“Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation Draws the World’s Attention
The “Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) is China’s most important diplomatic event in the year of 2017, putting the world’s attention on the organizer, China.
Important speeches at the National Convention Center, a welcome banquet at Great Hall of the People, a splendid performance at National Center for the Performing Arts, decisions made at Yanqi Lake, achievements released at the press conferences ... Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speeches at various occasions in several consecutive days and wonderful statements from participants, all of these have drawn keen interest across the world and have established a hope bridge for connectivity and win-win cooperation among various countries.
In particular, at the roundtable summit all the parties concerned achieved several consensuses and passed the joint communiqué for pushing forward globalization. In addition, more than 270 achievements were made at the Forum.
Participants and experts attending the Forum said that the fruitful results yielded have provided strong support for the “Belt and Road” construction. As the results are put into implementation, the “Belt and Road” is entering into a new phase and has initiated a new era for the economic cooperation.
The Belt and Road” initiative originated from China, but it belongs to the whole world
As early as 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the “Belt and Road” initiative with the core content to promote infrastructure construction and connectiv it y, communicate and coordinate policies and development strategies among various countries, deepen practical cooperation, promote interconnection and move towards prosperity.
At the roundtable summit held on May 15, President Xi Jinping explicitly expounded the purpose of the “Belt and Road” initiative. Xi said, “This initiative originated from my observation and reflection on the world situation. As nowadays countries have to depend on each other and global challenges arise one after another, no one country is able to manage alone or solve the problems confronting the world. Only coordinating policies among countries and integrating economic factors and development resources across the world will create a synergy to achieve world peace and mutual development. ”
President Xi Jinping stressed that the “Belt and Road” initiative is rooted in the history, but it faces to the future; the initiative might have originated in China, but in reality it belongs to the entire world.
According to President Xi Jinping, crossing different regions, different stages and different civilizations, the “Belt and Road” is an open and inclusive cooperation platform and a global public product jointly built by all parties. Focusing on Eurasia, the “Belt and Road” initiative opens to all likeminded parties and excludes no single party.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that China is sponsoring the Forum is to discuss cooperation strategy, establish cooperation platform and share cooperation achievements in a bid to enable the “Belt and Road” construction to benefit all the people. Xi anticipates that the Forum will yield achievements in terms of the following aspects: “Firstly, to promote mutual and win- win cooperation and define the cooperation direction. The key for wild goose to survive storms lies in mutual support. This reveals an in- depth philosophy for us to cope with challenges and realize better development. With partnership spirit, we are supposed to firmly uphold the principles of negotiation, co-building and sharing and to strive for the objective of policy communication, facilit y connection, trade openness, easy finance and common understanding among people. Secondly, to pay close attention to policy coordination and communicate development strategies so as to create a synergy. Thirly, to deepen practical cooperation based on projects in terms of infrastructure facility connection, real economy cooperation, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation as well as financing cooperation.
President Xi Jinping hopes all the parties will build consensus to seek a direction and work out a blueprint for the “Belt and Road” international cooperation.
“Yanqi Lake is a place with a long history. China’s Great Wall relics lies in the mountains outside a nd t h is loc at ion may inspi re thoughts and initiate the cooperation journey. Many people think that the ‘ Belt and Road’ is just like a pair of soaring wings. With Yanqi Lake as a new starting point, Let’s fly to the blue sky and f ly to the future with peace, development and winwin cooperation,” said President Xi Jinping.
Global politicians and businessmen all thumb up for the Belt and Road”
“The “Belt and Road” initiative is the most innovative public product in the world, widely drawing resonance among participants. Speaking of this, secretary-general of the International Monetary Fund Lagarde quoted an old Chinese saying “one chopstick can be easily broken off, but a bundle of chopsticks may stick together”. “Through collaboration, we have the chance to strengthen financial connectivity and build countries and regions like Asia into a prosperous economy.”
According to Roberto Azevêdo, secretar y- general of the World Trade Organization, “connectivity” is first of all physical connectivity. “By the yea r 2030, developing infrastructure needs USD 26 trillion and that is why the ‘ Belt and Road’ is so important and arises just at the right time,” Roberto regards that a proper supervision environment is also needed to promote trade so as to support connectivity.
Ssaeed, Minister of the Economic Development Minist r y of the Maldives said that so far the “Belt and Road” initiative has made remarkable progress and particularly president Xi Jinping has made very constructive speeches at the summit, offering many concrete suggestions for future development. Ssaeed expects to take this summit as a good opportunity to
further deepen cooperation in such sectors like trade and expects that the bilateral relation will have a brighter future.
Roger·joseph·khouri, an official of the Republic of Lebanon disclosed that the country will sign a series of cooperation agreements with China in domains like culture and trade. Under the “Belt and Road” framework, Khouri believes that there will be increasingly more opportunities for bilateral cooperation. It is introduced that many Chinese companies have settled in Lebanon. “As Lebanon is a small country with less advanced manufacturing sector than China, Lebanon has imported many products from China, including machinery, textile and glass products,” said Khouri.
Vice President Bo• Bendtsen of COWI from Denmark said that the Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a quite inspiring speech at the opening ceremony with definite policy direction. Bendtsen himself places emphasis on the capital raising issue for infrastructure construction and production construction. In the course of pushing forward the “Belt and Road” projects, he hopes that the Chinese economy may confront competition in the international market with a more open attitude.
Chinese companies play a crucial role in the implementation of the “Belt and Road” initiative. Xu Lirong, President of China COSCO Shipping Corporation said that “our company focuses on providing trade connectivity and ensuring smooth services along the global comprehensive logistics supply chain”. Therefore, the “Belt and Road” has pointed out a very clear direction for us: with connecting global ports and wharfs as the objective, a global strategy and connection between the companies and the local markets will help to develop maritime cooperation relations.”
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Alibaba Group Ma Yun said that “President Xi Jinping stressed in the keynote speech co-building is not to make a fresh start by denying others and becoming egoistic, which is fundamentally why the ‘ Belt and Road’ initiative has earned the whole world’s recognition and why so many countries may sit together,” Mr. Ma is looking forward to the digital silk road, “as an Internet company and as a pioneer for cloud computing and big data, Alibaba cannot stand indifferent.”
Economic and trade cooperation ushers in a new era
During the summit forum, a series of companies have signed big contracts. Apart from the companies run by the central government, many local companies, private companies and listed companies said that the “Belt and Road ” have expanded the ma rket and they have a lso identified more and more business opportunities.
This year’s summit has also yielded very fruitful achievements in the economic and trade domain: in the upcoming five years, China will import over USD 8 trillion commodities, make foreign direct investment of over USD 750 billion and contribute an outbound tourist group of more than 500 million, which will bring tremendous business opportunities for the whole world. Regarding the series of measures to push forward the “Belt and Road” trade connectivity, achievements include “China is expected to import USD 2 trillion commodities from countries and regions along the ‘ Belt and Road ’ in the upcoming f ive years”, “since the year of 2018, China will hold China International Import Expo” and “China will sign economic and trade cooperation agreements with over 30 countries and cooperate with the countries along the ‘ Belt and Road’ for 100 trade and investment projects”.
During the Forum, the Ministry of Commerce released Cooperation Initiative on Promoting the “Belt and Road” Trade Facilitation (hereinafter referred to as Trade Facilitation Cooperation Initiative) jointly with the relevant departments and international organizations from over 60 countries attending the BRF, declaring the common ground to the international community for supporting economic globalization.
In addition, i n t e rms o f communicating policies and development strategies, promoting economic corridor construction, strengthening major project cooperation and increasing capital support, many new measures have been proposed, including increasing RMB 100 billion to the Silk Road Fund and encouraging financial institutions to carry out Chinese yuan overseas fund business with an expected scale of RMB 300 billion. China Development Bank and ExportImport Bank will provide special loans of RMB 250 billion and RMB 130 billion respectively for the “Belt and Road” related cooperation.
Long Guoqi a ng , De put y Director of the Development Research Center of the State Council pointed out that the “Belt and Road” has undoubtedly brought abundant business opportunities for the companies. The first beneficiary is infrastructure construction. Most of the countries a long the “Belt and Road ” a re developing countries with infrastructure construction as the prioritized domain. Then comes next is the opportunity to carry out import and export trade and finally is investment opportunities. The countries along the “Belt and Road” promise tremendous potential and the Chinese companies are in the peak of “going global” with investments are in full swing in the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and service industries.
Dear Friends and Readers of the China’s Foreign Trade Magazine: It is with great pleasure that I communicate with you several days before the opening of the Belt and Road Forum, a pivotal international event of cardinal importance for our two countries and people and for the whole world. Over the last years, our bilateral relations, political, economic and cultural, are advancing fast and are becoming stronger and deeper to the benefit of both our nations. Greece, a beacon of stability and prosperity in South - Eastern Europe, has eagerly embraced China’s Belt and Road initiative, advancing connectivity not just through trade and investment, but also by promoting people-to-people exchanges and cultural dialogue, along the Modern Silk Roads linking China to Europe. Greece has recognized the comprehensive and cultural value of this endeavor as well as its potential role in favor of peace and stability, and is eager to work with China in building a community of shared future for all humankind. The Belt and Road initiative is a long-term strategic, open-ended endeavor, launched by the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping, and subsequently supported by numerous nations, involving more than 70 countries, and 4 billion people, accounting for about 1/3 of the world’s total GDP. It is based on synergy, inclusiveness, win-win strategies, equality, collective effort and decision making; in short, a visionary, holistic and ground breaking effort which purports to build not a new empire but a flexible network of equal partners, aiming at boosting growth and sustainable development. Greece as one of the core participants of the Belt and Road initiative, especially along the new Maritime Silk Roads (as evidenced by our successful cooperation with COSCO in the Port of Piraeus and beyond) is committed in the success of this initiative. The BRF summit, coincides with two important events that will mark our bilateral relations this year:
First, the opening of the Ancient Civilizations Forum on April 24th in Athens, a Greek initiative actively supported by China and involving 10 countries, with the aim of serving as a platform where all participants can communicate and learn from each other so as to achieve common prosperity and development. As Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Athens, “The Ancient Civilization Forum and the Road and Belt Initiative can be essentially traced to the same origin”. The forum has provided dynamism in both thought and culture for the Belt and Road initiative. Second, the official inauguration of the Greece- China Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year in Athens last week, in the presence of the Greek Minister of Culture Ms. Koniordou and the head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, Mr Liu Qibao, underscoring the pivotal role played by cultural links in our bilateral strategic cooperation in many other fields, such as economy, trade and tourism. I take this opportunity to wish the forthcoming Belt and Road forum full success!
H.e.leonidas C. Rokanas Ambassador of Greece to China
Distinguished Reader: In Hungary we seriously believe that mutual trust and respect on both sides, as well as supporting each other’s core interests and taking into consideration each other’s major concerns provide the essential basis of fruitful bilateral relations were established. with China, which we have successfully built together during the 68 years, since our diplomatic relations were established. Besides the excellent political ties between Hungary and China, statistics show that economic relations are also advancing consistently. China has become Hungary’s largest trading partner outside the European Union. Over the last few years, we have created one of Europe’s most competitive investment environment in Hungary, which has significantly contributed to becoming the top destination country of Chinese investments in Central Eastern Europe, as well as becoming a regional financial hub. Hungary considers the ‘ Belt and Road’ initiative as a grand civilization project and has a similar view as China, namely that the concept is a common aspiration to all countries along the routes. Hungary is pleased and eager to move forward in the direction of practical cooperation. This commitment has already resulted in becoming the first ‘ Belt and Road’ country in Europe by signing the MOU with China on “Jointly Building The Silk Road Economic Belt And The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” in 2015, and also becoming the first – among more than a 100 countries and international organizations in the world that actively participate and support the “Belt and Road” initiative – to establish and launch the “Belt and Road” working group mechanism with China in 2016. Based on the frequent high-level political and business visits, which provide the foundation of political and economic relations, we aim for sustained high level growth in the fields of trade, investment and tourism. We also strive to further develop cooperation with China in the priority areas of the recent re-industrialisation program of Hungary, which are the fields of vehicle manufacturing, manufacturing of specialized machinery and equipment, health industry and health tourism, food industry, green economy and infocommunication industry. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation a great success.
On behalf of the Government and people of Indonesia, I would like to warmly congratulate China for organizing of the International Cooperation Summit Forum on the Belt and Road initiative. May this Summit Forum further enhance the understanding and cooperation among related countries, as we strive to strengthen connectivity in this era of globalization based on non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win principles.
H.e.soegeng Rahardjo Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to the People’s Republic of China
maritime silk route, he stopped in Sri Lanka, where he recorded the availability of sapphires, rubies, topazes, amethysts and garnets in the island. He stated that “the king of Sri Lanka possesses the most beautiful ruby that can be seen, has ever been seen or is likely to be seen in the whole world” and that the Emperor of China had sent envoys to purchase this ruby, offering to pay the value of a city in return. This is only one of many examples that history has recorded of the ancient relationship between China and Sri Lanka. Another can be found in the 5th century rock paintings at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriyain Sri Lanka. The dresses worn by the women depicted in its famous Fresco paintings are said to be made of Chinese silks, which makes the latter one of the first items exported from China to Sri Lanka many centuries ago. Yet another instance of the two countries’ close relations are the visits made to Sri Lanka by celebrated navigator Zheng He. He erected a trilingual stone tablet at a religious site in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka and appealed for Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic blessings, making offerings of gold, silver and Chinese Silk. These were no doubt items of trade at the time. When we fast forward to modern times, we find the newly independent modern nations of Sri Lanka and China signing the historical Rubber-rice Trade Agreement in 1952. Current trade volumes between our two countries exceeds US$ 4 billion. I believe that there will be even more opportunities for relations between the two nations with the implementation of the consensus of leaders at their roundtable deliberations during the Belt and Road International Forum. Coincidentally, this year China and Sri Lanka celebrate their 65th Anniversary of Trade Relations in the modern era, in addition to their 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations. Sri Lanka’s joining of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is an apt way to celebrate this historical moment. I sincerely wish this event great success.
H.E.DR. Karunasena Kodituwakku Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China