Peru eyes dig­i­tal Belt and Road

China Daily (USA) - - 19th CPC NATIONAL CONGRESS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The 19th CPC Na­tional Congress has great sig­nif­i­cance for the world as the sec­ond-largest econ­omy strives to boost in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity and seek in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Peru­vian am­bas­sador.

Juan Car­los Ca­punay said the Party is ex­pected to fo­cus on boost­ing re­gional in­te­gra­tion through the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive dur­ing the high-pro­file meet­ing, to be­gin on Oct 18.

The ini­tia­tive will “im­prove the re­gional ar­eas that it phys­i­cally cov­ers”, and “have a clear and prag­matic pro­jec­tion to other ar­eas”, he said.

“If the Chi­nese econ­omy is af­fected, the world econ­omy will be af­fected. If the Chi­nese econ­omy im­proves, the whole world will im­prove,” Ca­punay added.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, put for­ward by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping in 2013, aims to re­vive the an­cient Silk Road trade routes and boost in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity with a fo­cus on in­fra­struc­ture. In May, Bei­jing hosted the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion, which was at­tended by 29 for­eign heads of state and gov­ern­ment lead­ers.

Ca­punay, a vet­eran diplo­mat with a ca­reer span­ning 47 years, said while it is im­pos­si­ble to build a road from China to Latin Amer­ica, it is fea­si­ble to build a dig­i­tal link.

“Peru be­lieves the Belt and Road is an im­por­tant process for Latin Amer­ica be­cause it is not a project that is try­ing to im­pose one sin­gle eco­nomic model. It is based on dia­logue and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing,” he said.

Not­ing that Peru is a mem­ber of the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, the am­bas­sador said China has made a “re­mark­able con­tri­bu­tion” to im­prov­ing the global fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

“The most im­por­tant thing is that the AIIB is an equal bank. In some other in­sti­tu­tions, a mem­ber’s im­por­tance de­pends on their con­tri­bu­tion. In this bank, one mem­ber has one vote, so ev­ery­one is equal,” he said.

Ca­punay ex­pressed op­ti­mism about the de­vel­op­ment of Sino-Peru­vian re­la­tions, as both sides are ded­i­cated to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the con­sen­sus reached by the top lead­ers.

In Novem­ber, Xi and his Peru­vian coun­ter­part, Pe­dro Pablo Kuczyn­ski, agreed to up­grade the free trade agree­ment signed by the coun­tries in 2009 to open the mar­ket wider.

“Pres­i­dent Xi and Pres­i­dent Kuczyn­ski agreed to im­prove trade. We are do­ing so now. We are open­ing the mar­ket on both sides,” he said.

China is Peru’s big­gest trade part­ner, ex­port mar­ket and source of im­ports. Trade be­tween the two coun­tries reached about $17 bil­lion last year.

“We have the largest Chi­nese com­mu­nity in Latin Amer­ica,” he said. “A num­ber of Chi­nese cus­toms are cel­e­brated, and some Chi­nese words have even en­tered the lan­guage.

“So we have a strong foun­da­tion. We have a long-stand­ing his­tory of re­la­tions, so we can share a bright fu­ture.”

“IF THE CHI­NESE ECON­OMY IS AF­FECTED, THE WORLD ECON­OMY WILL BE AF­FECTED. IF THE CHI­NESE ECON­OMY IM­PROVES, THE WHOLE WORLD WILL IM­PROVE.”

Juan Car­los Ca­punay,

Peru­vian am­bas­sador to China

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