Building the Belt and
Road for win-win development
Editor's note: The Belt and Road Forum for International
Cooperation (BRF) will be held in Beijing from May 14 to 15. People from both
home and abroad have expressed keen interest in the BRF since President Xi
Jinping announced it at the Davos Forum in January. On the occasion of the 100
day countdown, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who is in charge of the preparatory
work, gave a comprehensive over view in an interview with the People's Daily
and China Daily.
China will host the BRF in May this year. What is your vision for
the Forum? What are the objectives that you hope to achieve at the Forum?
President Xi Jinping announced at the Annual Meeting of the
World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan 17 that in May this year, China will host
the BRF in Beijing, which aims to discuss ways to boost cooperation, build
cooperation platforms and share cooperation outcomes. The Forum will also
explore ways to address problems facing global and regional economy, create
fresh energy for pursuing interconnected development and make the Belt and Road
Initiative deliver greater benefits to the people of all countries. These
messages from President Xi have outlined our vision and considerations for the
Forum and set the direction for our preparatory work.
In the fall of
2013, President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative to enhance
complementarity and synergy of development strategies and promote common
progress of participating countries through closer international cooperation.
Over the past three years and more, the Initiative has made good progress in
various cooperation and won warm response and active participation. Now it is
at a critical juncture of making all-round progress. The BRF will be a good
occasion for us to review past progress and plan ahead.
The BRF will be
the highest-level forum under the Initiative since its launching over three
years ago, and an important diplomatic event China will host this year. It has
great significance for international and regional cooperation. Under the
leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping
as the core, we hope to achieve the following objectives at the BRF: first,
thoroughly review the progress of the Initiative, showcase important early
harvest outcomes, further build consensus for cooperation and sustain the
momentum of cooperation; second, discuss major cooperation measures going
forward, facilitate greater synergy of development strategies, deepen
partnership and work for interconnected development; third, while promoting
China's economic and social development and structural adjustment, work to
advance international cooperation for win-win outcomes. As one Chinese saying
goes, a tree needs strong roots to grow tall and a river needs an inexhaustible
water source to flow far. By hosting the BRF, we look forward to working with
others to take the Belt and Road forward, lay a more solid foundation and
foster greater connectivity for world economic growth and deeper regional
cooperation so as to bring more benefits to various countries and their people.
The Belt and Road Initiative was put forth more than three years
ago. What are its achievements since then? How has it been received
internationally? Has it made any difference to people's lives in other
The Belt and
Road Initiative was proposed by China. Yet it's not going to be China's solo
show. A better analogy would be that of a symphony performed by an orchestra
composed of all participating countries. This Initiative is meant to be a major
international public goods benefiting all countries. It is not an empty slogan,
but rather a series of visible and concrete actions centering around the
crucial link of connectivity and infrastructure development as a key part of
economic cooperation, which is well-suited to the needs of countries and
regions along the route.
We are committed
to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared
benefits. We stress practical cooperation, win-win outcomes and step-by-step
progress. We are looking to align China's development with that of other
countries and encourage greater synergy between their respective development
strategies and cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. This will be
conducive to expanded regional investment and domestic demand, job creation and
poverty reduction and to a higher level of development of the entire region.
The past three
years have witnessed the launching, expansion, faster-than-expected progress
and fruitful outcomes of the Belt and Road Initiative. More than 100 countries
and international organizations have joined this Initiative, among which more
than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China, reaching a broad
international consensus on Belt and Road Initiative. The UN General Assembly,
the UN Security Council, UNESCAP, APEC, ASEM, the GMS have all incorporated or reflected
Belt and Road cooperation in their relevant resolutions and documents.
A number of
important early harvests have been made. Economic corridor development is
making steady progress. An interconnected infrastructure network is taking
shape. Trade and investment has increased significantly. Key project
cooperation is underway. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and
Silk Road Fund have provided firm support to financial cooperation. China
Railway Express trains to Europe have been operating on the vast Eurasian
continent, loaded with goods and matching the market needs of countries along
the route. The trains have also set up a bridge of communication and friendship
between peoples along the route, and become a welcome sight along the Belt and
development of the Belt and Road Initiative is an important channel to step up
international cooperation, a cause embraced and advanced by all parties. It is
generating new development opportunities to make people's lives better. It is
fair to say that this Chinese initiative is delivering benefits to the whole
In a world faced with sluggish economic, investment and trade
growth, backlash against globalization and rising uncertainties, how do you
envision the BRF's contribution to the global economy and international
cooperation? What are the theme and agenda for the Forum?
It is true that
the global economy is yet to emerge from the profound impact of the
international financial crisis. The recovery is fragile and slow, and the
foundation for growth still shaky. There are rising protectionism, louder
voices against globalization and the mounting tensions between openness, change
and economic integration on the one hand and isolationism, outdated thinking
and fragmented trade arrangements on the other. That being said, bilateral,
multilateral, regional and global cooperation on infrastructure, connectivity
and sustainable development is gaining momentum. In countries around the world,
priority is given to the real economy, the manufacturing sector,
industrialization and economic diversification. It is important to grasp new
development opportunities and find effective means to overcome the difficulties
and solve the problems.
us a useful source of wisdom for addressing today's challenges. The land and
maritime Silk Road over 2,000 years ago enabled people from various countries
to defy national borders and conduct trade and friendly exchanges on camelback
or merchant vessels. Those interactions left a glorious chapter in human
history. History has proven that closed and exclusive arrangements have no
future, while welcoming cooperation with open doors and ensuring benefits for
all is the only way forward. This still rings true today. As President Xi
Jinping said earlier at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, "Any
attempt to ... channel the waters in the ocean back into isolated lakes and
creeks is simply not possible. Indeed, it runs counter to the historical
trend." The Belt and Road Initiative, rooted in the Silk Road spirit of
peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual
benefit, follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution
and shared benefits. Openness, inclusiveness and mutual benefit are the
defining features of the Initiative and the very source of its strong appeal.
We hope the BRF will help drive away the clouds of the economic doldrums and
channel more positivity to global economic growth.
To better build
consensus and advance cooperation, China has set "Belt and Road:
Cooperation for Common Prosperity" as the Forum's theme. The agenda will
focus on connectivity of policy, transportation, trade, finance and people.
Discussions will be conducted on key topics such as infrastructure connectivity,
economic cooperation and trade, industrial investment, energy and resources,
financial support, people-to-people exchanges, ecological and environmental
protection and marine cooperation. The Leaders Roundtable, the highlight of the
Forum, will focus on two topics: Policy Synergy for Closer Partnership and
Connectivity Cooperation for Interconnected Development.
In our view, the
theme and agenda are highly relevant, considering the circumstances and
challenges our world faces. Underscoring the importance of international
cooperation, connectivity and synergy, the theme and agenda largely overlap
with the world's major agenda. I also wish to add that many national and
regional plans and global agendas have emerged in recent years, including such
regional initiatives as the Eurasian Economic Union, the Master Plan on ASEAN
Connectivity, the Investment Plan for Europe, the Programme for Infrastructure
Development in Africa and the APEC Connectivity Blueprint as well as global
agreements like the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development. The international community needs to seize this
opportunity and form synergy between those initiatives to deliver cooperative
and shared benefits.
We have learnt that some foreign leaders will attend the BRF and
there is great international interest in this event. How are the preparations
going and which countries will participate in the Forum? What will be the
outcomes of the BRF and what are your expectations?
We attach great
importance to the preparations for the BRF. We have set up a committee to look
after and coordinate the preparation. Thanks to the concerted efforts of
responsible departments and the local government, the preparation is well
underway. Many foreign leaders have expressed their interest in attending the
event. Political preparation is making steady progress. Arrangements about key
events, venues, logistics and security are being substantiated. For the coming
weeks and months, we will keep the international community updated about its
preparation for the Forum whenever necessary, in a spirit of openness and
about 20 countries have confirmed their participation, representing Asia,
Europe, Africa and Latin America at the Forum. This testifies to the great
attention and support the Forum and the Belt and Road Initiative have received
from the international community. We will also invite ministerial delegations
from some countries, representatives of international organizations, former
foreign heads of state and government, business leaders, experts and scholars
to join the discussions on how to promote cooperation.
The success of
the Forum very much lies in its outcomes, and we are working vigorously for
that to happen. We hope that the Forum will deliver important outcomes in three
First, expanding international consensus on cooperation. The Forum is expected
to encourage all parties to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN
Charter, pursue peace and cooperation in a spirit of openness, inclusiveness
and mutual learning, and seek win-win and interconnected development. Economic
growth, job creation, poverty reduction, delivering a better life to the people
and environmental protection shall be underlined as the priorities of
international cooperation. The Forum will also encourage the formation of
synergy among national, regional and global development agenda, with a view to
moving the world toward a community of shared future for mankind featuring
common development and prosperity.
enhancing practical cooperation in key areas. The Forum is expected to cement
the good momentum of cooperation in all fields under the Belt and Road
Initiative, paying particular attention to those key areas and directions with
far-reaching and long-term implications. The Forum will enhance cooperation in
infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment, financial support and
people-to-people exchanges, facilitate a number of major projects and
cooperation agreements, and come up with some key mid- to long-term measures.
out plans for long-term cooperation. In jointly building the Belt and Road, we
will explore, together with the related countries, long-term cooperation
mechanisms through equal-footed consultations that take the interests of all
parties into balanced consideration. The Forum will help to enhance
communication and coordination, build mutual trust and a solid network of
partnerships, increase real input, deepen the convergence of interests, and
draw up a blueprint of development in the common interests of all parties.
From your remarks, we get the sense that the BRF will help advance
international cooperation, enhance the alignment between the Belt and Road
Initiative and the development strategies of partner countries, and strengthen
China's economic cooperation with the world. How then are we to understand the
importance of the BRF to China's efforts to implement its 13th Five-Year Plan
(2016-20), boost all-round reform and opening-up, and achieve the two centenary
goals (namely, ushering in a moderately prosperous society in all respects when
the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021 and becoming a
modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally
advanced and harmonious when the People's Republic celebrates its centenary in
The Belt and
Road Initiative aims to promote common development and win-win cooperation.
China does not intend to monopolize all the benefits or even take the lion's
share, but will work with partner countries to make the pie bigger and divide
it equitably. In this process, through strengthened cooperation among the
parties, we will make contribution to the international community as well as
promote reform and development at home. China will pursue its development in
the context of international cooperation by fully reflecting international
As its economy
enters the "new normal", China faces both opportunities and
challenges, particularly regional disparity. With an emphasis on expanding westward
opening-up, the Belt and Road Initiative will accelerate development of China's
western region, and contribute to a more coordinated development of the whole
country. The Initiative covers multiple provinces, autonomous regions and major
municipalities in China's interior and coastal regions. It hews closely to
China's regional development strategy, new urbanization strategy and opening-up
strategy, and will provide a strong boost to China's all-dimensional
The Belt and
Road Initiative will create synergy between China's efforts to boost
international economic cooperation and to deepen reform and opening-up, enable
China and partner countries to jointly pursue the new vision of innovative,
coordinated, green, open and shared development, and facilitate China's
endeavor to implement the 13th Five-Year Plan, boost all-round reform and
opening-up, and achieve the two centenary goals. We are full of expectations
and confidence about this.
China successfully hosted the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in
Beijing in 2014 and the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in 2016. How is the Belt and
Road Forum different from these two events and what are its unique features?
Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing, the G20 Summit in Hangzhou and the BRF
are all important international conferences. The three events follow the same
idea, namely, the emphasis on openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation,
on connectivity and interconnected development and on innovative development to
tap potential driving forces and contribute to the well-being of people around
The BRF has its
own features compared with the previous two events. First, the Belt and Road
Initiative is an international initiative for cooperation launched by China.
The Forum is the first of its kind. Nevertheless, it is easier to draw the most
beautiful picture on a piece of blank paper. Second, the Belt and Road
Initiative is open to countries of different regions. The idea originates from
the ancient Silk Road but the Initiative is not confined to it. We welcome the
participation of various countries, international organizations, multinational
corporations, financial institutions and non-governmental organizations in
specific cooperation projects for achievements through concerted efforts.
Third, compared with the well-established mechanisms that have long been in
operation such as APEC and the G20, the Forum is more flexible in agenda items,
cooperation areas and ways to advance cooperation. It will fully accommodate
the comfort level and accessibility for the parties concerned.
We believe that
the Forum will be a useful platform for strengthening coordination, mutual
complementarity and international cooperation. We hope to work with other
participating parties to push forward the Belt and Road Initiative so as to lay
a solid foundation for the kind of cooperation that will facilitate long-term
development and benefit the people, and usher in a better future for all.
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