Stronger Legal Cooperation for Sound and Steady Development of the Belt and Road Initiative
– Speech by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening of the Forum on the Belt and Road Legal Cooperation
Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, 2 July 2018
Mr. Chair of the Forum,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government, I warmly welcome all of you to Beijing for the Forum on the Belt and Road Legal Cooperation.
In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) based on a keen understanding of the broad trends of development in China and the world. It is a major initiative for international cooperation that aims to promote the common development and prosperity of different countries and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Over the past five years, guided by the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, the BRI has been committed to promoting common development. It has received support from around the globe and produced fruitful early harvests. So far, nearly 90 countries and international organizations have signed BRI cooperation agreements with China. Under the BRI, 75 economic cooperation zones have been set up in the participating countries, and steady progress has been made in industrial capacity cooperation, connectivity and building economic corridors. China’s trade with BRI participating countries has reached above RMB 30 trillion and investment in these countries over US$70 billion, creating more than 200,000 local jobs. More and more countries and their people are benefiting from this initiative. The BRI has become the largest platform for international cooperation and the most popular public good in the world. Last year, the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was successfully held in Beijing, which produced more than 270 deliverables and marked a new stage of BRI’s full implementation. In response to the call of a number of countries, China will host the second BRF next year. All parties are welcome to take an active part.
What are the reasons behind the BRI’s wide endorsement and better-than-expected achievements within a relatively short period of time?
First, Belt and Road cooperation follows the principle of equality and mutual benefit. The BRI is an international cooperation platform that sets a good example. It is a Chinese initiative, but all parties are equal participants, contributors and beneficiaries. On this new type of platform, countries cooperate as equals and pursue shared development through consultation and collaboration.
Second, Belt and Road cooperation aims for win-win outcome. Since day one, the BRI has been committed to the common development and prosperity of all participating parties. It works to make economic globalization more inclusive and beneficial for all, and meets countries’ aspiration for win-win cooperation. The BRI is not China’s solo performance, but a symphony played by all. It does not benefit just one party, everyone stands to gain.
Third, Belt and Road cooperation is open and inclusive. The BRI is totally transparent. It is not an exclusive club, but an open space for friends. Any party that subscribes to the Silk Road spirit is welcome to join and share its opportunities. We hope that all BRI projects are of high standard and high quality. We lay great emphasis on green development, environmental protection and debt sustainability. We are aware of the importance of heeding the realities of different host countries and accommodating their actual need.
Fourth, Belt and Road cooperation is advanced by synergizing development strategies. Over the past five years, the BRI has forged greater synergy with other development strategies at the national and regional levels, including the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia and other countries, the Bright Road initiative of Kazakhstan, the Development Road initiative of Mongolia, the Global Maritime Fulcrum vision of Indonesia, the Investment Plan for Europe and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Such different types of alignment at various levels have enabled complementarity of strengths, unlocked more potential and broader space for cooperation, and helped to address unbalanced development and fragmentation of international cooperation. The ultimate goal is to boost interconnected development and achieve shared prosperity.
Fifth, Belt and Road cooperation is based on rules and the rule of law. Our cooperation has always been conducted within the confines of international rules and law, observing both international law and the domestic laws of host countries. We are expediting the negotiation of agreements on trade and investment, finance and taxation, IPR, transport, environmental protection and other matters, with a view to establishing a rules-based legal network for BRI cooperation. We believe, rules and rule of law are essential for BRI to develop in the world. They are also the safety valve against uncertainties and challenges.