One Belt, One Road seen as bi­lat­eral plus

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CHINA DAILY in Wash­ing­ton

The US looks for­ward to co­op­er­at­ing with China tech­no­log­i­cally and com­mer­cially on China’s One Belt, One Road Ini­tia­tive, build­ing in­fra­struc­ture to make more world trade pos­si­ble.

“We want to joy­fully par­tic­i­pate with China in in­ter­na­tional trade operations and eco­nomic growth. I think we have no rea­son why China and the US can­not be close and friendly na­tions,” James Woolsey, se­nior ad­viser to Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, said on Wed­nes­day at the Belt & Road Fo­rum in Wash­ing­ton.

China and the US have the ca­pa­bil­ity, the his­tory and the con­scious­ness to be friendly and eco­nom­i­cally vi­able states. The One Belt, One Road Ini­tia­tive (OBOR) can po­ten­tially be a use­ful and prof­itable joint ef­fort by the two coun­tries, he said.

The Belt & Road Fo­rum, co­hosted by the China En­ergy Fund Com­mit­tee (CEFC), In­sti­tute for the Anal­y­sis of Global Se­cu­rity (IAGS), Development Re­search Cen­ter of the State Coun­cil of China (DRC) and Asia So­ci­ety, in­tro­duced the con­tent and time­line of OBOR and pre­sented per­spec­tives on the ini­tia­tive from both Chi­nese and US schol­ars.

OBOR is a strate­gic con­cept pro­posed by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in 2013 to boost the con­nec­tiv­ity among coun­tries and peo­ple by bor­row­ing the con­cept of the his­tor­i­cal Silk Road, ac­cord­ing to the CEFC’s Belt and Road Mono­graph.

Glob­al­iza­tion is a bro­ken sys­tem fo­cus­ing ex­clu­sively on prof­its and eco­nomic ef­fi­ciency that is no longer able to carry the world ef­fec­tively and sus­tain­ably, said Pa­trick Ho, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the China En­ergy Fund Com­mit­tee (CEFC).

“Our world is now des­per­ately look­ing for new mod­els of growth that can re­place glob­al­iza­tion — one that is in­clu­sive and far­sighted,” he said. “China’s One Belt, One Road Ini­tia­tive is an an­swer to this need.”

The am­bi­tious trans-Eura­sia and transoceanic eco­nomic strat­egy in­clude two ma­jor parts: the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt” and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

One Belt be­gins in Xi’an in North­west China’s Shaanxi province, and stretches west through Urumqi in the Xin­jian Uygur au­tonomous re­gion to Cen­tral Asia. It goes to north­ern Iran then Iraq, Syria, Tur­key, Ger­many and the Nether­lands be­fore head­ing to Venice, Italy.

The other part of the plan, One Road, be­gins in Quanzhou in East China’s Fu­jian province cross­ing Malacca Strait, Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, Nairobi of Kenya, the Horn of Africa and moves through the Red Sea into Mediter­ranean be­fore meet­ing the land-based One Belt in Venice.

De­spite the geopo­lit­i­cal con­cerns sur­round­ing the ini­tia­tive, Ziad Haider, spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Bureau of Eco­nomic and Business Af­fairs with the US Department of State, sees the op­por­tu­nity for China-US re­la­tions to move from cli­mate cen­tered poli­cies to fo­cus more on trade.

“2016 is con­sid­ered the slow­est eco­nomic-grow­ing year since the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial crisis in 2008,” said Zhao Jin­ping, direc­tor gen­eral of DRC’s Re­search Department of For­eign Eco­nomic Re­la­tions. “There is clearly a great de­mand in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion funds.”

China has long been ex­pected to take more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in global trades and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, he said.

“Belt & Road re­flects the grow­ing sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity in China’s in­ter­na­tional strat­egy,” Zhao said. Yuan Yuan in Wash­ing­ton con­trib­uted to this story.

YUAN YUAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

James Woolsey, for­mer CIA direc­tor and a se­nior ad­viser to Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, speaks at the In­au­gu­ral Belt and Road Fo­rum in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day.

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