REDEFINING GLOBAL ECONOMY
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'
9 MoUs, AGREEMENTS, VALUED AT RM31.26 BILLION, SIGNED BY MALAYSIAN AND CHINESE COMPANIES
THEY INCLUDE PLAN TO SET UP AIRASIA (CHINA), AND DEVELOPMENT OF ROBOTIC FUTURE CITY IN JOHOR AND MELAKA GATEWAY
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.