Working Together to Deliver a Brighter Future for Belt and Road Cooperation
– Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Beijing, 26 April 2019
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies High-level Representatives,
Your Excellencies Heads of International Organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning! As a line of a classical Chinese poem goes, “Spring and autumn are lovely seasons in which friends get together to climb up mountains and write poems.” On this beautiful spring day, it gives me great pleasure to have you with us here at the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF). On behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, I extend a very warm welcome to you all!
Two years ago, it was here that we met for the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, where we drew a blueprint of cooperation to enhance policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity. Today, we are once again meeting here with you, friends from across the world. I look forward to scaling new heights with you and enhancing our partnership. Together, we will create an even brighter future for Belt and Road cooperation.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to enhance connectivity and practical cooperation. It is about jointly meeting various challenges and risks confronting mankind and delivering win-win outcomes and common development. Thanks to the joint efforts of all of us involved in this initiative, a general connectivity framework consisting of six corridors, six connectivity routes and multiple countries and ports has been put in place. A large number of cooperation projects have been launched, and the decisions of the first BRF have been smoothly implemented. More than 150 countries and international organizations have signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation with China. The complementarity between the BRI and the development plans or cooperation initiatives of international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and between the BRI and the development strategies of the participating countries has been enhanced. From the Eurasian continent to Africa, the Americas and Oceania, Belt and Road cooperation has opened up new space for global economic growth, produced new platforms for international trade and investment and offered new ways for improving global economic governance. Indeed, this initiative has helped improve people’s lives in countries involved and created more opportunities for common prosperity. What we have achieved amply demonstrates that Belt and Road cooperation has both generated new opportunities for the development of all participating countries and opened up new horizon for China’s development and opening-up.
An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that “plants with strong roots grow well, and efforts with the right focus will ensure success.” The Belt and Road cooperation embraces the historical trend of economic globalization, responds to the call for improving the global governance system and meets people’s longing for a better life. Going ahead, we should focus on priorities and project execution, move forward with results-oriented implementation, just like an architect refining the blueprint, and jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
– We need to be guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We need to act in the spirit of multilateralism, pursue cooperation through consultation and keep all participants motivated. We may, by engaging in bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation, fully tap into the strengths of all participants. Just as a Chinese proverb says, “A tower is built when soil on earth accumulates, and a river is formed when streams come together.”
– We need to pursue open, green and clean cooperation. The Belt and Road is not an exclusive club; it aims to promote green development. We may launch green infrastructure projects, make green investment and provide green financing to protect the Earth which we all call home. In pursuing Belt and Road cooperation, everything should be done in a transparent way, and we should have zero tolerance for corruption. The Beijing Initiative for Clean Silk Road has been launched, which represents our strong commitment to transparency and clean governance in pursuing Belt and Road cooperation.
– We need to pursue high-standard cooperation to improve people’s lives and promote sustainable development. We will adopt widely accepted rules and standards and encourage participating companies to follow general international rules and standards in project development, operation, procurement and tendering and bidding. The laws and regulations of participating countries should also be respected. We need to take a people-centered approach, give priority to poverty alleviation and job creation to see that the joint pursuit of Belt and Road cooperation will deliver true benefits to the people of participating countries and contribute to their social and economic development. We also need to ensure the commercial and fiscal sustainability of all projects so that they will achieve the intended goals as planned.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Connectivity is vital to advancing Belt and Road cooperation. We need to promote a global partnership of connectivity to achieve common development and prosperity. I am confident that as we work closely together, we will transcend geographical distance and embark on a path of win-win cooperation.
Infrastructure is the bedrock of connectivity, while the lack of infrastructure has held up the development of many countries. High-quality, sustainable, resilient, affordable, inclusive and accessible infrastructure projects can help countries fully leverage their resource endowment, better integrate into the global supply, industrial and value chains, and realize inter-connected development. To this end, China will continue to work with other parties to build a connectivity network centering on economic corridors such as the New Eurasian Land Bridge, supplemented by major transportation routes like the China-Europe Railway Express and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and information expressway, and reinforced by major railway, port and pipeline projects. We will continue to make good use of the Belt and Road Special Lending Scheme, the Silk Road Fund, and various special investment funds, develop Silk Road theme bonds, and support the Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance in its operation. We welcome the participation of multilateral and national financial institutions in BRI investment and financing and encourage third-market cooperation. With the involvement of multiple stakeholders, we can surely deliver benefits to all.
The flow of goods, capital, technology and people will power economic growth and create broad space for it. As a Chinese saying goes, “The ceaseless inflow of rivers makes the ocean deep.” However, were such inflow to be cut, the ocean, however big, would eventually dry up. We need to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, say no to protectionism, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. To this end, we will enter into negotiation with more countries to conclude high-standard free trade agreements, and strengthen cooperation in customs, taxation and audit oversight by setting up the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism and accelerating international collaboration on the mutual recognition of Authorized Economic Operators. We have also formulated the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road and published the Debt Sustainability Framework for Participating Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative to provide guidance for BRI financing cooperation. In addition, the Second China International Import Expo will be held this year to build an even bigger platform for other parties to access the Chinese market.
Innovation boosts productivity; it makes companies competitive and countries strong. We need to keep up with the trend of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, jointly seize opportunities created by digital, networked and smart development, explore new technologies and new forms and models of business, foster new growth drivers and explore new development pathways, and build the digital Silk Road and the Silk Road of innovation. China will continue to carry out the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan, and will work with our partners to pursue four major initiatives, namely the Science and Technology People-to-People Exchange Initiative, the Joint Laboratory Initiative, the Science Park Cooperation Initiative, and the Technology Transfer Initiative. We will actively implement the Belt and Road Initiative Talents Exchange Program, and will, in the coming five years, offer 5,000 opportunities for exchange, training and cooperative research for talents from China and other BRI participating countries. We will also support companies of various countries in jointly advancing ICT infrastructure building to upgrade cyber connectivity.
Imbalance in development is the greatest imbalance confronting today’s world. In the joint pursuit of the BRI, we must always take a development-oriented approach and see that the vision of sustainable development underpins project selection, implementation and management. We need to strengthen international development cooperation so as to create more opportunities for developing countries, help them eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In this connection, China and its partners have set up the Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance and the BRI International Green Development Coalition, formulated the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development, and launched the Declaration on Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals for Children through Shared Development. We have set up the BRI Environmental Big Data Platform. We will continue to implement the Green Silk Road Envoys Program and work with relevant countries to jointly implement the Belt and Road South-South Cooperation Initiative on Climate Change. We will also deepen cooperation in agriculture, health, disaster mitigation and water resources; and we will enhance development cooperation with the United Nations to narrow the gap in development.
We need to build bridges for exchanges and mutual learning among different cultures, deepen cooperation in education, science, culture, sports, tourism, health and archaeology, strengthen exchanges between parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organizations and exchanges between women, young people and people with disabilities in order to facilitate multi-faceted people-to-people exchanges. To this end, we will, in the coming five years, invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations from Belt and Road participating countries to visit China. We will encourage and support extensive cooperation on livelihood projects among social organizations of participating countries, conduct a number of environmental protection and anti-corruption training courses and deepen human resources development cooperation in various areas. We will continue to run the Chinese government scholarship Silk Road Program, host the International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Roads and the “Chinese Bridge” summer camps. We will also put in place new mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Studies Network and the Belt and Road News Alliance to draw inspiration and pool our strength for greater synergy.