Xi's vision offers path to prosperity

Updated 2017-05-08 09:01:23 China Daily

Belt and Road has support of 100-plus countries, international organizations

When a train approached a freight railway station in Warsaw, Poland, on June 20, President Xi Jinping, who was making a state visit to the country, happily bit into a red apple, as did his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

The two leaders were attending a ceremony to mark the arrival of the first China-Europe Block Train, carrying Chinese-made products, including electronic components, to Warsaw. When the train returned to China, it was laden with Polish commodities, including produce, such as apples.

Boosting the interconnection of Asia and the rest of the world-the purpose of the China-Europe Block Train-is one of the goals of the China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, collectively known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative, put forward by Xi in 2013, has become one of the most important public goods China offers the world and a key vehicle for Beijing to help improve global governance.

China has invested more than billion in the programs related to the initiative and has won the support of over 100 countries and international organizations-more than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China.

At least 28 heads of state and government will attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14 and 15 in Beijing. The forum will be the highest-profile international meeting on the Belt and Road since the initiative was put forward.

Xi will attend the opening ceremony and host a roundtable leaders summit. The meeting is expected to translate the ambitious blueprint into solid progress and turn a new page on the initiative.

According to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the results of the forum will range from consensus-building to specific measures on implementation. China expects to sign agreements with about 20 countries and 20 international organizations at the event.

Launched by China, shared by the world

During his visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013, Xi proposed building the Silk Road Economic Belt to boost regional cooperation. A month later, in a speech to the Indonesian parliament, he put forward a proposal to jointly establish the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

With its guiding principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the initiative has been defined by Xi as "a chorus of all countries along the routes, not only for China itself".

During his overseas trips in the past years, Xi repeatedly called on the countries-including in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America-to cooperate with China on the initiative.

"Instead of seeking any sphere of influence, China calls on all countries to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road," he said in a speech in January 2016 at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt.

The past three years have witnessed the launch, expansion, faster-than-expected progress and fruitful outcomes of the Belt and Road Initiative.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, Chinese businesses have invested more than billion in countries along the Belt and Road and have helped to build 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in 20 of those countries, generating nearly .1 billion in tax revenue and 180,000 local jobs.

"Through the Belt and Road Initiative, I want to share China's development opportunities with the countries along the routes and achieve joint prosperity," Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the business leader's forum of the G20 in September.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been widely recognized in the international community, showing that it is in accord with the will of the people, Xi said while visiting a port in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region last month.

Wang Yiwei, a professor at Renmin University of China's School of International Relations, said that since the launch of the initiative, China has been sharing its expertise in fields such as infrastructure construction and clean energy with countries and regions along the routes.

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