Building a Better Future Through Broad Consultation and Win-Win Cooperation – Speech by Consul General Zhao Jian at the 15th Annual Silk Road Conference hosted by the Central Asia Productivity Research Center
(September 17, 2021)
Dear Professor Lebinski,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning! I am really delighted to join you at the 15th Annual Silk Road Conference via video link. I would like to thank the Central Asian Productivity Research Center for the thoughtful arrangements of the conference. My special thanks go to Prof. Lebinski for all he did to make this event possible.
Speaking of the Silk Road, the theme of today’s conference, I would first like to recall the ancient Silk Road, a network of trade routes originating in China, connecting Asia, Europe and Africa. As ancient Chinese poems had described, many emissaries and traders set out, and ships set out to sea, causing a boom in travel and trade on land and across the seas, and giving a strong impetus. regional development and exchanges and cooperation between different nations and civilizations along the roads.
Today’s world is undergoing great development and profound transformations and changes, which call for new engines of growth for the world economy, more inclusive and balanced development and ways to bridge the yawning gap between the rich and the poor people.
In line with the prevailing trend of economic globalization and in response to the call of the times to reform the global governance system and the strong aspiration of the peoples of the world for a better life, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the construction of the economic belt of the Silk Road. and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
It is an open and inclusive economic cooperation initiative that follows the principle of broad consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It is based on and focused on economic cooperation, underpinned by people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations, and aims to increase connectivity between countries along the routes through deep practical and win-win cooperation to achieve common development.
At the center of the Belt and Road cooperation are “five connectivities”.
First, the connectivity of policies. Any cooperation project within the framework of the BRI will be carried out on the basis of consultation on an equal footing, without any political conditions. It will not be imposed from a “position of strength”. Rather, China seeks to align the initiative with the development strategies and regional and international development programs of other countries so that the parties concerned can leverage each other’s strengths to achieve complementarity. In fact, the BRI has been effectively aligned with policy initiatives such as Turkey’s Intermediate Corridor Initiative, Kazakhstan’s Bright Road Initiative, Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, and Mongolia’s Development Road Initiative. to produce greater synergy and a multiplier effect.
Second, infrastructure connectivity. China is working with affected countries to speed up the implementation of large infrastructure projects such as railways, roads and ports, with many more connectivity projects in the pipeline. Our aim is to create better conditions and more opportunities for trade and investment cooperation and economic development of all countries.
Third, business connectivity. China is working with other BIS participating countries to promote trade and investment facilitation, improve the business environment and conclude FTAs to firmly support the multilateral trade regime and building an open world economy.
Fourth, financial connectivity. China has engaged in various forms of financial cooperation with BIS partner countries and organizations, and is willing and ready to provide them with financial support for economic development to the best of its ability. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, for example, have already made good contributions to economic growth in the countries concerned.
Fifth, person-to-person connectivity. Guided by the spirit of the Silk Road, China and other BRI participating countries have carried out extensive cooperation in the fields of science, education, culture, health and trade interpersonal with a firm commitment to strengthen exchanges, dialogue and mutual learning between different civilizations.
Having received a positive response and broad support from the international community, the BIS is moving from a model to a reality and has become the broadest and largest platform for international cooperation in the world, generating huge opportunities and dividends for countries around the world. Cumulative trade between China and its BIS partners has exceeded US $ 9.2 trillion, and direct investment by Chinese companies in countries along the roads has exceeded US $ 130 billion. A World Bank report estimated that once fully implemented, the BRI could help lift nearly 40 million people in affected countries out of poverty.
Despite the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 that has ravaged the world since last year, the Belt and Road cooperation has not stopped. Instead, he advanced against the headwind, demonstrating strong resilience and vitality.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, China and its BRI partners have worked together to establish a cooperative international firewall against the virus. China held more than 100 meetings with affected countries to share pandemic response experience, provided more than 280 billion masks, 3.4 billion protective suits and 4 billion test kits to the world , and has helped many countries build test labs. China has also conducted extensive vaccine cooperation with many countries, and by mid-June it had donated and exported over 400 million doses of finished and bulk vaccines to more than 90 countries, including China. Most were BRI partners.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, trade and investment cooperation under the BRI has achieved remarkable achievements, making the Belt and Road a promising recovery model to restore economic and social activity. and a growth model to unlock development potential. We have seen the China-Europe freight trains play a more important role as a commercial artery, the construction of the new international land-sea trade corridor accelerate and cross-border e-commerce boost the flow of supplies in anti-pandemic material and daily necessities. . Platforms such as China International Import Expo (CIIE) and China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) are also playing an increasingly important role in facilitating trade connectivity and technology cooperation between countries.
In 2020, Chinese investors made non-financial direct investment of US $ 18.61 billion in 58 Belt and Road countries, despite a 35% year-on-year decline in foreign direct investment around the world. , and their cumulative investments in overseas economic and trade cooperation zones have reached US $ 44.85 billion, creating 373,000 local jobs.
In the future, China will continue to work with all other parties to pursue high-quality “Belt and Road” cooperation in accordance with the principle of comprehensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and the philosophy of a open, green and clean development to make it high. standard, sustainable and beneficial to the population.
The Belt and Road is a road to prosperity. China and other participating countries will continue to promote comprehensive infrastructure connectivity and improve the free flow of goods, capital, technology and personnel to deliver more tangible benefits to people and empower more people. developing countries to participate and benefit from the Belt and Road. Cooperation.
The Belt and Road is a road for green development. We advocate for a green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable way of life and work, and call for increased cooperation in green infrastructure, green energy and green finance and implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to achieve harmonious development. the coexistence between man and nature and the sustainable development of human society.
The Belt and Road is a road to health. We will continue to work with our BRI partners to help and support underdeveloped countries and regions in the fight and prevention of epidemics, promote exchanges and cooperation in public health R&D, intensify cooperation in research of the origin of viruses and R&D and vaccine production, and further improve the global audience. health governance, to build a strong global health-for-all community.
The Belt and Road is a road for open, inclusive and win-win cooperation. Some say the BRI is a geostrategic tool of China. It is a biased misunderstanding of what we are doing. In building the Belt and Road, China is acting in the spirit of multilateralism, pursuing cooperation through consultation and striving to take full advantage of the strengths and potential of all parties concerned to foster greater synergy. The BRI, although offered by China, belongs to the whole world. It is open to all countries, and its achievements will be shared by all.
China welcomes and supports US participation in Belt and Road cooperation. Our two countries are very complementary in terms of economic structures and comparative strengths. If we can cooperate on the Belt and Road, it will serve not only the interests of our two countries, but also the interests of all participants in the initiative. The BRI would provide vast opportunities for US businesses, open a new horizon for Sino-US cooperation, and put us in a better position to help partner countries strengthen infrastructure construction, advance the industrialization process, and improve the people’s standard of living.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China has embarked on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects. We are actively building a new development paradigm, the national cycle being the pillar and the national and international cycles reinforcing each other. This will give a stronger impetus and more space to Belt and Road cooperation. China will continue to work with relevant countries to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and help them meet their pandemic response and economic recovery needs to jointly build a community of shared destiny for humanity and create a better future for all of us.