Report claims EU ambassadors have expressed concerns
China's cooperation with countries and regions along the routes of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative is based on complete equality, joint discussion and shared benefits, an official from China's top economic planner said on Wednesday.
In responding to certain overseas media reports saying the China-proposed B&R initiative is a form of new colonialism that leads to debt burdens and environmental pollution in related countries, Yan Pengcheng, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, said this view "is nonsense and does not conform to the reality."
"Some may hold different views over joint construction of the B&R initiative. But to our knowledge, countries and regions that have joined the initiative sincerely welcome it," Yan said at a regular press conference on Wednesday.
The comments were made after German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday that 27 of the 28 EU ambassadors to China had allegedly compiled a report that sharply criticizes the China-proposed B&R initiative and describes it as being "designed to hamper free trade and put Chinese companies at an advantage."
The EU's position is that it supports cooperation with China on the B&R initiative on the basis of China fulfilling its declared aim of making it an open platform that adheres to market rules, William Fingleton, the head of press and information for the Delegation of the European Union to China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Those rules include EU and global requirements and standards, and complement EU policies and projects, aiming to deliver benefits to all parties concerned and all the countries along the planned B&R routes, Fingleton noted.
The report allegedly compiled by the EU ambassadors to China and cited by Handelsblatt said the B&R plan "runs counter to the EU agenda for liberalizing trade and pushes the balance of power in favor of subsidized Chinese companies."
Fingleton said the delegation would not comment on the media report.
China has so far established 75 economic and trade cooperation zones, attracting nearly 3,500 companies.
With cumulative investment surpassing billion, the zones have created more than 100,000 jobs and a large amount of tax revenue for these countries and regions.
International organizations such as the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) and the UN Security Council have voiced their support for the B&R initiative, according to Yan.