Jointly advance Belt and Road cooperation and share development opportunities
The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation just concluded in Beijing. Nearly 5,000 foreign guests from over 150 countries and more than 90 international organizations attended the forum. The theme of the forum was, Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.
The participants held in-depth discussions on issues including boosting infrastructure connectivity, strengthening development policy synergy and promoting sustainable development etc. The forum achieved broad consensus and adopted a joint communique. President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the forum, titled “Working Together to Build a Brighter Future for Belt and Road Cooperation”, in which he highlighted that the Belt and Road cooperation has both generated new opportunities for the development of all participating countries and opened up a new horizon for China’s development and opening-up.
Since being first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has received strong endorsement and warm support of the international community. Over the past six years, a total of over 150 countries and international organizations have signed the BRI cooperation documents with China and they have cast a vote of confidence and approval for the BRI by action. Meanwhile, the BRI vision has been included in documents of major international institutions including the United Nations, the G20, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the China-CELAC Forum.
The trade volume between China and countries participating in the BRI has surpassed US$6 trillion, with more than US$90 billion of Chinese investment in those countries. A large number of cooperation projects have been launched, which have improved local people’s lives and promoted local economic and social development. The latest studies by the World Bank and other international institutions suggest that the BRI cooperation will cut the costs of global trade by 1.1 to 2.2 percent. What is more, it will contribute at least 0.1 percent of global growth in 2019. Indeed, the BRI has, through mutually beneficial cooperation, proved a popular and worthy cause that goes along with the trend of our times and responds to the shared aspiration of countries for development, and thus has become a broadly participated international cooperation platform and a widely welcomed international public good.
The joint communique adopted by the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation looked forward into the bright future of the Belt and Road cooperation. Looking ahead, China will work together with all participating parties to jointly advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in enhancing connectivity by promoting development policy synergy, infrastructure development, unimpeded trade, financial cooperation and people-to-people bond, thereby enhancing practical cooperation, expanding investment, creating job opportunities, promoting people-to-people exchanges, and improving the well-being of our peoples. The joint advancing of Belt and Road cooperation will continue to follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursue open, green, clean and high standard cooperation to improve people’s lives and promote sustainable development, so as to create an even brighter future for common prosperity.
We have noticed that some people have expressed different views about the BRI, claiming that the initiative is China’s geopolitical tool and could cause some countries to fall into a debt trap. Such views are less than objective or balanced. They are simply a misunderstanding, misrepresentation and even biased view of the BRI. We have stressed on many occasions that the BRI is an open, inclusive and transparent initiative for economic cooperation that supports common development. All parties involved are equal participants, they have all contributed to the initiative and benefited from it. Facts have proved that the BRI is not a “debt trap” that some countries may fall into, but an “economic pie” that benefits local population. It is not a geopolitical tool, but a great opportunity for shared development.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Openness has become a trademark of China. China’s continuous opening up has not only developed itself, but also benefited the world. Going forward, China will take a series of major reform and opening-up measures to boost higher quality opening-up. These include expanding market access for foreign investment in more areas, intensifying efforts to enhance international cooperation in intellectual property protection, increasing the import of goods and services on an even larger scale, more effectively engaging in international macro-economic policy coordination, and working harder to ensure the implementation of opening-up-related policies.
In the coming five years, we will invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations from Belt and Road participating countries to visit China, and offer 5,000 opportunities for exchange, training and cooperative research for talents from China and other BRI participating countries. We are convinced that a more open China will further integrate itself into the world and deliver greater progress and prosperity for both China and the world at large.
While the Belt and Road Initiative is launched by China, its benefits should be shared by the world. Latin American countries are indispensable participants to the Belt and Road cooperation. By now, most Caribbean countries have signed the MOU on cooperation within the Belt and Road Framework with China. The practical cooperation between Caribbean countries and China has brought tangible benefits to both sides. The Bahamas is an important country in the Caribbean region and an important partner of China. Over the past two decades since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the political mutual trust has been strengthened, economic and trade cooperation has been expanded, and people-to-people exchanges have been deepened. China is ready to join hands with The Bahamas to advance Belt and Road cooperation based upon equality, respect, mutual benefit and win-win, share the new opportunities of development and prosperity, and further enhance the welfare of our two peoples.
• Huang Qinguo is the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.