Starting a New Journey for High-Quality Development of the Belt and Road
The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held from April 25 to 27, 2019 in Beijing. This was the most important diplomatic event held by China this year, which also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the BRF to deliver a keynote speech, chaired the Leaders’ Roundtable, held a series of diplomatic events, and presented the outcomes of the forum to Chinese and foreign media outlets. A total of 40 heads of state, government leaders, and representatives of international organizations met together, and more than 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organizations took part in the event. During the forum, a high-level meeting, 12 sub-forums, and an entrepreneur conference were held. The success of this BRF has started a new journey of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, injected new vigor into China’s pursuit of open development, voiced our strong determination to uphold multilateralism, and marked another milestone for China and the world in building a global community with a shared future together.
In 2013, President Xi introduced a major proposal for international cooperation – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This proposal was based upon his overall assessment of global trends, as well as the objectives of creating a new pattern in China’s comprehensive opening up and building a global community with a shared future. The purpose of the BRI is to highlight connectivity, deepen pragmatic cooperation, build unity in responding to the various challenges that face humanity, and bring about mutual benefit and shared development. The Second BRF provided an important opportunity to take stock of the progress that has been made in joint development of the Belt and Road.
Over the past six years, total trade between China and BRI countries exceeded US$6 trillion, while China made more than US$90 billion worth of direct investment in these countries. A connectivity framework involving six corridors, six types of routes, multiple countries, and multiple ports has essentially taken shape. A large number of cooperation projects have taken off, and the decisions made at the First BRF in 2017 have been implemented smoothly. The success of international cooperation through the Belt and Road has created new platforms for international trade and investment, and unlocked new potential for world economic growth.
Over the past six years, the BRI has upheld the Silk Road spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning, and mutual benefit. It has advocated a global governance philosophy featuring mutual consultation, joint development, and benefit sharing, taken concrete steps toward the establishment of an open world economy, and outlined a new vision for building a fairer and more equitable global governance system. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out, the BRI aims to make globalization healthier.
Over the past six years, China has built 82 overseas cooperation zones with BRI countries, contributed to host countries by paying over US$2 billion in taxes and creating nearly 300,000 jobs, and brought more convenient living conditions, better business environments, and more diverse development opportunities to the people of various countries. Thanks to the BRI, some countries have built their first expressway or modern railway, some have developed their own automobile manufacturing industry for the first time, and some have resolved their long-standing electricity shortages. The fruits of Belt and Road cooperation have effectively improved the living standards of people in various countries, and contributed significantly to advancement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the World Bank, the BRI has accelerated global poverty reduction.
Our success over the past six years is ample proof that, although the BRI originated in China, its opportunities and benefits belong to the world. The initiative has thus become the most well received international public good and the largest platform for international cooperation.