DATUK Seri Na­jib Razak and other world lead­ers lend their sup­port to China’s Belt and Road en­deav­our to ex­pand eco­nomic and cul­tural links be­tween Asia, Africa, Europe and be­yond. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, in launch­ing a fo­rum on the 'project of the cen­tury'

New Straits Times - - Front Page - RE­PORTS BY CHOK SUAT LING



PRIME Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak joined a pa­rade of world lead­ers yes­ter­day for the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion (BRF), in a clear show of the coun­try’s sup­port for China’s am­bi­tious move to re­de­fine the global econ­omy.

The fo­rum, at the China Na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre, was launched by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, who con­cep­tu­alised the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (BRI) in 2013 to pro­mote not just eco­nomic but also cul­tural ex­change.

The Mid­dle King­dom hopes to recre­ate the an­cient Silk Road that con­nects Asia to Europe.

China will, through the two-day fo­rum, rally in­ter­na­tional sup­port to re­shape half of the world through OBOR — the land belt through Cen­tral Asia (Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt) and the sea road pass­ing through the In­dian Ocean (21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road), both reach­ing into Europe.

Xi, in his key­note ad­dress, gave a his­tor­i­cal sum­mary of the es­tab­lish­ment of an­cient Silk Roads on land and sea, which helped open win­dows of friendly ex­change.

“These routes en­abled the peo­ple to in­ter­act with each other with mu­tual re­spect in the pur­suit of pros­per­ity.

“Generation after generation, a bridge of peace and East-West link­ages were built.

“To­day, an­cient cities and sea ports are stand­ing as liv­ing mon­u­ments to past in­ter­ac­tions.”

As his­tory served as the best teacher, Xi, who pledged US$124 bil­lion for OBOR, un­der­scored the im­por­tance of em­bark­ing on a path of peace, har­mony, friend­ship and a bet­ter fu­ture.

In pur­su­ing the Belt and Road en­deav­our, which Xi de­scribed as “a project of the cen­tury”, he high­lighted five prin­ci­ples of co­ex­is­tence — peace, pros­per­ity, open­ness, in­no­va­tion and the con­nec­tion of dif­fer­ent civil­i­sa­tions.

He as­sured that there would be no in­ter­fer­ence in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the re­spec­tive Belt and Road coun­tries or the im­po­si­tion of one’s will on oth­ers.

Xi pledged a mas­sive fund­ing boost to the new Silk Road, in­clud­ing an ex­tra 100 bil­lion yuan into the ex­ist­ing Silk Road Fund; 250 bil­lion yuan in loans from China De­vel­op­ment Bank; 130 bil­lion yuan in loans from Ex­portIm­port Bank of China; 60 bil­lion yuan in aid to devel­op­ing coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions in new Silk Road coun­tries; and two bil­lion yuan in emer­gency food aid.

China would also be en­cour­ag­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to ex­pand their over­seas yuan fund busi­nesses to the tune of 300 bil­lion yuan.

With Na­jib at the fo­rum were the Prime Min­is­ter’s Spe­cial Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, Sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Agri­cul­ture and Agrobased In­dus­try Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Ah­mad Shabery Cheek, Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The fo­rum, themed “Co­op­er­a­tion for Com­mon Pros­per­ity”, is the high­est-level di­a­logue since the vi­sion of OBOR was first shared by Xi.

OBOR has won sup­port from more than 100 coun­tries across five con­ti­nents, and in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions, with nearly 50 co­op­er­a­tion agreements signed be­tween gov­ern­ments on joint con­struc­tion of the route.

Be­sides 29 heads of state and gov­ern­ment, BRF was also at­tended by some 80 lead­ers of in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Be­sides Na­jib, other lead­ers at­tend­ing are Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo, Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte, Viet­namese Pres­i­dent Tran Dai Quang, Cam­bo­dian Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen and Myan­mar State Coun­sel­lor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Also present are the United Na­tions sec­re­tary-gen­eral, and pres­i­dents of the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund and World Bank. After the open­ing cer­e­mony, there were high-level ple­nary ses­sions, as well as six par­al­lel the­matic meet­ings.

The Malaysian del­e­ga­tion took part in some of the ses­sions. Ka Chuan, who spoke on “En­er­gis­ing Two-Way In­vest­ment”, said there were huge op­por­tu­ni­ties un­der the BRI, es­pe­cially in out­bound cap­i­tal projects and in­fra­struc­ture.

“Malaysian com­pa­nies can forge strate­gic part­ner­ships with Chi­nese com­pa­nies to jointly un­der­take projects in Malaysia, China and other BRI coun­tries.”

The the­matic ses­sions at min­is­te­rial and se­nior of­fi­cials level, in­clud­ing aca­demi­cians, were based on Con­nec­tiv­ity of De­vel­op­ment Poli­cies and Strate­gies; In­fra­struc­ture Con­nec­tiv­ity; Trade Con­nec­tiv­ity; Fi­nan­cial Con­nec­tiv­ity; Peo­ple-to-Peo­ple Con­nec­tiv­ity; and Think Tank Ex­changes.

Later at night, Na­jib and his wife, Datin Seri Ros­mah Man­sor, at­tended a ban­quet hosted by Xi at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple, and en­joyed a cul­tural per­for­mance at the Na­tional Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts.

To­day, a Lead­ers’ Round­table will be held at the Yanqi Lake In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre here. Na­jib will take part in some of the ses­sions. He is also slated to hold bi­lat­eral meet­ings on the side­lines of the fo­rum.

Yes­ter­day, Na­jib met his Sri Lankan coun­ter­part, Ranil Wick­remesinghe. Page 1 pic: Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Ros­mah Man­sor, at­tend­ing a ban­quet hosted by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, in con­junc­tion with the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing yes­ter­day.


Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak (front row, left) with Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping (front row, 11th from left) as well as other world lead­ers and del­e­gates at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Belt and Road Fo­rum for In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing yes­ter­day.

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