Remarks by Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at High-level Symposium on Belt and Road Initiative and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
June 13, 2018
Your Excellency President Lajcak,
It gives me great pleasure to host this high-level symposium with UNDP, DESA and the WHO Office at the UN. A warm welcome to you all.
In the fall of 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the Initiative of Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road. Guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to synergize development strategies of various countries, strengthen international cooperation for shared prosperity in Asia, Europe and beyond, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The Belt and Road Initiative has five priorities: First, policy connectivity. The goal is to build an inter-governmental, multi-tiered mechanism of macro policy communication to better synergize development strategies of the countries. Second, infrastructure connectivity. It is about building a network of infrastructure to upgrade transportation, energy and communication infrastructure. Third, trade connectivity. We want to promote trade liberalization and facilitation to realize coordinated industrial development. Fourth, financial connectivity. Efforts will be made to build a framework of diversified means of investment and financing. Fifth, people-to-people connectivity. More will be done to bring together people around the world, facilitate cultural, educational, academic and tourism cooperation, and make our societies more inclusive.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development 2015 set out 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets, charting the course for international development cooperation. The purpose of the Agenda is to realize common development and prosperity for all through a stronger global partnership.
The BRI and the 2030 Agenda resonate with and reinforce each other. Together, they promote the cause of international cooperation for development. The BRI and the 2030 Agenda have a shared philosophy. Anchored in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, both are committed to multilateralism and international peace and development. The BRI follows an approach of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, and advocates openness and inclusiveness. The 2030 Agenda underscores international cooperation for development, and the BRI calls for development cooperation from regional to global levels. They are both aimed at economic development and better lives for the people. The BRI is aligned with the 2030 Agenda which emphasizes voluntarism and respect for countries’ sovereignty and right of development. Being supportive of countries’ own choices of development paths in accordance with their national conditions, both the BRI and 2030 Agenda reflect the desire for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.
The BRI is China’s initiative, but the opportunities and fruits that it presents belong to the whole world. Over the past five years, the Initiative has received positive response from the international community. More than 100 countries and international organizations have shown support. More than 80 countries and international organizations have signed over 100 cooperation documents with China. A large number of cooperation projects have been implemented. Trade volume between China and the countries involved has exceeded four trillion US dollars, and total investment exceeded 60 billion US dollars. China has opened direct flights with 43 countries along the routes. The cargo trains between China and Europe have completed 7,500 trips. seventy-five economic and trade cooperation zones have been set up, creating more than 200,000 jobs for local people.
Africa is an important partner in the development of the Belt and Road. The Initiative is to meet the needs of Africa and pursue mutual benefits without imposing political conditions. The Initiative will give help to Africa based on respect, and advance friendship and benefits with priority given to friendship. The BRI involves more than 20 African countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa. Cooperation agreement has been reached on 39 major projects, covering 17 areas such as railway, highway, port and power generation. With strong support from the Chinese government and companies, Ethiopia’s first national industrial park Hawassa Industrial Park entered into operation in 2017 and created 60,000 jobs and an annual revenue of one billion US dollars for Ethiopia. New infrastructure have been built in Africa, including industrial zones, railways, motorways, airports and power plants, giving a strong boost to the development of the African continent.
Within the BRI framework, the governments of China and Cambodia have jointly constructed Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone. More than 100 companies from the United States, Japan, Italy and other countries and regions have established presence there. The Special Economy Zone has created over 20,000 jobs and its total output contributed more than 50% to the economy of Sihanoukville Province.
The 1,740-megawatt Nestor Kirchner-Jorge Cepernic hydropower complex jointly built by China and Argentina, the furthest southward in the world, has increased Argentina’s total installed capacity by 6.5%. Upon completion, the project will have an annual generation capacity of 4.95 billion kwhs and create 20,000 jobs.
Belo Monte Dam is the second largest hydro-power project in Brazil, with installed capacity of 11,000 megawatt and transmission capacity of 4,000 megawatts. With the introduction of China’s ultra-high voltage power transmission technology, clean energy is being transmitted in large volume with low loss, all the way from the north to the southeast of Brazil. This environment-friendly project has not only boosted the development of the electricity sector and the raw material industry, but also provided green energy for economic and social development in Brazil.
On Fiji’s second largest island Vanua Levu, Navouwalu Road and Buca Bay Road built by China have made travel much easier for the people and contributed to local economic development. China has also organized workshops on international financial cooperation within the BRI framework, providing the most-needed capacity building assistance for Pacific island countries.
China is the world’s biggest developing country, and also the second largest economy and second largest importer and consumer. While Chinese companies are reaching out to the world, China presents major opportunities to businesses around the world as a huge consumer market. In the coming five years, China will import more than 10 trillion US dollars of goods and services. That will be a historic opportunity for foreign businesses to access to the Chinese market.
The BRI is a public good that follows international rules. It is a platform for cooperation that operates in line with the law of the market. China has proposed the BRI for stronger economic cooperation. It is not about geopolitical rivalry. Rather than a zero-sum game, China pursues extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits. In other words, all countries, big or small, join the discussion on an equal footing; all countries use their own strengths to contribute to the development of the Belt and Road; and the fruits of the Initiative are shared by all countries and their people. The BRI is an open, transparent and inclusive platform for international cooperation. All those who recognize the Silk Road spirit are welcomed to join.
In May last year, China held the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. The Forum was attended by 29 heads of state and government, senior representatives of more than 140 countries, and leading officials from more than 80 international organizations. The joint communique of the leaders’ roundtable meeting contains over 270 deliverables, enhancing the international consensus on the joint development of the Belt and Road. China is ready to work with all parties, under the principle of extensive consultation, Joint development and shared benefits, to implement the outcomes of the forum and deliver more benefits to people across the world.