Trade ini­tia­tive is ‘di­rec­tion of fu­ture’

Ex­pert: Belt and Road strat­egy will be ap­plauded years from now as vi­sion­ary

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By TANG YUE in Xi’an tangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The first US pres­i­den­tial de­bate might have been the most-watched event around the globe on Mon­day night lo­cal time, with the ex­pected pro­tec­tion­ist re­marks made by can­di­dates Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Yet, at the same time, across the Pa­cific Ocean, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, launched by China three years ago to foster eco­nomic ties, gained mo­men­tum as me­dia from China and abroad ex­pressed sup­port.

“I know many peo­ple think the most im­por­tant event to­day is the de­bate, which is go­ing on right now,” Robert Kuhn, a US ex­pert on China and a host on China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion, said on Tues­day at the me­dia ses­sion of the In­ter­na­tional Sem­i­nar on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in Xi’an, Shaanxi province.

“How­ever, look­ing back in 50 years or 100 years, I be­lieve this is a more im­por­tant event than the de­bate be­cause it pushes for­ward an im­por­tant ini­tia­tive that is the di­rec­tion of the fu­ture,” Kuhn said at the two-day sem­i­nar. China Daily is a co-or­ga­nizer.

In 2013, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­posed the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt, which in­cludes coun­tries sit­u­ated on the orig­i­nal Silk Road, pass­ing through Cen­tral Asia, West Asia, the Mid­dle East and Europe, as well as the 21st Cen­tury Maritime Silk Road, which cov­ers South­east Asia, Ocea­nia and North Africa.

By the end of June, China had signed co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with more than 30 coun­tries re­gard­ing the ini­tia­tive and is work­ing with an­other 20 on ca­pac­ity build­ing projects in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Ren­min Univer­sity of China.

“Some coun­tries that start to turn in­ward, start to talk pro­tec­tion­ism, seem to be more skep­ti­cal about trade. This ini­tia­tive is mov­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. It pro­motes co­op­er­a­tion and busi­ness across the bor­der,” said Ja­son Eu­gene Subler, Greater China bureau chief of Reuters.

Some100 me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives from about 20 coun­tries at­tended the sem­i­nar and reached a writ­ten con­sen­sus to be “a cham­pion of the Silk Road Spirit”, re­fer­ring friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion through­out his­tory, and to be “an ac­tive sup­porter of the ini­tia­tive”.

Wil­son Flores, a colum­nist at the Philip­pine Star news­pa­per, said the ini­tia­tive al­lows the me­dia in par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries to bet­ter co­op­er­ate and to en­rich the di­ver­sity of me­dia voices, which has long been dom­i­nated by Western news or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“As we evolve into a more di­verse and mul­ti­po­lar world, de­vel­op­ing na­tions in Cen­tral Asia, Europe, South­east Asia, Africa and other re­gions need to have our news per­spec­tives and voices heard.”

Kang Bing, deputy editor-inchief of China Daily, sug­gested that me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions along the route can jointly iden­tify top­ics to cover, de­velop ap­pli­ca­tions to­gether, co-pro­duce mi­crovideos and launch spe­cial col­umns, reports and web pages on the plat­form of other coun­tries.

HUO YAN / CHINA DAILY

Robert Kuhn (right), a US ex­pert on China and a host on China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion, speaks at the me­dia ses­sion of the In­ter­na­tional Sem­i­nar on the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in Xi’an, Shaanxi province on Tues­day.

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