Jointly Build­ing the Fu­ture

Joint con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road is an in­no­va­tive “Chi­nese so­lu­tion” to pro­mote a fair and rea­son­able global eco­nomic gov­er­nance trend.

China Pictorial (English) - - Front Page - Text by Jin Ruit­ing

In re­cent years, the global eco­nomic out­look has gen­er­ally been con­sid­ered trend­ing pos­i­tively. But with re­cent de­vel­op­ments of pro­tec­tion­ism, iso­la­tion­ism and pop­ulism, pro­found ad­just­ments in global gov­er­nance, in­dus­trial struc­ture, en­ergy lay­out, mon­e­tary sys­tem and geopol­i­tics are un­fold­ing one after an­other.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which fo­cuses on op­ti­miz­ing the process of eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, ad­vo­cates safe­guard­ing the in­ter­na­tional or­der based on mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and aims to achieve com­mon de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity in all coun­tries. It is a new in­ter­na­tional pub­lic good pro­vided by China to the whole world and an im­por­tant con­duit for China to pro­mote build­ing a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for mankind in the new era, demon­strat­ing China’s key con­tri­bu­tions to global peace, de­vel­op­ment, and win-win co­op­er­a­tion. Im­pres­sive Joint Con­struc­tion

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive has yielded fruit­ful re­sults after only five years since its in­cep­tion.

In terms of pol­icy co­or­di­na­tion, China has signed 103 co­op­er­a­tion doc­u­ments with 88 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions to jointly im­ple­ment the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and has com­pleted align­ment with the “Bright Road” ini­tia­tive of Kaza­khstan, the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union pro­posed by Rus­sia, the Juncker Plan of Europe, the “Steppe Road” pro­gram of Mongolia, and the “Two Cor­ri­dors and One Ring” ini­tia­tive of Vietnam.

In terms of in­fras­truc­ture con­nec­tiv­ity, a num­ber of rail­ways, high­ways, ports, air­ports and cross-bor­der bridges have been built. The Jakar­taBan­dung Rail­way, Gwadar Port,

China-laos Rail­way, Hun­gary-ser­bia Rail­way and the sec­ond line of the China-rus­sia oil pipeline are all pro­ceed­ing well. More than 8,000 trains of the China Rail­way Ex­press run to Europe, and the net­work now ex­tends to 42 cities in 14 Euro­pean coun­tries. These projects are grad­u­ally pay­ing out real de­vel­op­ment div­i­dends and im­prov­ing the peo­ple’s well­be­ing.

In terms of unim­peded trade, the to­tal vol­ume of goods trade between China and coun­tries along the Belt and Road has reached more than US$5 tril­lion, and China’s out­bound in­vest­ment in those coun­tries ex­ceeds US$70 bil­lion. As of April 2018, China has built 75 over­seas eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion zones in coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes, with a to­tal in­vest­ment of US$25.5 bil­lion. More than 3,800 en­ter­prises have set­tled in those co­op­er­a­tion zones, cre­at­ing nearly US$1.7 bil­lion of taxes for host coun­tries and nearly 220,000 jobs for lo­cals.

In terms of fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion, the Silk Road Fund has signed fi­nanc­ing con­tracts with 19 projects, promis­ing in­vest­ment of US$7 bil­lion in sup­port for the projects. China De­vel­op­ment Bank, the Im­portEx­port Bank of China and China’s com­mer­cial banks are in­creas­ing in­vest­ment to sup­port the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road.

In terms of closer peo­ple-to-peo- peo­ple ties, China has signed cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments with more e than 60 coun­tries, and the con­cept t of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is be­com- om­ing more un­der­stood, bet­ter recog- gnized and op­ti­misti­cally sup­ported d by peo­ple of coun­tries along the routes. tes. Over the past five years, mu­tual vis­its sits made by tourists between China and nd coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes ex­ceeded 25 mil­lion.

Build­ing a Com­mu­nity with a Shared Fu­ture for Mankind

Build­ing a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for mankind is the core ore el­e­ment of con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese e

for­eign pol­icy, as well as the most distinc­tive fea­ture of ma­jor-coun­try diplo­macy with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics and the unique Chi­nese wis­dom con­tribut­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of greater hu­man so­ci­ety. The idea of build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared fu­ture is rooted in the achieve­ments of an­cient and mod­ern civ­i­liza­tions. Pro­posed in re­sponse to the new era, it in­volves state-to-state re­la­tions, group-to-group re­la­tions, re­la­tions between var­i­ous civ­i­liza­tions and re­la­tion­ship between man and na­ture, and ra­di­ates rich con­no­ta­tions. Joint con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road and pro­mot­ing broader, deeper and higher-level eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion among the Belt and Road coun­tries are con­ducive to build­ing con­sen­sus, car­ry­ing for­ward the new con­cept of mu­tual ben­e­fits and win­win out­comes and more ac­cu­rately ad­dress­ing vi­tal in­ter­ests of most coun­tries. It also fa­cil­i­tates the con­struc­tion of a com­mu­nity with shared in­ter­ests and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The com­mu­nity, in turn, pro­vides fresh new op­por­tu­ni­ties and ex­pe­ri­ences for each of its mem­bers.

Jointly con­struct­ing the Belt and Road rides the tide of peace and de­vel­op­ment of the era and pro­vides a solid guar­an­tee for safe­guard­ing the com­mon in­ter­ests of mankind. As the eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion trend con­tin­ues, the flow of cap­i­tal, tech­nol­ogy, in­for­ma­tion and per­son­nel around the world has be­come in­creas­ingly in­ter­de­pen­dent. The ex­ist­ing in­ter­na­tional or­der and in­ter­na­tional rules have formed a com­mon in­ter­est bond around the world. The world is fac­ing se­vere chal­lenges, and the Silk Road Spirit, which fea­tures peace and co­op­er­a­tion, open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness, mu­tual learn­ing and mu­tual ben­e­fit, is more needed now than ever be­fore. No mat­ter how com­pli­cated and sharp con­tra­dic­tions between states, groups, re­li­gions, and so­cial classes may be, hu­man be­ings as a whole share the ul­ti­mate glo­ries of vic­tory and pains of de­feat. Joint con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road pro­vides a prac­ti­cal path for re­al­iz­ing com­mon in­ter­ests of mankind un­der the theme of peace and de­vel­op­ment. By ad­her­ing to the co­op­er­a­tive con­cept of the Belt and Road, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will be­come more re­sis­tant to ev­ery kind of crises, and our col­lec­tive strength will be con­tin­u­ously en­hanced, thus more ef­fec­tively safe­guard­ing world peace and de­vel­op­ment.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive points the di­rec­tion and de­signs a blue­print for the fu­ture de­vel­op­ment of hu­man so­ci­ety and the con­stant pro­mo­tion of peo­ple’s well­be­ing. It aligns with the United Na­tions mil­len­nium de­vel­op­ment goals to re­duce poverty, pro­mote de­vel­op­ment through co­op­er­a­tion and nar­row de­vel­op­ment dis­par­i­ties. It em­bod­ies China’s com­mit­ment and new role in pro­mot­ing global de­vel­op­ment. China ad­vo­cates the prin­ci­ples of ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tion, joint con­tri­bu­tion and shared ben­e­fits in in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion, and is will­ing to work with other coun­tries to re­al­ize the ul­ti­mate goal of cre­at­ing a bet­ter world free from want where all can live in dig­nity.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is an in­no­va­tion made by China for global eco­nomic gov­er­nance, with an aim to pro­mote a fair and rea­son­able global eco­nomic or­der. Ahead of the on­set of the 2008 in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial cri­sis, global eco­nomic gov­er­nance was dom­i­nated by the frame­work of the Wash­ing­ton con­sen­sus. After the out­break, the Wash­ing­ton con­sen­sus lost much of its glory. The global eco­nomic gov­er­nance sys­tem is ob­vi­ously call­ing for re­form to re­in­force in­clu­sive­ness, rep­re­sen­ta­tive­ness, ef­fec­tive­ness and risk con­trol. The con­cept of the Belt and Road calls for con­struct­ing an in­clu­sive and co­or­di­nated world de­vel­op­ment gov­er­nance struc­ture, an open and

co­op­er­a­tive global trade and in­vest­ment gov­er­nance struc­ture and a safe and ef­fi­cient in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial and mar­ket gov­er­nance struc­ture. It is based on China’s ex­pe­ri­ence, which has in­spired the scheme and con­cept for solv­ing prob­lems hin­der­ing world de­vel­op­ment and im­prov­ing global eco­nomic gov­er­nance. It is an in­sti­tu­tional pub­lic good of great the­o­ret­i­cal and prac­ti­cal sig­nif­i­cance in re­shap­ing the in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic or­der that China pro­vides to the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to pro­mote re­forms to­wards a just and in­clu­sive global eco­nomic gov­er­nance sys­tem. Glar­ing Lags

The de­vel­op­ment dis­par­ity between coun­tries along the Belt and Road is quite glar­ing, which in­creases dif­fi­cul­ties in con­struct­ing an in­clu­sive and uni­ver­sal co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism. Those coun­tries vary in eco­nomic, po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural con­di­tions. In terms of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment level, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive cov­ers devel­oped economies in West­ern Europe, en­ergy and re­source-ex­port­ing coun­tries of Cen­tral and West Asia, emerg­ing in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries of Cen­tral and Eastern Europe and ASEAN and un­der­de­vel­oped agri­cul­tural coun­tries. From the po­lit­i­cal point of view, both cap­i­tal­ist and so­cial­ist coun­tries are in­cluded as are democ­ra­cies and monar­chies. From the cul­tural per­spec­tive, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive cov­ers six of the eight cat­e­gories of civ­i­liza­tions iden­ti­fied by Sa­muel P. Hunt­ing­ton: Chi­nese, Hindu, Is­lamic, West­ern, Ortho­dox and African civ­i­liza­tions. Coun­tries along the routes have dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests, val­ues and co­op­er­a­tion modes. This di­ver­sity has in­creased the com­plex­ity and dif­fi­culty of build­ing an in­clu­sive and uni­ver­sal co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism.

China has long been on the re­ceiv­ing end of global mul­ti­lat­eral gov­er­nance rules, and is not well pre­pared to build mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms. For a long time, China tended to fol­low and adapt to the rules of mul­ti­lat­eral in­sti­tu­tions such as the WTO, IMF and World Bank. In the past two years, China has been ac­tively voic­ing its opin­ions and play­ing the lead role on mul­ti­lat­eral diplo­matic oc­ca­sions such as the sum­mits of the G20, BRICS and the SCO. But China has not been po­si­tioned at the cen­ter of the world stage for long and still lacks pro­found the­o­ries and ex­pe­ri­ence in es­tab­lish­ing mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms and set­ting stan­dards and rules. The lack of tal­ent re­serves, cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and ef­fec­tive supp­port of do­mes­tic in­sti­tu­tional mecha­hanisms in the op­er­a­tion of mul­ti­lat­eral ral mech­a­nisms also de­mands China make prepa­ra­tions more care­fully.

Fur­ther­more, the geopo­lit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­ity and com­plex­ity of coun­ntries along the Belt and Road pose ea a ma­jor ob­sta­cle in strength­en­ing mul­tiul­ti­lat­eral and in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized coop­er­ra­tion. The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive e in­volves sen­si­tive ar­eas of the Mid­dle ddle East, East Asia and Eastern Europe pe as well as In­dia, Pak­istan and other r re­gions suf­fer­ing con­flicts. Many con­tra­dic­tions ex­ist for coun­tries along ng the routes in pol­i­tics, eco­nom­ics, cul­ture, re­li­gion and other realms. Some long-stand­ing di­ver­gences are re dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile, while some ex­ist

due to com­pe­ti­tion and ma­neu­ver­ing between global ma­jor coun­tries. In the fore­see­able fu­ture, China’s ef­forts to pro­mote a mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism un­der the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will eas­ily be af­fected by sen­si­tive geopo­lit­i­cal re­la­tions.

Fu­ture Poli­cies

The fo­cus of China’s fu­ture poli­cies to pro­mote the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road can be summed up in three as­pects:

First, based on ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion agree­ments, China will es­tab­lish a strate­gic plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nism un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. On the foun­da­tion of the ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion strate­gic agree­ments signed by China and coun­tries along the routes or in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, a num­ber of per­ma­nent work­ing groups can be or­ga­nized to map out fu­ture plans for align­ments of de­vel­op­ment plans and carry out ma­jor co­op­er­a­tion projects. For the medium and long term, per­ma­nent mech­a­nisms un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, such as strate­gic dock­ing co­op­er­a­tion com­mis­sions and in­for­mal meet­ings of se­nior of­fi­cials of strate­gic plan­ning de­part­ments, can be set up to en­sure co­or­di­na­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion on macroe­co­nomic poli­cies between rel­e­vant coun­tries, such as for­mu­lat­ing transna­tional or tran­sre­gional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strate­gies and plans and pro­mot­ing the deeper in­te­gra­tion of coun­tries along the routes.

The sec­ond as­pect is con­sol­i­dat­ing the achieve­ments of the ex­ist­ing free trade ar­eas (FTAS) and de­sign­ing rules and mech­a­nisms for trade and in­vest­ment un­der the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Based on pre­vi­ous in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, FTAS are key plat­forms for co­or­di­nat­ing trade in goods, trade in ser­vices, in­vest­ment, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, en­vi­ron­ment and other re­lated fields. Al­ready, the CHINA-ASEAN FTA, the Eurasian Eco­nomic Union (EEU) and other FTAS have been set up between coun­tries along the Belt and Road de­spite their dis­tinct dif­fer­ences in mech­a­nism stan­dards. By ac­tively ad­vanc­ing the China-gcc FTA and the China-eeu FTA, the over­all frame­work of FTAS along the Belt and Road routes has grad­u­ally taken shape. In par­tic­u­lar, in ad­di­tion to such top­ics as trade, in­vest­ment, and tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers, the over­all frame­work also in­cludes is­sues that em­body the con­cept of build­ing a com­mu­nity of shared in­ter­ests, re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and fu­ture, such as in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty pro­tec­tion, en­vi­ron­ment, in­fras­truc­ture, ca­pac­ity build­ing and co­op­er­a­tion. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the vary­ing na­tional con­di­tions of rel­e­vant coun­tries, spe­cific rules and reg­u­la­tions should be flex­i­ble and dif­fer­en­ti­ated. In the medium and long term, sim­i­lar to the Free Trade Area of the Asia-pa­cific (FTAAP), we should draw on the ex­pe­ri­ence of the APEC model to es­tab­lish a large-scale FTA that cov­ers all coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes led by China and ASEAN and is open to even coun­tries be­yond the re­gion. Ef­fec­tive in­te­gra­tion will pro­vide a “Chi­nese so­lu­tion” for re­form­ing and im­prov­ing global eco­nomic gov­er­nance.

Fi­nally, we should in­te­grate the Asian In­fras­truc­ture In­vest­ment Bank and other fi­nanc­ing plat­forms and im­prove the fi­nanc­ing ar­range­ment mech­a­nism un­der the frame­work of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. Most coun­tries along the routes are rel­a­tively un­der­de­vel­oped and lack fi­nan­cial re­sources. Some projects along the Belt and Road routes re­quire lengthy con­struc­tion time and only pro­duce mod­est com­mer­cial re­turns. In ad­di­tion, sig­nif­i­cant geopo­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic risks re­duce the mo­ti­va­tion for in­ter­na­tional cap­i­tal to in­vest in the re­gion. Form­ing a unique Belt and Road fi­nanc­ing sys­tem by in­te­grat­ing var­i­ous types of fi­nanc­ing plat­forms in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ment banks, com­mer­cial fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and aid funds is the ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion to the huge fund­ing gap plagu­ing the con­struc­tion of the Belt and Road.

Oc­to­ber 15, 2017: The bustling con­tainer wharf of Rizhao Port, Shan­dong Prov­ince. IC

May 13, 2018: Nearly 40 over­seas stu­dents from 12 coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes who are study­ing at Sichuan Univer­sity learn and ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional Chi­nese art and cul­ture such as Sichuan cui­sine, tea cer­e­mony and bam­boo weav­ing at Meis­han Vo­ca­tional and Tech­ni­cal Col­lege in Sichuan Prov­ince. IC

July 5, 2018: A worker as­sem­bles a car at the as­sem­bly plant of Chi­nese car­maker Geely in Be­larus. On av­er­age, the plant wit­nesses a ve­hi­cle rolling off its as­sem­bly line ev­ery 240 sec­onds. IC

The Czech freight train sta­tion of the Madrid-yiwu line of China Rail­way Ex­press to Europe, July 2, 2018. China ina Rail­way Ex­press to Europe is an in­ter­na­tional con­tainer-ship­ping rail­way line that runs through coun­tries along the Belt and Road routes. In the past five years, 52 ser­vice lines that ex­tend to 12 coun­tries and 32 cities in Europe were opened, ed, and 33,882 TEUS of cargo were trans­ported on 402 trips. IC

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