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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forward by President Xi Jinping. The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held from 17 to 18 October, and this BRF was attended by over 10,000 registered representatives from 151 countries and 41 international organizations. The scale of participation has once again showcased the tremendous appeal and global influence of Belt and Road cooperation. The past decade has witnessed historic achievements in Belt and Road cooperation. A path of cooperation, opportunity and prosperity that leads to common development has been found. Benefiting over 150 countries, the BRI has become the most popular international public good and largest international cooperation platform in today’s world. The BRI pursues development, promotes win-win outcomes, and inspires hope. It aims to deepen understanding and trust, strengthen comprehensive exchanges, and ultimately achieve common development and shared prosperity. The Belt and Road has become a “belt of development” for the world and a “road to happiness” for all humanity.
A Road of Peace for the New Era. Harmonious coexistence has been the aspiration of the Chinese nation for thousands of years. Peace requires mutual respect. The BRI is not a soliloquy by China but a chorus of all partner countries, featuring extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit. Peace brings win-win results. The BRI aims to build more partnerships and make the pie bigger, and it opposes creating small clubs or seeking selfish interests. Peace enables development. Benefited from Belt and Road cooperation, the Smederevo Steel Plant in Serbia brims with renewed vigor; the Piraeus port in Greece is among the top ports in the Mediterranean in terms of throughput; cataract patients in Uzbekistan are provided with opportunities to regain their sight; and villagers living in arid areas in Senegal now have better access to safe drinking water. Over the past decade, with the aim of promoting peaceful development and better lives for the world, the BRI has increasingly become a road of peace where dreams and aspirations come true.
A Road of Prosperity for the New Era. The BRI is committed to building a prosperous future that diverges from the exploitative colonialism of the past. The BRI shines the light of development and provides new impetus for global development. The World Bank estimates that by 2030, Belt and Road cooperation will bring an annual benefit of USD 1.6 trillion to the world, accounting for 1.3 percent of the global GDP and injecting strong impetus into global development. The BRI shines the light of happiness and makes new contributions to people’s well-being. Over the past ten years, the BRI has helped lift nearly 40 million people out of poverty. A large number of “small yet smart” livelihood programs such as schools, hospitals and stadiums have been put in place one after another, and more and more people are living a better life with a greater sense of happiness and benefit. The BRI shines the light of hope and opens up new prospects for common prosperity. Many developing countries have seized the momentum of the BRI and got on board the express train of China’s development. As we accelerate the development of the health Silk Road, the digital Silk Road, the green Silk Road and the Silk Road of innovation, more opportunities for cooperation will be created. This will open up broader prospects for industrial upgrading, energy transformation and innovative development in those countries. After a decade of development, the BRI has effectively promoted economic integration and interconnected development, and delivered benefits to all. It has laid down a pathway toward mutual benefit, win-win outcomes, prosperity and development in an age rife with turbulence and change.
A Road of Openness for the New Era. The BRI grows from China but serves the world. Boosting benefit sharing and inclusiveness through opening up. In contrast to those “small circles” or “exclusionary groups” pieced together by some countries, Belt and Road cooperation is a big family guided by the principle of extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit. As of June this year, more than 150 countries and 30-plus international organizations have signed over 200 Belt and Road cooperation documents with China. Enhancing cooperation through opening up. The BRI promotes connectivity, facilitates the effort of relevant countries and regions to better integrate into global supply, industrial and value chains, and creates greater development opportunities. The initiative is a broad path along which China and other countries share opportunities for common development. Addressing development problems through opening up. As an open platform for cooperation, the BRI aims to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. The effective operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Belt and Road Special Lending Scheme, the Silk Road Fund, Silk Road theme bonds, and other new instruments will help ease the problem of inaccessible and expensive financing. Over the past decade, an open China has joined hands with more and more partners for a better world.
A Road of Innovation for the New Era. Innovation is the primary force in driving development. For 10 years, guided by innovative ideas, Belt and Road cooperation has pooled resources of innovation from various parties, injecting strong impetus into the development of partner countries and bringing tangible benefits to the people. A road of innovation for the new era is connecting China to the world. This is a road that inspires innovative ideas for cooperation. Rooted in the spirit of harmony, inclusiveness, and cooperation of the ancient Silk Road, the BRI has put forward the innovative principle of extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit, and abandoned the zero-sum mentality featured in the donors-dominated, Western-led model of international cooperation, thus creating a new vision for international cooperation. This is a road that brings together resources of innovation. In the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has spurred greater innovation in science and technology. From promoting people-to-people exchanges in science and technology to jointly building laboratories, from enhancing cooperation on science and technology parks to building technology transfer centers, the vision for a community of innovation featuring shared development philosophies, unimpeded flow of production factors, networked technology facilities, connected innovation chains and vibrant people-to-people exchanges is turning into reality. This is a road that delivers the benefits of scientific and technological innovation to the people. China has carried out extensive cooperation with partner countries in smart cities, mobile payment, cross-border e-commerce and other areas of digital economy, and supported them in establishing and improving technology markets. China has set up the Technology Transfer South-South Cooperation Center with the United Nations Development Program, promoted cooperation among higher education institutions and research institutes, and helped partner countries cultivate future innovators.
A Road Connecting Civilizations for the New Era. Living in a world of different civilizations, beliefs and customs, should we progress alone or together? And should we stay behind close doors or embrace one another? China’s answer is clear: Build a bridge of interaction and mutual learning, and make the BRI a road connecting different civilizations. A new approach to civilization. The BRI’s concept of “mutual learning among civilizations” calls for treating all civilizations in an equal and inclusive manner, respecting the systems and beliefs of all countries, and promoting understanding and trust among different civilizations. Rejecting the outdated Cold War mentality, it represents a big step forward in humanity’s approach to civilization, and is garnering growing support globally. A platform for intercivilization dialogue. Over the past decade, Belt and Road partner countries have carried out diverse people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The BRI has built bridges for mutual cultural appreciation and a platform for dialogue among civilizations, where the flowers of different civilizations bloom and shine together. For a better world: contribution of the Chinese civilization. China has put forward the Global Civilization Initiative that calls for respecting the diversity of world civilizations, championing the common values of humanity, promoting the inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and enhancing international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. The aim is to open up new prospects in cultural interaction and people-to-people bonds among all countries, and contribute more to the progress of human civilization.
A Road of Green Development for the New Era. A sound ecosystem is essential for the prosperity of civilization. Ancient Chinese wisdom makes new contribution. For thousands of years, the Chinese civilization has set great store by the idea that humanity must seek harmony with Nature. Into the new era, China is committed to the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. While steadily advancing green development at home, China has explored to contribute its ideas and experience on green development to the Belt and Road cooperation. The appeal to build a green Silk Road together demonstrates China’s leadership as a major country in global eco-environmental governance, and contributes Chinese wisdom to the joint endeavor for a clean and beautiful world. Boosting the green development of partner countries. China has conducted green energy cooperation with more than 100 countries and regions. In Belt and Road partner countries, Chinese investment in green and low-carbon energy has surpassed that in traditional energy. This has promoted greater balance between socioeconomic development and eco-environmental protection, brought more opportunities for green development to participating countries and regions, and delivered green benefits to local communities. Building closer partnerships for green development. So far, China has signed 50-plus cooperation documents on eco-environmental protection with relevant parties, and jointly launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development with 31 partner countries, and the Green Silk Road Envoys Programme has trained more than 3,000 green development professionals for 120-plus partner countries. Ten years of steady and solid efforts have enabled China to build closer partnerships on green development with partner countries. Belt and Road cooperation is turning the inspiring vision of green development into reality with concrete actions within ten years.
Over the past decade, Belt and Road partner countries have championed the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, and mutual benefit, and focused on enhancing policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, achieving deeper economic integration, interconnected development, and the sharing of achievements. The success of the third BRF proves once again that China has followed the right direction in advancing Belt and Road cooperation, that BRI partners have shown firm commitment to participation, and that high-quality Belt and Road cooperation enjoys bright prospects. Standing at a new historical starting point, we look forward to working with all parties to embark on a new journey of Belt and Road cooperation and usher in a better future of joint progress toward global modernization.
Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Willemstad