Belt and Road, Mag­nif­i­cent Cor­ri­dor

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Source: Xin­huanet, trans­lated by Zhou Fu­jing, pol­ished by Mark Zuiderveld, Png Yu Fung

The out­comes of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive have been de­liv­ered world­wide. The ini­tia­tive, which links the Asia-pa­cific eco­nomic cir­cle to the east and con­nects the Euro­pean econ­omy to the west, runs through moun­tains and across oceans. It is be­ing con­structed into the most mag­nif­i­cent cor­ri­dor in the world.

More than two mil­len­nia ago, the dili­gent and coura­geous peo­ple of Eura­sia ex­plored and opened up sev­eral routes of trade and cul­tural ex­changes that linked ma­jor civil­i­sa­tions of Asia, Europe and Africa, col­lec­tively called the “Silk Road” by later gen­er­a­tions. For thou­sands of years, the Silk Road Spirit of “peace and co­op­er­a­tion, open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness, mu­tual learn­ing and mu­tual ben­e­fit” has been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, pro­moted progress of hu­man civil­i­sa­tion, and con­trib­uted greatly to the pros­per­ity and devel­op­ment of coun­tries along the Silk Road. Sym­bol­is­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the East and West, the Silk Road Spirit is a his­toric and cul­tural her­itage shared by all coun­tries around the world.

In the 21st cen­tury, a new era is marked by themes of peace, devel­op­ment, co­op­er­a­tion and mu­tual ben­e­fit, all the more im­por­tant for peo­ple to carry on the spirit of the Silk Road. When Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping vis­ited Cen­tral Asia and South­east Asia in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber of 2013, he raised the ini­tia­tive of jointly build­ing the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road (Belt and Road), which have at­tracted at­ten­tion from around the world.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive aims to com­ple­ment each other’s ad­van­tages and pro­mote co­or­di­nated devel­op­ment by strength­en­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion and in­te­grat­ing devel­op­ment strate­gies. Three years since its pro­posal, the ini­tia­tive has drawn the par­tic­i­pa­tion of more than 100 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions from around the globe, 40 of which signed co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with China and reached in­ter­na­tional con­sen­sus. Res­o­lu­tions or doc­u­ments ap­proved by the Gen­eral As­sem­bly and the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil of the United Na­tions (UN), UN Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pa­cific (ESCAP), Asia-pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) and The Greater Mekong Sub-re­gion re­flected con­tents of the ini­tia­tive. Con­struc­tion of eco­nomic cor­ri­dors has run smoothly and its con­nec­tiv­ity net­work has grad­u­ally taken shape. Trade in­vest­ment has in­creased sub­stan­tially and co­op­er­a­tion with ma­jor projects has been im­ple­mented as sched­uled, with a num­ber of out­comes made. The es­tab­lish­ment of the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund pro­vide solid sup­port for fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion. CHINA RAIL­WAY Ex­press, named for all Europe-bound trains, trans­port­ing cargo, links mar­ket de­mands of China and Euro­pean coun­tries and bridges peo­ple-to-peo­ple friend­ship among coun­tries, prov­ing to be a land­scape on the Belt and Road.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive was pro­posed by China, but its out­comes will fur­ther ben­e­fit the world. It links the Asi­aPa­cific eco­nomic cir­cle to the east, Euro­pean eco­nomic cir­cle to the west, and runs through moun­tains and rivers, form­ing a mag­nif­i­cent cor­ri­dor.

Chi­nese Idea Brings World Ben­e­fit

On Septem­ber 7, 2013, Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping gave a speech ti­tled Pro­mote Peo­ple-to-peo­ple Friend­ship and Cre­ate a Bet­ter Fu­ture at Kaza­khstan’s Nazarbayev Univer­sity. For the first time, Xi pro­posed to join hands build­ing a Silk Road eco­nomic belt. He said that in or­der to in­crease eco­nomic ties, mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion deeper and space of devel­op­ment broader be­tween the Eurasian coun­tries, co­op­er­a­tion and jointly build­ing the “Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt” to grad­u­ally form an over­all re­gional co­op­er­a­tion.

On Oc­to­ber 3, 2013, Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ered a speech Jointly Build­ing the CHINA-ASEAN Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny at Peo­ple’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil of In­done­sia, known as the par­lia­ment and pro­posed con­struc­tion of the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road. Xi said China was ready to open it­self more to

ASEAN coun­tries on the ba­sis of equal­ity and mu­tual ben­e­fit and was pre­pared to up­grade the CHINA-ASEAN Free Trade Area and strive to ex­pand two-way trade to US$1 tril­lion by 2020. China is com­mit­ted to greater con­nec­tiv­ity with ASEAN coun­tries, propos­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of an Asian in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment bank and strength­en­ing mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion with ASEAN coun­tries and build the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road to­gether.

On June 28, 2014, Xi Jin­ping at­tended a con­fer­ence to com­mem­o­rate the 60th an­niver­sary for is­su­ing the “Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Coex­is­tence” at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple and de­liv­ered a key­note speech. He said that China was prompt­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of ma­jor co­op­er­a­tion ini­tia­tives, such as the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt, 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, Bangladesh-china-in­dia-myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, and CHINA-ASEAN Com­mu­nity of Shared Destiny, and pro­mot­ing a new round of open­ing up and de­vel­op­ing an open eco­nomic sys­tem, so as to bring new op­por­tu­ni­ties and space for de­vel­op­ing Asia and the rest of the world.

On Novem­ber 9, 2014, Xi Jin­ping gave the speech Seek Sus­tained Devel­op­ment and Ful­fill the Asia-pa­cific Dream at the APEC CEO Sum­mit China 2014. The speech in­di­cated that China was ready to work with other coun­tries to pro­mote the build­ing of the “Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt” and the “21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road,” be­come more en­gaged in re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, and make new con­tri­bu­tions to con­nec­tiv­ity, devel­op­ment, and pros­per­ity of the Asia-pa­cific. An es­sen­tial step for­ward has been made in prepara­tory work for the es­tab­lish­ment of the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB), and an in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal MOU was signed by the found­ing mem­bers of the bank not long ago in Bei­jing. China would com­mit US$40 bil­lion to the es­tab­lish­ment of a Silk Road Fund to pro­vide in­vest­ment and fi­nan­cial sup­port for coun­tries along the Belt and Road to un­der­take rel­e­vant projects in in­fra­struc­ture, de­vel­op­ing re­sources and in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is an im­por­tant mea­sure to ex­pand­ing open­ing up in a new era, com­mit­ted to bring­ing devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and out­comes to more coun­tries. On Novem­ber 7, 2015, Xi Jin­ping gave the speech Deepen Co­op­er­a­tion Part­ner­ship Re­la­tion­ship; Jointly Build Beau­ti­ful Asian Home­land at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore. He said that the Belt and Road is an ini­tia­tive of devel­op­ment, co­op­er­a­tion and open­ness which em­pha­sises joint con­struc­tion through con­sul­ta­tion to meet the in­ter­ests of all. More than 60 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions were ac­tive to par­tic­i­pate. China reached co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with many coun­tries. The agree­ment of AIIB was signed; the Silk Road Fund set about pre­par­ing spe­cific projects and steady progress was made in bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion projects. Neigh­bour­ing coun­tries are the fore­most co­op­er­a­tion part­ners of the ini­tia­tive, also the first to ben­e­fit from it.

On Novem­ber 19, 2016, Xi Jin­ping at­tended the APEC CEO

Sum­mit Peru 2016 and de­liv­ered a key­note speech Deepen part­ner­ship re­la­tion, Strengthen Devel­op­ment Mo­men­tum. Xi said China would wel­come all coun­tries to par­tic­i­pate in the Belt and Road to share op­por­tu­ni­ties, greet chal­lenges and seek out devel­op­ment.

On Jan­uary 17, Xi Jin­ping at­tended the Open­ing Ses­sion of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum An­nual Meet­ing 2017 and gave the speech Jointly Shoul­der Re­spon­si­bil­ity of Our Times, Pro­mote Global Growth. He said that more than 40 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions have signed co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with China, and that a cir­cle of friends along the “Belt and Road” is grow­ing big­ger. Chi­nese com­pa­nies have made over US$50 bil­lion of in­vest­ment and launched a num­ber of ma­jor projects in coun­tries along the routes, spurring eco­nomic devel­op­ment of these coun­tries and cre­at­ing lo­cal jobs.

On May 13 and 14, 2017, Bei­jing will host the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, aim­ing to dis­cuss ways to boost co­op­er­a­tion, build co­op­er­a­tion plat­forms and share co­op­er­a­tion out­comes. The fo­rum will also ex­plore ways to ad­dress prob­lems fac­ing the global and re­gional econ­omy, pur­sue in­ter­con­nected devel­op­ment and make the “Belt and Road” ini­tia­tive de­liver greater ben­e­fits to peo­ple of in­volved coun­tries.

Ad­vanced Ini­tia­tive with Clear Frame­work

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is a sys­tem­atic project, which should be jointly built through con­sul­ta­tion to meet the in­ter­ests of all, and ef­forts should be made to in­te­grate devel­op­ment strate­gies of the coun­tries along the Belt and Road. To pro­mote the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ini­tia­tive, in­still vigor and vi­tal­ity into the an­cient Silk Road, Asian, Euro­pean and African coun­tries should be more closely con­nected in new ways to pro­mote mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion to a new height.

On March 28, 2015, Na­tional Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs of the PRC, and the Min­istry of Com­merce of the PRC jointly is­sued the Vi­sion and Ac­tions on Jointly Build­ing Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road ( Vi­sion and Ac­tions). It pointed out: Ac­cel­er­at­ing the build­ing of the Belt and Road can help pro­mote the eco­nomic pros­per­ity of the coun­tries along the Belt and Road and re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion, strengthen ex­changes and mu­tual learn­ing among dif­fer­ent civil­i­sa­tions, and pro­mote world peace and devel­op­ment. It is a great un­der­tak­ing to ben­e­fit peo­ple around the world.

Joint Con­struc­tion

In the new era, the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road is aimed at pro­mot­ing or­derly and free flow of eco­nomic fac­tors, highly ef­fi­cient al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources and deep in­te­gra­tion of mar­kets; en­cour­ag­ing the coun­tries along the Belt and Road to achieve eco­nomic pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion and carry out broader and more in-depth re­gional co­op­er­a­tion of higher stan­dards; and jointly cre­at­ing an open, in­clu­sive and bal­anced re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion ar­chi­tec­ture that ben­e­fits all. Jointly build­ing the Belt and Road is in the in­ter­ests of the world com­mu­nity. Re­flect­ing the com­mon ideals and pur­suit of hu­man so­ci­eties, it is a pos­i­tive en­deav­our to seek new mod­els of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion and global gov­er­nance, and will in­ject new pos­i­tive en­ergy into world peace and devel­op­ment.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is in line with the pur­poses and prin­ci­ples of the UN Char­ter. It up­holds the “Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Coex­is­tence:” mu­tual re­spect for each other’s sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, mu­tual nonag­gres­sion, mu­tual non­in­ter­fer­ence in each other’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, equal­ity and mu­tual ben­e­fit, and peace­ful coex­is­tence.

The ini­tia­tive is open for co­op­er­a­tion. It cov­ers, but is not lim­ited to, the area of the an­cient Silk Road. It is open to all coun­tries, and in­ter­na­tional and re­gional or­gan­i­sa­tions for en­gage­ment, so that re­sults of con­certed ef­forts will ben­e­fit wider ar­eas.

The ini­tia­tive is har­mo­nious and in­clu­sive. It ad­vo­cates tol­er­ance among civil­i­sa­tions, re­spects the paths and modes of devel­op­ment cho­sen by dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and sup­ports di­a­logues among dif­fer­ent civil­i­sa­tions on the prin­ci­ples of seek­ing com­mon ground while shelv­ing dif­fer­ences and draw­ing on each other’s strengths, so that all coun­tries can co­ex­ist in peace and pros­per­ity.

The ini­tia­tive fol­lows mar­ket op­er­a­tion. It will abide by mar­ket rules and in­ter­na­tional norms, give play to the de­ci­sive role of the mar­ket in re­source al­lo­ca­tion and the pri­mary role of en­ter­prises, and let the gov­ern­ments per­form their due func­tions.

The ini­tia­tive seeks mu­tual ben­e­fit, ac­com­mo­dat­ing the in­ter­ests and con­cerns of par­ties in­volved and seek­ing a con­junc­tion of in­ter­ests and the “big­gest com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor” for co­op­er­a­tion so as to give full play to the wis­dom and cre­ativ­ity, strengths and po­ten­tial of all par­ties.

Open­ness, Co­op­er­a­tion, Mu­tual Ben­e­fit

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is a way for win-win co­op­er­a­tion that pro­motes com­mon devel­op­ment and pros­per­ity and a road to­ward peace and friend­ship by en­hanc­ing mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and trust, and strength­en­ing all-around ex­changes. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment ad­vo­cates peace and co­op­er­a­tion, open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness, mu­tual learn­ing and mu­tual ben­e­fit. It pro­motes prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion in all fields, and works to build a com­mu­nity of shared in­ter­ests, destiny and re­spon­si­bil­ity fea­tur­ing mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust, eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and cul­tural in­clu­sive­ness.

The Belt and Road run through the con­ti­nents of Asia, Europe and Africa, con­nect­ing the vi­brant East Asia eco­nomic cir­cle at one end and de­vel­oped Euro­pean eco­nomic cir­cle at the other, and en­com­pass­ing coun­tries with huge po­ten­tial for eco­nomic devel­op­ment. The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt fo­cuses on bring­ing to­gether China, Cen­tral Asia, Rus­sia and Europe (the Baltic); link­ing China with the Per­sian Gulf and the Mediter­ranean Sea through Cen­tral Asia and West Asia; and con­nect­ing China with South­east

Asia, South Asia and the In­dian Ocean. The 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road is de­signed to go from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the In­dian Ocean in one route, and from China's coast through the South China Sea to the South Pa­cific in the other.

On land, the ini­tia­tive will fo­cus on jointly build­ing a new Eurasian Land Bridge and de­vel­op­ing China-mon­go­lia-rus­sia, China-cen­tral Asia-west Asia and China-in­dochina Penin­sula eco­nomic cor­ri­dors by tak­ing ad­van­tage of in­ter­na­tional trans­port routes, re­ly­ing on core cities along the Belt and Road and us­ing key eco­nomic in­dus­trial parks as co­op­er­a­tion plat­forms. At sea, the ini­tia­tive will fo­cus on jointly build­ing more ef­fi­cient trans­port routes con­nect­ing ma­jor sea ports along the Belt and Road. The China-pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor and the Bangladesh-china-in­dia-myan­mar Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor are closely re­lated to the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which re­quire closer co­op­er­a­tion and greater progress.

The ini­tia­tive is an am­bi­tious eco­nomic vi­sion of the openingup of and co­op­er­a­tion among the coun­tries along the Belt and Road. Coun­tries should work in con­cert and move to­ward the ob­jec­tives of mu­tual ben­e­fit and com­mon se­cu­rity. To be spe­cific, they need to im­prove the re­gion's in­fra­struc­ture, and put in place a se­cure and ef­fi­cient net­work of land, sea and air pas­sages, lift­ing their con­nec­tiv­ity to a higher level; fur­ther en­hance trade and in­vest­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tion, es­tab­lish a net­work of free trade ar­eas that meet high stan­dards, main­tain closer eco­nomic ties, and deepen po­lit­i­cal trust; en­hance cul­tural ex­changes; en­cour­age dif­fer­ent civil­i­sa­tions to learn from each other and flourish to­gether; and pro­mote mu­tual un­der­stand­ing, peace and friend­ship among peo­ple of all coun­tries.

Five Ways for Ef­fi­cient Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion

The Vi­sion and Ac­tions points out: pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion, fa­cil­i­ties con­nec­tiv­ity, unim­peded trade, fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion, and peo­pleto-peo­ple bond con­sti­tute the main co­op­er­a­tion con­tent. They are the key to pro­mote ef­fi­cient re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and re­alise the re­sources dis­tri­bu­tion.

En­hanc­ing pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion is an im­por­tant guar­an­tee for im­ple­ment­ing the ini­tia­tive. The Vi­sion and Ac­tions put for­ward: pro­mote in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal co­op­er­a­tion, build a mul­ti­level in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal macro pol­icy ex­change and com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nism, ex­pand shared in­ter­ests, en­hance mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust, and reach new co­op­er­a­tion con­sen­sus. Coun­tries along the Belt and Road may fully co­or­di­nate their eco­nomic devel­op­ment strate­gies and poli­cies, work out plans and mea­sures for re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, ne­go­ti­ate to solve co­op­er­a­tion-re­lated is­sues, and jointly pro­vide pol­icy sup­port for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion and large-scale projects.

Fa­cil­i­ties con­nec­tiv­ity is a pri­or­ity area for im­ple­ment­ing the ini­tia­tive. On the ba­sis of re­spect­ing each other’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity con­cerns, coun­tries along the Belt and Road should im­prove the con­nec­tiv­ity of their in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion plans and tech­ni­cal stan­dard sys­tems, jointly push for­ward the con­struc­tion of in­ter­na­tional trunk pas­sage­ways, and form an in­fra­struc­ture net­work con­nect­ing all sub­re­gions in Asia, and be­tween Asia, Europe and Africa step by step. At the same time, ef­forts should be made to pro­mote green and low-car­bon in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion man­age­ment, tak­ing into ac­count the im­pact of cli­mate change on the con­struc­tion.

The article also points out: with re­gard to trans­port in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, China should fo­cus on the key pas­sage­ways, junc­tions and projects, and give pri­or­ity to link­ing up un­con­nected road sec­tions, re­mov­ing trans­port bot­tle­necks, ad­vanc­ing road safety fa­cil­i­ties and traf­fic man­age­ment fa­cil­i­ties and equip­ment, and im­prov­ing road net­work con­nec­tiv­ity. China should build a uni­fied co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nism for whole- course trans­porta­tion, in­crease con­nec­tiv­ity of cus­toms clear­ance, reload­ing and mul­ti­modal trans­port be­tween coun­tries, and grad­u­ally for­mu­late com­pat­i­ble and stan­dard trans­port rules, so as to re­alise in­ter­na­tional trans­port fa­cil­i­ta­tion. Ef­forts should be given to push for­ward port in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, build smooth land- wa­ter trans­porta­tion chan­nels, and ad­vance port co­op­er­a­tion; in­crease sea routes and the num­ber of voy­ages, and en­hance in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion in mar­itime lo­gis­tics. China should ex­pand and build plat­forms and mech­a­nisms for com­pre­hen­sive civil avi­a­tion co­op­er­a­tion, and quicken im­prove­ments in avi­a­tion in­fra­struc­ture.

Ef­forts should be made to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in the con­nec­tiv­ity of en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture, work in con­cert to en­sure the se­cu­rity of oil and gas pipe­lines and other trans­port routes, build cross-bor­der power sup­ply net­works and power-trans­mis­sion routes, and co­op­er­ate in re­gional power grid up­grad­ing and trans­for­ma­tion. China should jointly ad­vance the con­struc­tion of cross-bor­der op­ti­cal ca­bles and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions trunk line net­works, im­prove in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­nec­tiv­ity, and cre­ate an In­for­ma­tion Silk Road. Ef­forts should be given to build bi­lat­eral cross-bor­der op­ti­cal ca­ble net­works at a quicker pace, plan transcon­ti­nen­tal sub­ma­rine op­ti­cal ca­ble projects, and im­prove spa­tial (satel­lite) in­for­ma­tion pas­sage­ways to ex­pand in­for­ma­tion ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion.

In­vest­ment and trade co­op­er­a­tion is a ma­jor task in build­ing the Belt and Road. The article points out: strive to im­prove in­vest­ment and trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion, and re­move in­vest­ment and trade bar­ri­ers for the cre­ation of a sound busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment within the re­gion and in all re­lated coun­tries; dis­cuss with coun­tries and re­gions along the Belt and Road on open­ing free trade ar­eas so as to un­leash po­ten­tial for ex­panded co­op­er­a­tion.

Coun­tries along the Belt and Road should en­hance cus­toms co­op­er­a­tion such as in­for­ma­tion ex­change, mu­tual recog­ni­tion of reg­u­la­tions, and mu­tual as­sis­tance in law en­force­ment; im­prove bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in the fields of in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and ac­cred­i­ta­tion, stan­dard mea­sure­ment, and sta­tis­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion; and work to en­sure that the WTO Trade Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Agree­ment takes ef­fect and

is im­ple­mented. The Vi­sion and Ac­tions men­tions: im­prove the cus­toms clear­ance fa­cil­i­ties of bor­der ports, es­tab­lish a “sin­glewin­dow” in bor­der ports, re­duce cus­toms clear­ance costs, and im­prove cus­toms clear­ance ca­pa­bil­ity. Ef­forts should be made to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in sup­ply chain safety and con­ve­nience, im­prove the co­or­di­na­tion of cross-bor­der su­per­vi­sion pro­ce­dures, pro­mote on­line check­ing of in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine cer­tifi­cates, and fa­cil­i­tate mu­tual recog­ni­tion of Au­tho­rized Eco­nomic Op­er­a­tors. We should lower non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers, jointly im­prove the trans­parency of tech­ni­cal trade mea­sures, and en­hance trade lib­er­al­i­sa­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion.

The article also put for­ward to ex­pand trad­ing ar­eas, im­prove trade struc­ture, ex­plore new growth ar­eas of trade, and pro­mote trade bal­ance. Ef­forts should be made to make in­no­va­tions in forms of trade, and de­velop cross-bor­der e- com­merce and other mod­ern busi­ness mod­els. A ser­vice trade sup­port sys­tem should be set up to consolidate and ex­pand con­ven­tional trade, and ef­forts to de­velop mod­ern ser­vice trade should be strength­ened. In­vest­ment and trade should be in­te­grated to pro­mote trade through in­vest­ment.

The Vi­sion and Ac­tions put for­ward: speed up in­vest­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tion, elim­i­nate in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers, and push for­ward ne­go­ti­a­tions on bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment pro­tec­tion agree­ments and dou­ble tax­a­tion avoid­ance agree­ments to pro­tect the law­ful rights and in­ter­ests of in­vestors.

The Vi­sion and Ac­tions men­tions: ex­pand mu­tual in­vest­ment ar­eas, deepen co­op­er­a­tion in agri­cul­ture, forestry, an­i­mal hus­bandry and fish­eries, agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery man­u­fac­tur­ing and farm pro­duce pro­cess­ing, and pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in marine-prod­uct farm­ing, deep-sea fish­ing, aquatic prod­uct pro­cess­ing, sea­wa­ter de­sali­na­tion, marine bio­phar­macy, ocean en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion in­dus­tries, marine tourism and other fields. Ef­forts should be made to in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in the ex­plo­ration and devel­op­ment of coal, oil, gas, metal min­er­als and other con­ven­tional en­ergy sources; ad­vance co­op­er­a­tion in hy­dropower, nu­clear power, wind power, so­lar power and other clean, re­new­able en­ergy sources; and pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in the pro­cess­ing and con­ver­sion of en­ergy and re­sources at or near places where they are ex­ploited, so as to cre­ate an in­te­grated in­dus­trial chain of en­ergy and re­source co­op­er­a­tion. En­hanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion in deep-pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy, equip­ment and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices in the fields of en­ergy and re­sources is also writ­ten in the article.

To push for­ward co­op­er­a­tion in emerg­ing in­dus­tries, in ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of mu­tual com­ple­men­tar­ity and mu­tual ben­e­fit, coun­tries along the Belt and Road should pro­mote in-depth co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries along the Belt and Road in new-gen­er­a­tion in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, biotech­nol­ogy, new en­ergy tech­nol­ogy, new ma­te­ri­als and other emerg­ing in­dus­tries, and es­tab­lish en­tre­pre­neur­ial and in­vest­ment co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms.

The article also points out: im­prove the divi­sion of la­bor and dis­tri­bu­tion of in­dus­trial chains by en­cour­ag­ing the en­tire in­dus­trial chain and re­lated in­dus­tries to de­velop in con­cert; es­tab­lish R&D, pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing sys­tems; and im­prove in­dus­trial sup­port­ing ca­pac­ity and the over­all com­pet­i­tive­ness of re­gional in­dus­tries. Coun­tries should in­crease the open­ness of our ser­vice in­dus­try to each other to ac­cel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of re­gional ser­vice in­dus­tries; ex­plore a new way of in­vest­ment co­op­er­a­tion, work­ing to­gether to build all forms of in­dus­trial parks such as overseas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones and cross-bor­der eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion zones, and pro­mote in­dus­trial clus­ter devel­op­ment. They should pro­mote eco­log­i­cal progress in con­duct­ing in­vest­ment and trade, in­crease co­op­er­a­tion in con­serv­ing eco- en­vi­ron­ment, pro­tect­ing bio­di­ver­sity, and tack­ling cli­mate change, and join hands to make the Silk Road more en­vi­ron­ment-friendly.

China wel­comes com­pa­nies from all coun­tries to in­vest in China, and en­cour­age Chi­nese en­ter­prises to par­tic­i­pate in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion in other coun­tries along the Belt and Road, and make in­dus­trial in­vest­ments there. It sup­port lo­calised op­er­a­tion and man­age­ment of Chi­nese com­pa­nies to boost the lo­cal econ­omy, in­crease lo­cal employment, im­prove lo­cal liveli­hoods, and take so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in pro­tect­ing lo­cal bio­di­ver­sity and the eco-en­vi­ron­ment.

Fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion is an im­por­tant un­der­pin­ning for im­ple­ment­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. The Vi­sion and Ac­tions

men­tioned: deepen fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion, and make more ef­forts in build­ing a cur­rency sta­bil­ity sys­tem, in­vest­ment and fi­nanc­ing sys­tem and credit in­for­ma­tion sys­tem in Asia. Rel­e­vant coun­tries should ex­pand the scope and scale of bi­lat­eral cur­rency swap and set­tle­ment with other coun­tries along the Belt and Road, open and de­velop the bond mar­ket in Asia, make joint ef­forts to es­tab­lish the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank and BRICS New Devel­op­ment Bank, con­duct ne­go­ti­a­tion among re­lated par­ties on es­tab­lish­ing Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO) fi­nanc­ing in­sti­tu­tion, and set up and put into op­er­a­tion the Silk Road Fund as early as pos­si­ble.

Ef­forts should be made to strengthen prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion of CHINA-ASEAN In­ter­bank As­so­ci­a­tion and SCO In­ter­bank As­so­ci­a­tion, and carry out mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion in the form of syn­di­cated loans and bank credit. The article men­tioned: sup­port the ef­forts of gov­ern­ments of the coun­tries along the Belt and Road and their com­pa­nies and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions with good cred­i­trat­ing to is­sue Ren­minbi bonds in China. Qual­i­fied Chi­nese fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and com­pa­nies are en­cour­aged to is­sue bonds in both Ren­minbi and for­eign cur­ren­cies out­side China, and use the funds thus col­lected in coun­tries along the Belt and Road.

It also men­tions: strengthen fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tion co­op­er­a­tion, en­cour­age the sign­ing of MOUS on co­op­er­a­tion in bi­lat­eral fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tion, and es­tab­lish an ef­fi­cient reg­u­la­tion co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nism in the re­gion. It also re­quired im­prov­ing the sys­tem of risk re­sponse and cri­sis man­age­ment, build­ing a re­gional fi­nan­cial risk early-warn­ing sys­tem, and cre­at­ing an ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism of ad­dress­ing cross-bor­der risks and cri­sis; in­creas­ing cross-bor­der ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween credit in­ves­ti­ga­tion reg­u­la­tors, credit in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­sti­tu­tions and credit rat­ing in­sti­tu­tions. The role of the Silk Road Fund and that of sov­er­eign wealth funds of coun­tries along the Belt and Road should be given full play, to en­cour­age com­mer­cial eq­uity in­vest­ment funds and pri­vate funds to par­tic­i­pate in the con­struc­tion of key projects of the ini­tia­tive.

Peo­ple-to-peo­ple bond pro­vides the pub­lic sup­port for im­ple­ment­ing the Ini­tia­tive. The Vi­sion and Ac­tions men­tioned: carry for­ward the spirit of friendly co­op­er­a­tion of the Silk Road by pro­mot­ing ex­ten­sive cul­tural and aca­demic ex­changes, per­son­nel ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion, me­dia co­op­er­a­tion, youth and women ex­changes and vol­un­teer ser­vices, so as to win pub­lic sup­port for bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

Coun­tries are en­cour­aged to send more stu­dents to each other’s coun­tries, and pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in jointly run­ning schools. China pro­vides 10,000 gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ships to the coun­tries along the Belt and Road ev­ery year. Cul­ture years, arts fes­ti­vals, film fes­ti­vals, TV weeks and book fairs should be held in each other’s coun­tries; co­op­er­ate on the pro­duc­tion and trans­la­tion of fine films, ra­dio and TV pro­grams; and jointly ap­ply for and pro­tect World Cul­tural Her­itage sites. Per­son­nel ex­change and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries along the Belt and Road should be in­creased.

The article men­tions: en­hance co­op­er­a­tion in and ex­pand the scale of tourism; hold tourism pro­mo­tion weeks and pub­lic­ity months in each other’s coun­tries; jointly cre­ate com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tional tourist routes and prod­ucts with Silk Road fea­tures; and make it more con­ve­nient to ap­ply for tourist visa in coun­tries along the Belt and Road. Ef­forts should be made to push for­ward co­op­er­a­tion on the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road cruise tourism pro­gram and carry out sports ex­changes and sup­port coun­tries along the Belt and Road in their bid for host­ing ma­jor in­ter­na­tional sports events.

In the fields of med­i­cal and health care, the article men­tioned: strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with neigh­bor­ing coun­tries on epi­demic in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, the ex­change of pre­ven­tion and treat­ment tech­nolo­gies and the train­ing of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, and im­prove our ca­pa­bil­ity to jointly ad­dress pub­lic health emer­gen­cies. Med­i­cal as­sis­tance and emer­gency med­i­cal aid should be of­fered to rel­e­vant coun­tries, and carry out prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion in ma­ter­nal and child health, dis­abil­ity re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and ma­jor in­fec­tious dis­eases in­clud­ing AIDS, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and malaria.

In­crease co­op­er­a­tion in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, es­tab­lish joint labs (or re­search cen­ters), in­ter­na­tional tech­nol­ogy trans­fer cen­ters and mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion cen­ters, pro­mote sci-tech per­son­nel ex­changes, co­op­er­ate in tack­ling key sci-tech prob­lems, and work to­gether to im­prove sci-tech in­no­va­tion ca­pa­bil­ity.

In­te­grate ex­ist­ing re­sources to ex­pand and ad­vance prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion be­tween coun­tries along the Belt and Road on youth employment, en­trepreneur­ship train­ing, vo­ca­tional skill devel­op­ment, so­cial se­cu­rity man­age­ment, pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment and in other ar­eas of com­mon in­ter­est.

The Vi­sion and Ac­tions put for­ward: give full play to the bridg­ing role of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween po­lit­i­cal par­ties and par­lia­ments, and pro­mote friendly ex­changes be­tween leg­isla­tive bod­ies, ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties and po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions of coun­tries along the Belt and Road. Carry out ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion among cities, en­cour­age ma­jor cities in these coun­tries to be­come sis­ter cities, fo­cus on pro­mot­ing prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly cul­tural and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes, and cre­ate more lively ex­am­ples of co­op­er­a­tion. China wel­comes the think tanks in the coun­tries along the Belt and Road to jointly con­duct re­search and hold fo­rums.

In ad­di­tion, in­crease ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions of coun­tries along the Belt and Road, or­gan­ise pub­lic in­ter­est ac­tiv­i­ties con­cern­ing ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, poverty reduction, bio­di­ver­sity and eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion for the ben­e­fit of the gen­eral pub­lic, and im­prove the pro­duc­tion and liv­ing con­di­tions of poverty-stricken ar­eas along the Belt and Road. En­hance in­ter­na­tional ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion on cul­ture and me­dia, and lever­age the pos­i­tive role of the In­ter­net and new me­dia tools to fos­ter a har­mo­nious and friendly cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic opin­ion.

Mech­a­nism for Bi­lat­eral, Mul­ti­lat­eral Co­op­er­a­tion The world eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion is ac­cel­er­at­ing and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is on the up­swing. China will take full ad­van­tage of

the ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms to push for­ward the build­ing of the Belt and Road and to pro­mote the devel­op­ment of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion.

Strengthen bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion, and pro­mote com­pre­hen­sive devel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions through mul­ti­level and mul­ti­chan­nel com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion. En­cour­age the sign­ing of co­op­er­a­tion MOUS or plans, and de­velop a num­ber of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion pi­lot projects. Es­tab­lish and im­prove bi­lat­eral joint work­ing mech­a­nisms, and draw up im­ple­men­ta­tion plans and road maps for ad­vanc­ing the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Give full play to the ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral mech­a­nisms such as joint com­mit­tee, mixed com­mit­tee, co­or­di­nat­ing com­mit­tee, steer­ing com­mit­tee and man­age­ment com­mit­tee to co­or­di­nate and pro­mote the im­ple­men­ta­tion of co­op­er­a­tion projects.

En­hance the role of mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms, make full use of ex­ist­ing mech­a­nisms such as the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO), ASEAN Plus China (10+1), Asia-pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC), Asia-europe Meet­ing (ASEM), Asia Co­op­er­a­tion Di­a­logue (ACD), Con­fer­ence on In­ter­ac­tion and Con­fi­denceBuild­ing Mea­sures in Asia (CICA), China-arab States Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum (CASCF), China-gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil Strate­gic Di­a­logue, Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, and Cen­tral Asia Re­gional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (CAREC) to strengthen com­mu­ni­ca­tion with rel­e­vant coun­tries, and at­tract more coun­tries and re­gions to par­tic­i­pate in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The Vi­sion and Ac­tions also puts for­ward to con­tinue to en­cour­age the con­struc­tive role of the in­ter­na­tional fo­rums and ex­hi­bi­tions at re­gional and sub­re­gional lev­els hosted by coun­tries along the Belt and Road, as well as such plat­forms as Boao Fo­rum for Asia, CHINA-ASEAN Expo, China-eura­sia Expo, Euro-asia Eco­nomic Fo­rum, China In­ter­na­tional Fair for In­vest­ment and Trade, Chi­naSouth Asia Expo, China-arab States Expo, Western China In­ter­na­tional Fair, China-rus­sia Expo, and Qian­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum. Sup­port the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and gen­eral pub­lic of coun­tries along the Belt and Road to ex­plore the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage of the Belt and Road, jointly hold in­vest­ment, trade and cul­tural ex­change ac­tiv­i­ties, and en­sure the suc­cess of the Silk Road (Dun­huang) In­ter­na­tional Cul­ture Expo, Silk Road In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val and Silk Road In­ter­na­tional Book Fair. Set up an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit fo­rum on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Eight Re­quire­ments for Build­ing a Unique Silk Road

On June 22, 2016, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ered a speech at the Leg­isla­tive Cham­ber of the Uzbek Supreme As­sem­bly in Tashkent, Uzbek­istan, call­ing for the es­tab­lish­ment of a “green, healthy, in­tel­li­gent and peace­ful” Silk Road. He said, “Deepen en­vi­ron­men­tal co­op­er­a­tion, prac­tise green devel­op­ment ideals, strengthen to pro­tect ecol­ogy to cre­ate “Green Silk Road”; deepen med­i­cal and health co­op­er­a­tion and strengthen co­op­er­a­tion in in­form­ing of epi­demics, dis­ease pre­ven­tion and con­trol, med­i­cal res­cue, and tra­di­tional medicine fields, to cre­ate “Healthy Silk Road”; fur­ther de­velop tal­ented per­son­nel and co­op­er­a­tion to cre­ate “In­tel­li­gent Silk Road”; deepen se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion and prac­tise com­mon, com­pre­hen­sive, co­op­er­a­tive and sus­tain­able Asian se­cu­rity prin­ci­ple to build a “Peace­ful Silk Road.”

On Au­gust 17, 2016, Xi Jin­ping at­tended a Belt and Road con­struc­tion con­fer­ence in Bei­jing and pro­posed to fo­cus on build­ing

a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion net­work, and mul­ti­ple co­op­er­a­tion plat­forms to con­struct green, healthy, in­tel­li­gent and peace­ful Silk Road. The con­struc­tion must be ad­vanced with per­se­ver­ance and out­comes should be de­liv­ered to ben­e­fit those along the Belt and Road.

Mean­while, Xi Jin­ping stressed eight re­quire­ments: ad­here to prin­ci­ples of ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion, joint con­struc­tion and shared ben­e­fit, fo­cus on ma­jor re­gions, coun­tries and projects, give pro­pri­ety to devel­op­ment, “the big­gest com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor,” ben­e­fit Chi­nese peo­ple and peo­ple in coun­tries along the Belt and Road.

Map out spe­cific poli­cies and mea­sures to pro­mote the Belt and Road, in­no­vate ap­pli­ca­tion meth­ods, im­prove sup­port­ing ser­vices, sup­port strate­gic projects such as con­nec­tiv­ity in in­fra­struc­ture, devel­op­ment and util­ity of en­ergy re­sources, con­struc­tion of eco­nomic and trade in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion zone, and devel­op­ment of core in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy.

Ad­here to co­or­di­na­tion be­tween oceanic and land economies, do­mes­tic and overseas mar­kets, and en­ter­prises and gov­ern­ment; en­cour­age do­mes­tic en­ter­prises to in­vest and start a busi­ness in coun­tries along the Belt and Road, and vice versa; strengthen the con­nec­tion of the Belt and Road con­struc­tion with na­tional strate­gies, such as the co­or­di­nated devel­op­ment of Bei­jing, Tian­jin and He­bei Prov­ince and the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt; strengthen the ini­tia­tive’s con­nec­tion with the devel­op­ment pro­gramme for China’s western re­gions and pro­gramme of re­vi­tal­is­ing north­east China, the rise of cen­tral China, lead­ing devel­op­ment of east China and the devel­op­ment and open­ing of bor­der re­gions.

Pro­mote the land­ing of ma­jor projects; im­ple­ment demon­stra­tive projects, to cre­ate more out­comes to ben­e­fit other coun­tries.

Pro­mote fi­nan­cial in­no­va­tion, in­no­vate in­ter­na­tion­alised fi­nanc­ing, deepen co­op­er­a­tion in fi­nan­cial fields, cre­ate a mul­ti­lay­ered fi­nan­cial plat­form, and es­tab­lish a long-term, sta­ble, sus­tain­able and risk con­trol fi­nan­cial sys­tem to serve con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road.

Pro­mote peo­ple-to-peo­ple bonds, pop­u­larise the “Silk Road” spirit, pro­mote civilised com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and em­pha­sise cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion.

Pro­mote out­comes brought by the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, strengthen aca­demic re­search, the­o­ret­i­cal sup­port and dis­course;

Pro­mote safety guar­an­tee, im­prove mech­a­nisms on safety risk as­sess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and early-warn­ing, and emer­gency dis­posal, de­tail work­ing plan, and clar­ify re­spon­si­bil­ity of each de­part­ment and en­ter­prise.

Mu­tual Co­op­er­a­tion

Coun­tries along the Belt and Road are abun­dant in var­i­ous re­sources and com­ple­men­tary in the econ­omy, with huge space and po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion. The ini­tia­tive is ad­vanc­ing in the process, im­prov­ing in devel­op­ment, and grow­ing in co­op­er­a­tion.

Pol­icy Co­or­di­na­tion, Con­sen­sus

The Belt and Road spans Asia and Europe and the coun­tries it tra­verses dif­fer in na­tional in­sti­tu­tions, laws, reg­u­la­tions, his­tory and tra­di­tions. Ad­di­tion­ally, the ini­tia­tive will face in­ter­na­tional in­te­gra­tion and di­verse devel­op­ment strate­gies of ev­ery coun­try. There­fore, Xi Jin­ping listed “Pol­icy Co­or­di­na­tion” the first among five ways for co­op­er­a­tion along the route when re­fer­ring to co­op­er­a­tion in the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt.

The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt was pro­posed in Septem­ber 2013. Since then, China has es­tab­lished pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion with coun­tries, mainly Cen­tral Asian coun­tries, along the belt. Xi’s vis­its show that China is strength­en­ing strate­gic devel­op­ment con­nec­tions with coun­tries and re­gions along the Belt and Road to pro­mote mu­tual po­lit­i­cal trust and reach con­sen­sus in co­op­er­a­tion.

2016 was a bet­ter ex­am­ple, in which Xi vis­ited a num­ber of coun­tries. In Jan­uary, Xi Jin­ping paid state vis­its to Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and Iran and signed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive MOUS (mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing) with each. China and Saudi Ara­bia also signed MOUS on strength­en­ing con­struc­tion and co­op­er­a­tion of an on­line Silk Road. Xi also vis­ited the Head­quar­ters

of the League of Arab States. In March, Xi vis­ited the Czech Repub­lic where the two coun­tries signed a co­op­er­a­tion plan­ning MOU on the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. They agreed to es­tab­lish in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity by mak­ing use of open­ing di­rect flights, pro­mot­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion with the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try as a ba­sis and strength­en­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple bonds with tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine as a bridge.

In June, Xi vis­ited Serbia, Poland, and Uzbek­istan and reached con­sen­sus with heads of the three coun­tries on strength­en­ing strat­egy con­nec­tion. They agreed to con­struct Cen­tral and Eastern Europe an im­por­tant tran­si­tion for the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to be in­te­grated into the Euro­pean eco­nomic cir­cle through “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion; In Oc­to­ber, Xi vis­ited Cam­bo­dia and signed an MOU for plan­ning and out­lin­ing con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road; he vis­ited Bangladesh and signed co­op­er­a­tion doc­u­ments con­cern­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, en­ergy, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in­vest­ment, dis­as­ter pre­ven­tion and cul­ture.

In Novem­ber, Xi at­tended the 24th APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Lima, Peru and de­liv­ered a key­note speech. The core ideal of the Belt and Road was writ­ten into the Dec­la­ra­tion of Lead­ers for the first time.

With bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms, the ini­tia­tive has been con­nected with devel­op­ment strate­gies of many coun­tries along the Belt and Road. It was con­nected with the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Plan, and China and CEE coun­tries launched the co­op­er­a­tion on the Adri­atic Sea, Baltic Sea and Black Sea, known as the “Three-port Co­op­er­a­tion.” The ini­tia­tive has also been con­nected with Kaza­khstan’s new eco­nomic poli­cies of the “Bright Road,” Saudi Ara­bia's “Vi­sion 2030,” Bri­tain’s North­ern Pow­er­house Pro­gramme, Turkey’s Mid­dle Cor­ri­dor Plan, the Repub­lic of Korea’s Asia-europe Co­op­er­a­tion Ini­tia­tive, Aus­tralia’s De­vel­op­ing North Aus­tralia Plan, and Laos’ strat­egy to trans­form­ing into a land-con­nected state from a land­locked state.

Among these in­tense co­op­er­a­tions, the “Belt and Road” has emerged as a pop­u­lar phrase. Jo­hann N. Sch­nei­der-am­mann, pres­i­dent of Switzer­land, said the coun­try would ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and con­struc­tion of AIIB.

Alexan­der Grig­o­rye­vich Lukashenko, pres­i­dent of Be­larus, was con­fi­dent in con­struct­ing the China-be­larus In­dus­trial Park as an ex­am­ple of the Belt and Road project; Charles Michel, prime min­is­ter of Bel­gium, ex­pressed wishes to ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion with China in fields of jus­tice, in­vest­ment, in­no­va­tion, aero­space, new en­ergy, dig­i­tal econ­omy, and in­fra­struc­ture un­der the frame­work of the “Belt and Road.” Heads of Rus­sia, Aus­tralia, Italy, Turkey, Sin­ga­pore, and Laos, who at­tended the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Sum­mit, also showed great in­ter­est in con­nect­ing and co­op­er­at­ing.

Fa­cil­ity In­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity, Sup­port

In­fra­struc­ture has played a lead­ing role in the Belt and Road con­struc­tion, as in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity of fa­cil­i­ties has con­trib­uted to the

eco­nomic devel­op­ment of Belt and Road coun­tries.

Un­der the Belt and Road's frame­work, the con­struc­tion of many transna­tional in­fra­struc­ture projects was launched with some put into op­er­a­tion. They in­clude: China–lao, China–thai­land, Hun­gary–serbia, Ad­dis Ababa–dji­bouti, Jakarta –Ban­dung rail­ways; the open­ing of the Deep­wa­ter Ter­mi­nal of Colombo, Sri Lanka; the sec­ond phase of the Karako­ram High­way (KKH) which links China and Pak­istan; the Gwadar Port Ex­press­way; China-myan­mar Nat­u­ral gas pipe­line; and C and D routes of the Cen­tral Asian nat­u­ral gas pipe­line. By the end of 2016, in­fra­struc­ture projects un­der con­struc­tion within the Belt and Road cov­ered 44 coun­tries.

China is in­creas­ing sup­port for overseas in­fra­struc­ture projects. From Oc­to­ber 2013 to June 30, 2016, China’s State-owned en­ter­prises have par­tic­i­pated in build­ing more than 40 overseas in­fra­struc­ture projects, in­clud­ing power sta­tions and fa­cil­i­ties to trans­mit elec­tric­ity, oil and gas, in­volv­ing 19 Belt and Road coun­tries. In March 2016, the Global En­ergy In­ter­net devel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, ini­ti­ated by China, was founded in Bei­jing. It has es­tab­lished co­op­er­a­tion with the UN Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pa­cific, In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency, In­ter­na­tional Elec­trotech­ni­cal Com­mis­sion, Ar­gonne Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory, and Stan­ford Univer­sity to pro­mote the Mon­go­lia-china-repub­lic of Korea-ja­pan elec­tric­ity net­work project.

Unim­peded Trade, the ‘Key’ to a Global Mar­ket

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive em­pha­sises in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity and in­ter­con­nected devel­op­ment, a “golden key” and “com­pass” for pro­mot­ing global trade. On Au­gust 17, 2016, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping put for­ward eight re­quire­ments on pro­mot­ing the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing sup­port for eco­nomic and in­dus­trial trade co­op­er­a­tion; in Septem­ber, the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Sum­mit up­graded the Trade Min­is­ters Meet­ing as a mech­a­nism. The sum­mit ap­proved the G20 Global In­vest­ment Guid­ance Prin­ci­ple, the first mul­ti­lat­eral in-state­ment rule frame­work in the world.

Data di­rectly showed mu­tual ben­e­fits and flour­ish­ing trade among coun­tries along the route. In 2016, a to­tal of 1,702 China Rail­way Ex­press freight cars opened, a year-on-year in­crease of 109 per­cent. The freights have ex­panded to cover cloth­ing, auto and ac­ces­sories, grains, grape wine, cof­fee beans, tim­ber, fur­ni­ture, me­chan­i­cal equip­ment, aside from elec­tronic prod­ucts such as cell phones and com­put­ers in the early stage. The Big Data Re­port of Trade Co­op­er­a­tion un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive 2017 re­leased on March 17, 2017 showed that China’s to­tal trade vol­ume with Belt and Road coun­tries was US$953.59 bil­lion, ac­count­ing for 25.7 per­cent of China’s to­tal for­eign trade vol­ume, 0.4 per­cent higher than 2015. South­east Asia is China’s largest ex­port des­ti­na­tion and the largest source for im­port. Viet­nam has be­come China’s No. 1 trade part­ner among the Belt and Road coun­tries.

Fi­nan­cial In­te­gra­tion, Guar­an­tee

Con­struc­tion progress and ef­fi­ciency of the Belt and Road also de­pends on fund­ing sup­port. “Fi­nan­cial In­te­gra­tion” of­fers fund guar­an­tees for mu­tual ben­e­fit for Belt and Road coun­tries.

On De­cem­ber 25, 2015, the AIIB, ini­ti­ated by China and co­con­structed by 57 coun­tries, was founded af­ter 800 days of prepa­ra­tion and be­gan to of­fer ser­vice since Jan­uary 2016. It was

the world's first mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion ini­ti­ated by China. It seeks to in­crease in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment in Asia and mo­ti­vate var­i­ous re­sources and funds from pri­vate sec­tors to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture through mul­ti­ple chan­nels, so as to pro­mote re­gional in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity and eco­nomic devel­op­ment. It will im­prove the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment of Asia’s de­vel­op­ing coun­tries (also mem­bers of the AIIB), cre­ate jobs, en­hance mid- and long-term devel­op­ment po­ten­tial, and re­ju­ve­nate eco­nomic growth for Asia and the world.

In 2016, the AIIB ap­proved a to­tal of US$1.73 bil­lion loans which sup­ported nine in­fra­struc­ture projects in Pak­istan, Bangladesh, Ta­jik­istan, In­done­sia, Myan­mar, Azer­bai­jan and Oman. These projects are re­lated to en­ergy, trans­porta­tion, and liveli­hood, with most of them jointly in­vested in by other in­ter­na­tional mul­ti­lat­eral devel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tions, such as the World Bank, Asian Devel­op­ment Bank, and Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment (EBRD). In March 2017, AIIB ap­proved ap­pli­ca­tions of an­other 13 coun­tries and its to­tal mem­bers reached 70, be­com­ing the sec­ond largest mul­ti­lat­eral devel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tions af­ter the World Bank. The num­ber of its mem­bers sur­passes the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank and EBRD, each with 67 mem­bers.

The AIIB, the New Devel­op­ment Bank, and the EBRD have formed a fi­nanc­ing plat­form for the Belt and Road; and the “Silk Road Fund,” the “China-africa Devel­op­ment Fund,” and “China-cee Fund” have re­served funds for con­struc­tion and open­ing a pas­sage for rapid devel­op­ment. More im­por­tantly, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive sup­ported by fund­ing has strength­ened the func­tions of the in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

At the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Sum­mit, de­vel­op­ing “green fi­nance” be­came a com­mon con­sen­sus; about 10 in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the World Bank, ex­pressed to in­crease in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture world­wide; on Oc­to­ber 1, 2016, the ren­minbi was in­cluded in the IMF’S Special Draw­ing Rights bas­ket of cur­ren­cies, which ac­cel­er­ated its in­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion and pro­moted an or­derly flow of global funds. It deep­ened in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity among coun­tries and re­gions and proved ben­e­fi­cial to devel­op­ment.

Peo­ple-to-peo­ple Bond, So­cial Foun­da­tion Peo­ple-to-peo­ple bonds are the so­cial foun­da­tion for Belt and Road Con­struc­tion, also one of the three back­bones in the lay­out of cre­at­ing a new Belt and Road model for co­op­er­a­tion. It has al­ways oc­cu­pied an im­por­tant po­si­tion from the ini­tia­tive’s blue­print to its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Founded in 2004, Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute is com­mit­ted to car­ry­ing out teach­ing the Chi­nese lan­guage, spread­ing Chi­nese cul­ture world­wide, and pro­mot­ing China’s ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural ex­change and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with other coun­tries. To­day, 134 Con­fu­cius Institutes and 127 Con­fu­cius classes for pri­mary and mid­dle school stu­dents have been es­tab­lished in 51 coun­tries along the Belt and Road, with a to­tal of 460,000 reg­is­tered stu­dents in 2016. More than 8,000 cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties were held, ben­e­fit­ting 2.7 mil­lion peo­ple. Un­til De­cem­ber 2016, Chi­nese credit cour­ses had been of­fered in 94 per­cent of the Con­fu­cius Institutes and Con­fu­cius classes; and Chi­nese as a ma­jor has been es­tab­lished in 93 uni­ver­si­ties and the ma­jor Chi­nese teach­ing were opened in 10 uni­ver­si­ties un­der the in­flu­ence of Con­fu­cius Institutes. Teach­ing Chi­nese was in­cluded in the na­tional ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem of an­other 20 coun­tries along the route.

The “Un­der­stand China” se­ries of cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple around the world to bet­ter un­der­stand China. The se­ries gath­ers peo­ple based on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and cre­at­ing a friendly en­vi­ron­ment for Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt con­struc­tion. In Au­gust 2016, the “Un­der­stand China” event was held in Kaza­khstan’s As­tana and Al­maty, the first time the event was held in a Cen­tral Asian coun­try. The event in­cluded a gala, the dis­play of China’s in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage, and an ex­hi­bi­tion about China’s in­tel­li­gent man­u­fac­tur­ing. In ad­di­tion, the Chi­nese Pav­il­ion, a book room, was founded at the Na­tional Li­brary of Kaza­khstan. An Al­maty res­i­dent in Zaire who stud­ied in China joined the event. She said, “The an­cient Silk Road linked China and Cen­tral Asia, but the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt brings op­por­tu­ni­ties for Kaza­khs to learn Chi­nese. She said learn­ing Chi­nese was ris­ing in Kaza­khstan and many young peo­ple chose to come to China to study. The in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage dis­play was held in a univer­sity, meant to at­tract more young peo­ple.

It has been three years since the pro­posal of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. To­day, trains loaded with tim­ber im­ported from Rus­sia stop at the Manchuria Rail­way Sta­tion; at the Eren­hot rail­way freight yard, gantry cranes are un­load­ing cop­per-con­cen­trated pow­der im­ported from Mon­go­lia. The six eco­nomic cor­ri­dors: China-mon­go­lia-rus­sia, the New Eurasian Con­ti­nen­tal Bridge, China-cen­tral Asia-west Asia, China-indo-china Penin­sula, China-pak­istan, and Bangladesh-china-In­dia-myan­mar, have con­sti­tuted a cru­cial plat­form for co­op­er­a­tion.

Data showed that China’s to­tal ex­port and im­port vol­ume gen­er­ated from eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion with coun­tries along the Belt and Road was 6.3 tril­lion yuan in 2016, an in­crease of 0.6 per­cent. For­eign project con­tracts signed with coun­tries along the route to­talled US$126.0 bil­lion, up by 36 per­cent. China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in those coun­tries was US$14.5 bil­lion, ac­count­ing for 8.5 per­cent of China’s to­tal for­eign in­vest­ment. China’s en­ter­prises have es­tab­lished 56 eco­nomic and trade zones in more than 20 coun­tries, with cu­mu­la­tive in­vest­ment sur­pass­ing US$18.5 bil­lion. These zones cre­ated taxes worth about US$ 1.1 bil­lion, cre­at­ing 180,000 jobs.

For three years, China has co­op­er­ated with Belt and Road coun­tries and made use of bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral ways to pro­mote re­gional and cross-re­gional co­op­er­a­tion. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is a pro­gramme with Chi­nese wis­dom for achiev­ing com­mon pros­per­ity and devel­op­ment. Plans and blue­prints were com­pleted with con­struc­tion in full swing. The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st-cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road will write a new chap­ter in his­tory with re­sults de­liv­ered to ev­ery coun­try along the Belt and Road.

The Per­sian Gulf seashore in Kuwait

The Cathe­dral of Vasily the Blessed, known as St. Basil's Cathe­dral, in Red Square, Moscow

The Na­tional Com­pany of Oil and Nat­u­ral Gas of Kaza­khstan

The open­ing of the New Eurasian Con­ti­nen­tal Bridge in­ter­na­tional freight trains fa­cil­i­tates trade along the Belt and Road.

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