Belt and Road ini­tia­tive couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time for Latin Amer­ica

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - The ar­ti­cle is from the Xin­hua News Agency. opin­ion@ glob­al­

For Latin Amer­i­can de­vel­op­ment, the tim­ing of China’s Belt and Road ini­tia­tive couldn’t have been bet­ter, ex­perts said re­cently at a fo­rum in Mex­ico.

The ini­tia­tive, de­signed to pro­mote global in­fra­struc­ture and international trade and in­te­gra­tion, has proven to be a timely mech­a­nism for spurring large-scale pub­lic projects that im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity, said ex­perts gath­ered Mon­day at a round­table or­ga­nized by the Eco­nom­ics Depart­ment of Mex­ico’s Na­tional Au­ton­o­mous Univer­sity.

“Hope­fully, the Belt and Road can... im­prove the ca­pac­ity to draw up projects in Latin Amer­ica, es­pe­cially in rel­a­tively less de­vel­oped coun­tries,” said Jorge Ed­uardo Navar­rete Lopez, Mex­ico’s for­mer am­bas­sador to China.

The tim­ing of the ini­tia­tive couldn’t have been bet­ter, he added, given the lack of fund­ing avail­able in the re­gion.

“Its emer­gence is im­por­tant in a sit­u­a­tion in which the tra­di­tional in­fra­struc­ture fi­nanc­ing funds, such as the World Bank and re­gional de­vel­op­ment banks, are clearly in­suf­fi­cient,” said Navar­rete.

To make the most of the ini­tia­tive’s po­ten­tial to bol­ster con­nec­tiv­ity to fa­cil­i­tate trade, “it’s im­per­a­tive to have in mind re­gional and in­ter­re­gional projects in par­al­lel with na­tional projects,” Navar­rete added.

Mex­ico’s ex-am­bas­sador to China Eu­ge­nio An­guiano Roch, a mem­ber of the Eco­nom­ics Depart­ment’s Chi­naMex­ico Stud­ies Cen­ter, agrees that the plan can be a boon to the re­gion.

“To­day we see China’s econ­omy as the se­cond largest in the world and that Chi­nese tech­nol­ogy has ad­vanced so much, above all in in­fra­struc­ture works, we feel that the ini­tia­tive have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said. To en­sure that the ini­tia­tive moves for­ward, the par­tic­i­pa­tion of all the coun­tries has to be “very ac­tive, de­cided and re­al­is­tic,” he said. Ac­cord­ing to Du Qi­wen, a for­mer Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Greece, the ini­tia­tive’s achieve­ments so far have sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions.

The key to its suc­cess, he said, lies in its spirit of co­op­er­a­tion to­wards mu­tual ben­e­fit.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, Du men­tioned the pos­si­bil­ity to forge a 21st cen­tury route for peace and pros­per­ity by pro­mot­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion and in­no­va­tion for global de­vel­op­ment.

Liu Bi­wei, vice pres­i­dent of the China Pub­lic Diplo­macy As­so­ci­a­tion, a soft-pow­er­fo­cused or­ga­ni­za­tion which helped or­ga­nize the round­table, said that de­spite the ge­o­graphic dis­tance that sep­a­rates China and Latin Amer­ica, the two re­gions share a solid foun­da­tion for co­op­er­a­tion via the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive. To that end, a del­e­ga­tion from the as­so­ci­a­tion was in Mex­ico to deepen mu­tual knowl­edge be­tween the two peo­ples through di­a­logue, said Liu.

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