, rules, or regulations. Although they have limited respect for authority in general.
- Strong bosses are admired and are also expected to protect their employees.
- Multi-actives are often late with delivery dates and paying for services or goods received.
- Less interested in schedules or deadlines, often move only when they are ready.
- Procrastination is common, punctuality infrequent.
- Concepts of time and discourse are decidedly nonlinear, and they fail to understand the importance that timetables have for linear-active people.
-  Are flexible and frequently change their plans, which in themselves are not so detailed.
- Improvisation and handling chaos are strong points.
- Borrow and lend property rather freely.
- They are gregarious inquisitive, valuing privacy less than company.
- In business, they use charisma, rhetoric, manipulation, and negotiated truth.
- They are diplomatic and tactful and often circumvent laws and officialdom to take “shortcuts”.
- They entertain lavishly and give presents or undercover payments to secure deals and contracts.

3. ASIANS - REACTIVES –– listeners  - Confucian
- They rarely initiate action of discussion, preferring to first listen to and establish the other’s position, then react to it and formulate their own opinion.
- Listen before they talk, leap, concentrating on what the speaker is saying and refusing to let their minds wander.
- Rarely, if ever, do they interrupt a speaker a discourse /speech /presentation.
- When the speaker is finished they do not reply immediately but leave a decent period of silence after the speaker has stopped in order to show respect for the weight of the remarks, which must be considered unhurriedly and with due deference.
- Even when representatives of a reactive culture begin their reply, they are unlikely to voice any strong opinion immediately.
- A more probable tactic is to ask further questions on what has been said in order to clarify the speaker’s intent and aspirations.
- The Japanese, particularly, go over each point in detail many times to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
- The Chinese take their time to assemble a variety of strategies to avoid discord with the initial proposal.
- Are introverts, distrustful of a surfeit of words and consequently are adept at nonverbal communication, which is achieved by subtle body languages.
- In reactive cultures the preferred mode of communication is monologue – pause – reflection – monologue.
- If possible, one lets the other side deliver his or her monologue first.
- In linear-active and multi-active cultures, the communication mode is a dialogue. The person speaking may be interrupted by frequent comments, even questions, which signify polite interest in what is being said. As soon as the speaker pauses, someone else takes his or her turn immediately. Many Westerners have a extremely weak tolerance for silence.
- Reactive not only tolerate silence well but regard it as very meaningful, almost refined, part of discourse.
- The opinion of the other party are not to be taken lightly, or dismissed with a snappy or flippant retort.
- Clever, well-formulated argument require – deserve – lengthy silent consideration.
- The American, having delivered a sales pitch, leans forward and says, Well, what do you think?”
- If a reactive is asked for an opinion, he or she begins to think – in silence.
- The reactive “reply-monologue” is context centered and will presume a considerable amount of knowledge on the part of the listener (who, after all, probably spoke first). Because the listener is presumed to be knowledgeable. Japanese, Chinese, or Finnish interlocutors will often be satisfied with expressing their thoughts in half-utterance, indicating that the listener can fill in the rest. It is a kind of compliment.

Creation of a Cultural Platform in order to improve dialogue between different cultures and nations. It is kind of “room” or “house” put together by a cultural group inside which one holds a plethora of beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions. By entering into that platform, by following the “house rules” and sharing its assumptions during one’s stay there, the “visitor“ can eliminate the phenomenon of cultural shock and is able to exchange meaningful and unambiguous information across cultural boundaries.



Silk Road or Silk Route(s):  Europe reaching for Asia
Great German philosopher, Gottfried Leibniz, echoing the prevailing perception in Europe until the Industrial Revolution, wrote in the 17th century that everything exquisite and admirable comes from the East Indies... Learned people have remarked that in the whole world there is no commerce comparable to that of China.
Tremendous profits were to be obtained for anyone who could achieve a direct trade connection with Asia. This was the main driving factor for the Portuguese explorations of the Indian Ocean, including the sea of China, resulting in the arrival in 1513 of the first European trading ship to the coasts of China

The first use of the term "Seidenstraße" (literally the Silk Road or Silk Route(s) was by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877, who made seven expeditions to China, from 1868 to 1872. The Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative Chinese silk trade, a major reason for the connection of trade routes into an extensive trans-continental network across the Eurasian continent
Extending 6,500 km (4,000 miles), the routes enabled people to transport goods, especially luxuries such as slaves, silk, satin and other fine fabrics, musk, other perfumes, spices, medicines, jewels, glassware, as well as serving as a conduit for the spread of knowledge, ideas, cultures between different parts of the world.

The Silk Routes were extending from southern Europe through Egypt, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Central Asia, Pakistan, India, Java-Indonesia, and Vietnam until it reached China.
The Routes were connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, as well as North and Northeast Africa and Europe.