Full text of Liu’s speech
Liu Qibao, the head of the CPC Central Committee’s Publicity Department, delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the International Seminar on the Belt and Road Initiative, under the theme of “Shared Memory, Common Development”, which opened in Xi’an, Shaanxi province on Sept 26.
Your Excellencies Paroubek and Kolodko, Distinguished guests, Friends, Ladies and gentlemen,
In this golden autumn, it is a great pleasure to meet friends from afar here in the ancient city Xi’an. Let me begin by expressing sincere gratitude to our guests at the seminar and our warm welcome to friends who have traveled all the way to China.
In the autumn of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the collaborative building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road when he visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia. This has been met with strong response from the international community and particularly from the countries along the Belt and Road. It has also triggered enthusiasm and interest among many countries to explore and participate in the initiative. In order to help people better understand the initiative and engage in the building of the Belt and Road, the State Council Information Office held international seminars on the Silk Road Economic Belt in Urumqi, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in 2014, and on the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road in Quanzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province, in 2015. This year, we put the two topics into one seminar, hoping to provide a wider platform for exchange and discussion. Here today, tomy great pleasure, I have the chance to meet many old friends and also get to know many new ones.
The theme of this seminar— Shared Memory, Common Development— embodies our efforts in treasuring historical legacy, our best wishes to the common prosperity of countries along the routes, and acknowledgement of our responsibility to world peace and development. More than 300 guests from 35 countries are gathered here today. It is a great event for discussing the grand projects of the Belt and Road Initiative. I believe, through in-depth discussion and exchange of wisdom from all participants from various fields, we shall be able to reach a broad consensus and achieve a prosperous outcome. Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, Autumn is a season of harvest. We are happy to see that since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed three years ago, the countries along the routes have carried out increasing cooperation in policy communication, facility, trade and asset connectivity, and people-to-people exchanges. As a result, early harvest has been fruitful. A growing number of countries and international organizations have participated in the building of the Belt and Road. China has signed cooperative agreements with more than 30 countries and launched manufacturing and production capacity cooperation with more than 20 countries along the routes. The financial cooperation represented by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund is making steady headway. A number of landmark projects are being implemented. People-to-people interactions in the fields of culture, education, science and technology, tourism and commerce are increasing. We should note that the outcomes in terms of speed and scale of the Belt and Road Initiative have been better than expected. Now, we have a clearer vision on the prospects of this initiative and are more confident in accomplishing it.
First, we see broadened consensus on the Belt and Road Initiative. There is always a process for one to understand a new concept. With the Belt and Road Initiative, China hopes to share development opportunities with countries along the routes and support the common prosperity of these countries. Currently, the Belt and Road has mostly completed the planning stage and is taking steps of concrete implementation and sustainable development. There is a wider consensus of the international community that the initiative answers the call of our times for peace and development and conforms to the aspiration of relevant countries to speed up development. It will help to advance economic growth along the routes and boost global economic prosperity, helping to maintain regional stability and world peace. This has become the impetus for all parties to join in.
Second, we have become more appreciative of the Silk Road spirit. The ancient Silk Road covered thousands of miles and existed for centuries, leaving behind vivid memories of how people along the routes stood together through thick and thin. These memories symbolize the Silk Road spirit of peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusivity, mutual learning and mutual benefit. In the past three years, enlightened by this spirit, people have joined hands, given expression to their creativeness and enthusiasm, promoting connectivity and reciprocal collaboration. The Silk Road spirit has helped to guide the building of the Belt and Road and encouraged cohesion among all parties involved. To further push forward the Belt and Road project, we need to stick to and carry on the Silk Road legacy.
Third, it is increasingly visible that the Belt and Road Initiative serves the interests of all parties. As the proposer and promoter of the initiative, China insists on a more balanced approach to upholding principles and pursuing interests and calls for a cooperative principle of equality and mutual benefit. Through joint efforts, the project is well on the way to making remarkable achievements and delivering tangible benefits to the people along the routes. Facts show that the Belt and Road initiative is open, pragmatic, and mutually beneficial. It helps to find common interest between China and countries along the routes, while addressing their specific needs. It bears the common aspirations of people in the region to live prosperously and combines the Chinese dream with the dreams of those along the routes. All relevant countries need to continue their collaboration of development strategies, seek the common denominator in cooperation, and find the point of convergence for all parties. We should make the cake of common interests bigger and bring well-being to all along the Belt and Road.
Fourth, we see greater prospects for win-win cooperation. Building the Belt and Road brings all the countries involved into one big family with shared interests and a shared future. The initiative’s positive effects are becoming clearer and the benefits of collaboration along the routes more evident, presenting a picture of heartening prosperity based on joint effort and shared interests. Experience tells that although the countries along the routes have different national situations and development stages, and thus are faced with different challenges, they have a common aspiration for economic growth, a common interest in coping with risks and challenges, and the same vision for common development. If we stick to mutual benefit and cooperation, expand scope and raise the levels of cooperation and seize the opportunities presented, we can realize the goal of benefiting all parties concerned. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, The ancient Silk Road is a great treasure of history, and the Belt and Road initiative is a Chinese solution of oriental wisdom designed to pursue common prosperity and development. Although China is the proponent and promoter, the Belt and Road development is a common cause for all parties. Building the Belt and Road is to establish a cooperation network of mutual benefit rather than creating any sphere of influence. We encourage all flowers to bloom together, rather than doing a solo show; we advocate common development, not a zero-sum game. The Belt and Road are wide and open avenues, not private exclusive roads. China welcomes countries along the routes to actively participate and invites friends from the rest of the world to join this great project with open arms.
The Belt and Road development has seen a good beginning, with encouraging progress along both the land road and maritime route. We should ride the tide and be more united to push further development. Bearing the Silk Road spirit in mind, we need to consolidate common understanding, better coordinate development strategies and find new opportunities, so as to provide more growth momentum, to speed up the march toward new goals, and contribute to building the Belt and Road that are green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful. Win-win cooperation is our common goal, while making it come true requires our joint effort. To this end, I’d like to share with you my views and suggestions on the matter.
First, we need to stick to the principle of mutual respect and trust, and reinforce the foundation for win-win cooperation. Mutual respect is the basis of mutual understanding, and mutual understanding is the premise of mutual trust. In conducting exchanges among either friends or between countries, we should respect and trust each other. The world is diverse with countries differing from one another in terms of size, strength and development level. We should give full respect to the right of all countries to choose their own social systems and development paths, and to their exploration and practice in advancing economic growth and social development in order to improve the lives of their people. The countries along the routes need to support each other on issues of significant and core interest, and seek common ground while putting differences aside. More understanding, more trust, unity and collaboration, sincerity and friendliness are needed in the Belt and Road development. We should carry out cooperation on a voluntary basis and on the principle of equality and mutual benefit.
Second, we need to be open and inclusive and seize the opportunities for win-win cooperation. Openness and inclusiveness are the characteristics of the ancient Silk Road and the experience of countries along the routes in pursuing development and prosperity, which is necessary to achieve greater success in the future. Through active consultations, participation, and sharing outcomes, we can pool wisdom together and obtain beneficial results for all, which will provide an open and inclusive platform for all the countries involved and help to form a community of common future. China’s achievement is inseparable from the international community, and it’s willing to make its contribution to global development.
At the recently concluded G20Hangzhou Summit, President Xi Jinping said that China is at the starting point in adapting to a new normal economic development and adjusted growth model, which is also a new starting point to interact with the world and open up wider and deeper to the world. China is confident and capable of maintaining medium-high economic growth and realizing its own development while providing more opportunities to the world. Further development of the Belt and Road will form wider, deeper and higher-level regional cooperation and forge a framework for open, inclusive and balanced cooperation benefiting all parties. Countries along the routes should jointly drive the train of development and head for an even brighter future.
Third, we need to be pragmatic and innovative and stimulate the impetus for win-win cooperation. The foundation of the Belt and Road construction lies in interconnectivity, and the driving force comes from down-to-earth work and innovation. Against the backdrop of risks and challenges facing the world, cooperation in innovation is the key to boosting global economic recovery and answers the need of our time for coping with these issues and achieving sustainable development. The countries along the routes have different advantages in natural resources and human capital, providing huge potential for innovative and pragmatic cooperation.
In the beginning of this year, China released its 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016 to 2020 for its economic and social development, which highlights the five principles of development -- innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing, to fulfill its goals. An innovation-driven development strategy will be implemented and more growth momentums are expected to be unleashed. So long as we take the historic opportunity of the new round of technological and industrial revolution, establish a network for mutual benefit, work out new modes of cooperation and create a multiple cooperation platform, we will be able to give full play to the potential and advantages of related parties and turn the complementarity in all economies into a booster of dynamic growth, practical innovation and mutually beneficial cooperation through joint efforts.
Fourth, we need to stick to peace and development and safeguard the path toward win-win cooperation. The evolution of the ancient Silk Road proves that there’s no development without peace and no prosperity without security. Solidarity and harmonious coexistence is the gene of the Chinese nation and is also the essence of the Eastern civilization. China persists in peaceful development, which is not a policy of expedience but a strategic choice. It is a solemn commitment to the world. China adheres to an independent and peaceful foreign policy and a more balanced approach to upholding principles and pursuing interests and seeks the peaceful settlement of disputes through diplomatic measures. The Chinese people are willing, together with people along the routes, to maintain a conscience of the humankind and safeguard international justice, so as to make the Belt and Road a route of sunshine and peace. Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, Today, we gather together here in Xi’an, a birthplace of the Chinese civilization and also the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Looking back into history, we can see in our minds’ eye pictures of envoys and merchants of different countries bustling in the streets of this ancient capital and scenes of friendly interactions between the Chinese and people of other countries along the trade route. During this seminar, the organizers will invite our guests to visit the Tang West Market, where money coins and goods from ancient Greece, Byzantine, Western Roman Empire and ancient India are exhibited, displaying the prosperity of the largest market in the world more than 1,000 years ago. The ancient Silk Road connecting Asia and Europe was an important bridge for friendly contacts and civilization exchanges between the East and the West. The flowers of ancient civilizations have blossomed in the course of mutual learning and have become the collective memory of countries along the routes, which have been an inexhaustible source of energy for the dynamic development of the Silk Road.
Today, the building of the Belt and Road aims to realize the connectivity of roads, as well as people’s hearts. In the past three years, China and the countries involved have jointly held a variety of activities, such as culture year, tourism year, expos, art festivals, book fairs, movie and TV product exhibitions. They have also launched writing exchange programs, inviting writers from China and other countries along the routes to exchange their works, and facilitated dialogues between think tanks and the media, in the hope of establishing long-term and stable cooperation and better conveying the ideas and information of win-win cooperation. The relevant countries have also carried out active cooperation in culture and in programs of public good. The joint application between China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to inscribe the portion of the Silk Road that passed through these countries to the World Heritage List was successful. The joint archaeological project between China and Uzbekistan also achieved a remarkable outcome. The Studying in China program has been launched and the Silk Road Education Fund has been set up. China and the relevant countries have also strengthened cooperation in talent training and in education, which has been an important promoter of Belt and Road development. Practice shows that enhanced peopleto-people connection and mutual-learning among different civilizations will drawpeople along the routes much closer together and further promote friendship between countries, and will provide positive energy to the joint efforts for building the Belt and Road.
Diversity adds to the splendor of civilizations, and exchanges among them will facilitate their advancement. We should attach same importance to both economic cooperation and people-to-people exchange when pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative. The diversity and peaceful coexistence of civilizations should be maintained through mutual learning, common development and cooperation with shared fruits. In strengthening cultural cooperation, we need to encourage exchange, support equality, protect heritage and value innovation. China will expand cooperation with other countries in all fields including education, culture, journalism, sport, tourism and archaeology, in order to promote friendly interaction among peoples along the routes, and boost mutual understanding. With the joint effort of all parties, the foundation of connectivity between roads and people’s hearts will be consolidated. It will help people from different continents with different cultures and beliefs to join forces in building the Belt and Road. During this process, we will bring forth a situation where people of all countries along the route get to know each other better, foster friendship become more appreciative and respectful of one another. Ladies and gentlemen, Friends, The Belt and Road Initiative connects history with the future; China with the world. The development of the Belt and Road needs sincerity and resolution, and the vision of all parties as well. The relevant countries not only need to better coordinate their development strategies, plans, projects and actions, but also need to strengthen cooperation in brainstorming and media exchange. This seminar gathers politicians, think tank members, media leaders and entrepreneurs together. It includes one main forum and three topical discussions. It is going to be an occasion for wisdoms, opinions and actions get connected. I hope that all guests at the seminar will fully participate in the exchanges and dialogues, expand mutual understanding and consensus, and provide more thoughts and solutions to the Belt and Road development, turning our vision into reality.
Finally, I wish this seminar a complete success.
Liu Qibao delivers a speech on the Belt and Road Initiative in Xi’an on Sept 26.