A budget crisis had kept him held up in Washington.
"That was just a coincidence," says senior official Tan Jian, who helped to draft Xi's speech in 2013. We are not imperialists and we do not want to colonize the world.
Third, whereas Beijing's efforts on Central Asia and the former Eastern Bloc countries are raising eyebrows in Russia and Europe, its growing influence from the Western Pacific to the Middle East has caught the attention of two other major powers: India and the United States.
Both the place and the circumstances under which Xi Jinping informed the world about his plan turned out to be symbolic.
There are three key differences between the resurrection of the maritime and the land-based Silk Roads.
Plus, China's leadership has left open just how far the Maritime Silk Road will go.
Is the focus of Beijing's Maritime Silk Road really trade and not politics?
Can the two even be separated in a project of this magnitude?
China's major industrial provinces, with their megacities on the left and right banks of the lower Yangtze, are like the two wings of a dragon, he says, "and Shanghai is the dragon's head." No other port in the world delivers as many products to the global market as Shanghai.
China exports goods valuing over trillion a year. His company, like many others in his industry, is on a shopping spree.