|A New Chapter for Belt and Road Cooperation After a Glorious Decade|
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) put forward by President Xi Jinping. Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has stayed committed to its founding mission, and has grown rapidly and made historic achievements. 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.
Between October 17 and 18, the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the BRF opening ceremony entitled “Building an Open, Inclusive and Interconnected World For Common Development”. 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 clearest message from this Forum is unity, cooperation, openness and win-win outcome. President Xi Jinping pointed out in his keynote speech that humankind is a community with a shared future; win-win cooperation is the sure way to success in launching major initiatives that benefit all; and the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit is the most important source of strength for Belt and Road cooperation. Amidst great transformations unseen in a century, Belt and Road cooperation will always bring stability and positive energy to the world.
The most important consensus of this Forum is to usher in a new stage of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. President Xi Jinping noted that China will work with all parties involved to deepen Belt and Road partnerships of cooperation, and usher this cooperation into a new stage of high-quality development. These words have received positive response and support from all parties. At the High-Level Forum on Digital Economy as a New Source of Growth, the participants called for expedited efforts to build a Digital Silk Road, and China’s proposal of a Global Initiative for AI Governance has drawn great attention. At the High-Level Forum on Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature, the participants highlighted the need to further build the Green Silk Road, meet the climate challenges together, step up cooperation on biodiversity protection, and empower green development. As it enters a new stage, Belt and Road cooperation will definitely create more opportunities and bring more good news to the world.
The most ambitious vision of this Forum is to realize global modernization through joint efforts. President Xi Jinping proposed for the first time that global modernization should be pursued through the joint efforts of all countries to enhance peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation and bring prosperity to all, setting the direction for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the modernization China pursues is not for the country alone, but for all developing countries through joint efforts. He announced at the opening ceremony that China will further expand market access; deepen reform in areas including the state-owned enterprises, digital economy, intellectual property and government procurement; and enter into free trade agreements and investment protection treaties with more countries. China’s potential as the world’s largest market will be continuously tapped. Chinese financial institutions will set up new RMB financing windows and support BRI projects based on well-informed studies. China will promote local employment through cooperation projects and carry out 1,000 small-scale livelihood assistance projects. The materialization of these significant measures will surely provide stronger boost and greater space for global modernization.
The defining feature of this Forum is that it is action-oriented, efficient and pragmatic. President Xi Jinping announced in his keynote speech eight major steps China will take to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. These include steps to build a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network, promote green development, and advance scientific and technological innovation. They also include specific projects of practical cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and institution-building for Belt and Road cooperation.
During this BRF, 458 outcomes have been reached, far exceeding the number of the last Forum. They include important cooperation initiatives and institutional arrangements such as the Beijing Initiative for Deepening Cooperation on Connectivity, the Beijing Initiative for Belt and Road Green Development, the Beijing Initiative on the Belt and Road International Digital Economy Cooperation, the Green Investment and Finance Partnership, and High-Level Principles on Belt and Road Integrity Building. They also include specific targets including providing 100,000 training opportunities on green development for partner countries by 2030, and increasing the number of joint laboratories to 100. Commercial agreements worth USD 97.2 billion have been concluded at the CEO Conference, which will help generate jobs and growth in relevant countries. The Forum also decided to establish a BRF secretariat to facilitate institution-building and project implementation. These tangible cooperation outcomes are a vote of support and confidence in BRI by participating parties. Belt and Road cooperation is not about high-sounding rhetoric, but about concrete action. It will certainly provide sustained impetus for global growth and common development across the world.
Belt and Road cooperation was proposed by China, but its benefits and opportunities are for the world to share. The success of the BRF proves once again that peaceful development and win-win cooperation represents the prevailing trend and people’s common aspiration. Cold War-style confrontation and decoupling efforts go against the tide of history and will lead nowhere. Standing at a new historical starting point, China looks forward to working with all parties to carry forward the Silk Road spirit, embark on a new journey of Belt and Road cooperation, and usher in a better future of joint progress toward global modernization.