Adhering to the Path of Solidarity, Cooperation and Win-win Results
– Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, at the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation
Beijing, 18 June 2020
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization,
Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme,
Welcome to the High-Level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation.
COVID-19, with its wide-ranging impacts, is posing a challenge to mankind rarely seen before. To defeat the virus and tide over this crisis, the world must come together in solidarity, partnership and cooperation. For this reason, China initiated this High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation. We hope that at such a trying time, a message of unity and cooperation from Belt and Road partners will bolster our confidence in promoting Belt and Road cooperation and in defeating the virus.
Since President Xi proposed this initiative in 2013, thanks to the active participation and strong support of all parties, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has kept growing in both depth and substance. It has evolved into the largest platform for international cooperation playing an ever more important role in promoting development and prosperity around the world. Marked by last year’s successful Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, it has embarked on a new phase of high-quality cooperation. Over the past year and more, despite headwinds like COVID-19 and a sluggish global economy, Belt and Road cooperation has pressed ahead against all odds, making new, encouraging progress.
First, our family of partners has continued to expand. Over the past year, 29 new government-to-government cooperation documents were signed, bringing the total number of such documents to 200.
Second, trade and economic exchanges have continued to expand. In 2019, trade in goods between China and BRI partners topped US$1.3 trillion, up by 6 percent year on year. Chinese investment in Belt and Road countries increased by US$15 billion. In the first quarter of this year, trade between China and BRI partners rose by 3.2 percent, and direct investment by China up by 11.7 percent on a yearly basis.
Third, connectivity-building has continued to make headway.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is moving forward steadily.
The Chinese and Russian sections of two new bridges, the Heihe highway bridge and Tongjiang railway bridge, have been joined.
The E763 highway in Serbia and phase I of the Nairobi-Malaba railway entered into operation.
The construction of the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway is in full swing.
A large number of new connectivity projects have been successfully launched.
Even with the impact of COVID-19, the Man Mai No. 1 Tunnel of the China-Laos railway was holed through.
The Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway has seen important progress.
Projects from the China-Bangladesh Padma Bridge to the dual-fuel power plant in Cambodia are well underway.
All these have served to bolster the economic growth and social stability of countries concerned.
In the face of COVID-19, BRI partners have extended a helping hand to each other. Many of your countries lent valuable support to China. China, on its part, provided assistance to 122 BRI partners to support their response to the virus. China sent medical teams to 25 countries and shared its experience in containment, diagnostics and therapeutics with all countries without reservation. Between January and May, the China-Europe Railway Express saw a 28 percent increase in freight train services, and 32 percent in freight volume. To date, it has transported 12,524 tons of medical supplies, serving as a key “cargo lifeline” and “bond of solidarity”.
These facts have shown that, far from holding back Belt and Road cooperation, COVID-19 has only highlighted its strong resilience and vitality. Coming through this testing time, BRI cooperation will enjoy a stronger foundation, greater driving forces and brighter prospects.
COVID-19 is changing the world in profound ways. As President Xi pointed out in his message, humanity is in fact a community with a shared future. Be it in taming the virus or in achieving economic recovery, we cannot succeed without solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism. In this process, we, as BRI partners, have the responsibility and indeed the obligation to set an example.
First, let us step up public health cooperation to make greater contributions to the global fight against COVID-19. As part of the efforts to follow through on the health cooperation commitment set out in the Joint Communiqué of last year’s Belt and Road Forum, we need to share experience in COVID-19 response, and make concerted efforts for the assistance and provision of containment supplies and the research and production of therapeutics and vaccines. All this will help push forward the development of a “Silk Road of health”. We should continue to support WHO in playing a leading role in coordinating the global response to COVID-19, explore the establishment of regional response liaison mechanisms for public health emergencies, and convene when appropriate a high-level meeting on global public health security. We also need to take good care of foreign nationals like our own, and provide timely medical services to and protect the safety of those working for the Belt and Road and other cooperation projects.
Second, let us strengthen connectivity to provide a solid underpinning for the economic recovery of our countries. We need to accelerate the building of a global partnership on connectivity and keep industrial and supply chains secure, open and stable. We need to step up policy coordination and maintain the right balance between proper COVID-19 containment and sound socio-economic development. We need to get key Belt and Road infrastructure projects restarted as early as possible, and work for greater progress in the China-Europe Railway Express, the Maritime Silk Road, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, Silk Road in the Air and other international transportation links. Major Belt and Road projects should be vigorously taken forward such as economic corridors and economic and trade cooperation zones, and investment should be increased in critical infrastructure projects. These efforts will help countries preserve jobs and protect people’s well-being, and contribute to the economic stability and growth of Belt and Road partners and the wider world.
Third, let us carry out cooperation in innovation to inject fresh impetus into sustainable global growth. Innovation spurs productivity. We need to harness new industries and business models engendered in the course of COVID-19 response, strengthen cooperation in 5G, big data, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, and push forward the building of the digital Silk Road. We also need to work with UN development agencies to advance global sustainable development and build a “green Silk Road”. This way, our economies will not just recover, but realize transformation and upgrading, and our countries will enjoy high-quality development.
Fourth, let us uphold multilateralism, and advocate openness and inclusiveness. The essence of Belt and Road cooperation is the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits and the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and transparency. It also represents the defining trend of our times. Belt and Road cooperation can and should become a prime example of safeguarding globalization and free trade and advancing reform to update global governance. We must firmly reject unilateralism and protectionism, and stay committed to an open world economy. We must defend the multilateral trading system, and enhance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, in an effort to foster a more open, inclusive and balanced economic globalization that benefits all. We need to advance trilateral and multilateral cooperation to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and other bilateral and multilateral cooperation programs for win-win results.
To beat the virus and energize economic recovery is a pressing task facing all our countries. With this in mind, China will strengthen communication and coordination with Belt and Road partners on a priority basis and provide support in the following five key areas.
First, under the US$2 billion international assistance program announced by President Xi Jinping, we will support the affected Belt and Road partners, developing countries in particular, in fighting COVID-19 and resuming economic and social development.
Second, in the development and application of vaccines, we will give positive consideration to the needs of Belt and Road partners, and support technical exchanges and cooperation through such platforms as the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region.
Third, we are ready to start technical communication and coordination with Belt and Road partners as soon as possible to discuss the establishment of fast-track lanes for cross-border flows of people and goods.
Fourth, we are ready to hold a transportation ministers’ video conference with Belt and Road partners, as part of our efforts to maintain the smooth functioning and security of international industrial and supply chains and logistics systems.
Fifth, we stand ready to step up cooperation with Belt and Road partners in innovation, join hands to promote Silk Road e-commerce, and advance cooperation in smart cities and green development.
Just as the rainbow comes after the rain, by adhering to the people-centered approach, working together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and pursuing win-win cooperation, we will make the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth. Together, we will bring about a brighter future for the world.