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The BRI progress, contributions and prospects

Updated: Apr 23, 2019 China Daily Print

III. Prospects

Today's world is in a stage of major developments, transformation and adjustment. Peace, development and cooperation remain the themes of the times. Looking into the future, in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, China will face many problems and challenges, as well as unprecedented opportunities and prospects for development. This is an initiative that involves many parties and requires concerted efforts. This is an initiative that decides the future and requires unremitting efforts. This is an initiative that benefits humanity and requires careful nurture. We believe that with the passing of time and the synergy of all parties, Belt and Road cooperation will definitely become deep and concrete, steady and extensive. The Belt and Road will become a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovation, connected civilizations, and clean government. It will make economic globalization become more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

1. A road of peace

The ancient Silk Road thrived in times of peace and declined in times of war. Without a peaceful and stable environment, it would be impossible to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to build a new model of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and forge partnerships through dialogue rather than confrontation and friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity, territorial integrity, development path, social systems, and core interests, and accommodate each other's major concerns.

Peace and security are the prerequisite and guarantee for building the Belt and Road. All countries should foster a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and ensure that a security environment is built by all and for all. All countries should resolve conflicts through political means, and promote mediation in the spirit of justice and fairness. We should intensify counterterrorism efforts by addressing both the symptoms and root causes, and by eliminating poverty, backwardness and social injustice. All countries should resolutely reject the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game and power politics, and oppose terrorism, separatism and extremism. All countries should offer mutual support on major issues concerning core interests such as national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and stability. All countries should settle disputes through dialogue, resolve differences through discussion, enhance cooperation and mutual trust, and reduce mutual misgivings. All countries need to foster in-depth cooperation in ensuring cybersecurity, fighting transnational crimes and drug trafficking, combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, and enhancing joint law enforcement and public security. These measures will help create a favorable environment for promoting regional economic development and improving the well-being of the people.

China is a staunch force in safeguarding regional and world peace and promoting common development. China is committed to peaceful development and an independent foreign policy of peace. We respect the development paths and domestic and foreign policies pursued independently by the people of every country. China will never interfere in the internal affairs of any country, never impose its own will on any country, and never place its own interests above the interests of any country. To ensure the smooth implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, China will work together with all other countries involved to establish a dispute settlement mechanism, a security risk early-warning and monitoring mechanism, and an emergency response mechanism. In any case of dispute, all parties involved can discuss their interests and concerns through dialogue rather than engage in confrontation. Such dialogue will foster a positive development environment for Belt and Road cooperation, and help all participating countries to build a harmonious world where they respect each other's core interests and settle disputes by peaceful means.

2. A road of prosperity

Development holds the master key to solving all problems. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of participating countries, and achieve economic integration and coordinated development to the benefit of all participants. The Belt and Road Initiative complies with the trend toward multipolarity, economic globalization, cultural diversity, and IT application, and upholds the global free trade system and an open world economy.

B&R countries have complementary strengths in market size and resources, showing great potential and broad prospects for cooperation. Fully attending to all parties' interests and concerns, B&R countries should build consensus and transform consensus into actions. By strengthening the connectivity of our development strategies, plans, platforms and projects, we will achieve more tangible results and leverage our comparative strengths in the interest of our common prosperity and development.

Belt and Road cooperation will continue to prioritize connectivity, focusing on key passageways, points, and projects. China will advance cooperation with other participating countries in the fields of roads, railways, ports, aviation, aerospace, oil and gas pipelines, power supply, and network communications, to achieve land, maritime, air and cyberspace connectivity. China will build a Belt and Road space information corridor together with other B&R countries. China will enhance mutual benefits in economic and trade cooperation, and expand bilateral and multilateral investment and trade. China will promote deeper industrial cooperation and work for the success of economic, trade and industrial cooperation zones. We will seize the opportunities created by the new industrial revolution to cultivate new driving forces and new business models to maintain the vitality of the economy. During the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China will sign a number of key projects on industrial and investment cooperation with other B&R countries. China will establish a stable and sustainable financial service system that keeps risks under control, and create new models of investment and financing. China will also encourage closer cooperation between government and private capital, build a diverse financing system and a multitiered capital market, develop inclusive finance, and improve financial service networks.

3. A road of opening up

Opening up brings progress while isolation results in backwardness. For a country to open itself to the outside world, it is like a silk moth breaking free from its cocoon. There will be short-term pains, but one gets a new life afterward. The Belt and Road Initiative calls for opening up, which in turn will enable us to achieve both economic growth and balanced development.

In pursing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should seek inclusive development that is beneficial to all, build an open platform of cooperation, and foster an open world economy. The Belt and Road is an initiative for peaceful development and economic cooperation, rather than a geopolitical or military alliance; it is a process of open, inclusive and common development, rather than an exclusionary bloc or a "China club". It neither differentiates countries by ideology, nor plays the zero-sum game. Regardless of its political system, geographical environment, development stage, and cultural background, any country is welcome to join the circle of friends in the Belt and Road Initiative, following the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to achieve win-win cooperation. China upholds and strengthens the multilateral trade system which is rule-based, open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminative. China promotes liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment by building high-standard free trade areas jointly with other B&R countries, to advance the sound development of economic globalization. In addition, Belt and Road cooperation also addresses issues such as imbalances in development, difficulties in governance, the digital divide, and income disparity, to provide equal development opportunities to all countries in the world and share the fruits of development with all peoples. Through the Belt and Road, China will keep opening its door wider. China is willing to bring new opportunities for common development to all countries, help other countries develop an open economy suited to their own actual conditions, and join our efforts in building a global community of shared future.

4. A road of green development

The Belt and Road Initiative pursues the vision of green development and a way of life and work that is green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable. The initiative is committed to strengthening cooperation on environmental protection and defusing environmental risks. It aims to build consensus on green development and increase mutual understanding and mutual support between governments, between enterprises and between peoples of the Belt and Road countries, to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

B&R countries should pursue ecofriendly development, integrate ecological conservation and green development into economic and trade cooperation, and form a green development model in which environmental protection and economic and trade cooperation complement each other. We should explore a path of sound development that ensures growth, better lives, and a good environment. We should carry out cooperation in energy conservation and emissions reduction, and jointly respond to climate change. We should formulate and put in place supporting policies for environmental protection cooperation, and enhance efforts to protect and restore our ecosystems. We should explore and develop green finance, incorporating environmental protection and ecological conservation into our modern financial system.

China is willing to cooperate on environmental protection with other B&R countries. China will sign cooperation agreements with more countries on building green Belt and Road, expand the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, and establish a Coalition of Sustainable Cities on the Belt and Road. China will build a group of international green industrial cooperation platforms, including model bases for green industrial cooperation, bases for green technology transfer and exchanges, technology demonstration and popularization bases, and science and technology parks. China will build a platform of green supply chains for the Belt and Road Initiative. China will also promote cooperation and ex-changes with other B&R countries on the construction of national parks, to protect our shared homeland.

5. A road of innovation

Innovation is an important force powering development. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we need to encourage innovation. Over the past five years or so, China and other B&R countries have been improving the environment for innovation, pooling resources for innovation, and strengthening cooperation in science and technology innovation. We will continue to spur the full integration of science and technology with industries and finance.

Since the turn of the century, global technology innovation has intensified and become more active. Another round of the technology revolution and industrial reform is restructuring the global innovation landscape and reshaping the global economy. Belt and Road cooperation has provided new opportunities for countries in the primary and middle stages of industrialization to merge properly into global industrial chains and value chains. As various factors and resources for development are shared, flowing and regrouping among B&R countries, each country can leverage their comparative strengths, focusing on studies in cutting-edge technology application and on the research, development and application of high-tech products, to push forward innovation-driven development. The Belt and Road Initiative will become a new platform for the innovation-driven development of participating countries, a driving force for their leapfrog development, and a new engine propelling global economic growth. Through coordinated development and joint response to challenges, the Belt and Road Initiative has enabled different countries and different groups of people to share the fruits of economic globalization during the development of an open world economy, and the momentum will continue.

The digital economy is a major economic transformation, a successor to the agricultural economy and the industrial economy. The world is experiencing a revolution in technology and industrial reform on a larger scale and at a deeper level. As modern information technology makes continuous breakthroughs and the digital economy thrives, all countries have seen their interests more closely connected. All parties involved in the Belt and Road Initiative should pursue innovation-driven development, intensify cooperation in frontier areas such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and quantum computing, and promote big data, cloud computing and smart cities, so as to turn them into a digital Silk Road of the 21st century. China has formed a multilevel and diverse mechanism for technological and people-to-people exchanges, by offering short-term research visits to China for young scientists and offering training programs for science and management personnel from other B&R countries. Through building national level platforms for joint scientific research, China has enhanced stable and long-term cooperation mechanisms for technology innovation, to improve the capacity for technology innovation of B&R countries. We need to build a Belt and Road coordination network for technology transfer, to facilitate integrated innovation at regional level. Intellectual property is essential to innovation-driven development. B&R countries should respect intellectual property rights, effectively protect and utilize intellectual property, and build a sophisticated intellectual property protection system.

6. A road of connected civilizations

In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should ensure that with regard to different civilizations, exchange will replace estrangement, mutual learning will replace clashes, and coexistence will replace a sense of superiority. This will boost mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust between different countries.

The ancient Silk Road facilitated interactions between countries and between ethnic groups as well as advances in human civilization. The Belt and Road Initiative is rooted in profound civilizations and inclusive cultures. It provides a platform for participating countries to approach each other and enhance mutual learning. It enables deeper exchanges between peoples from different countries, cultures and historical backgrounds. It allows peoples, regardless of their ethnicities, cultures, social systems and religions, to communicate, blend and connect with each other from a new height, in joint efforts to build a global community of shared future. The Belt and Road Initiative encourages the countries involved to conduct extensive cooperation in education, technology, culture, health, sports, media and tourism. It facilitates exchanges among political parties, youth organizations, civil society organizations, think tanks, women's associations, and local authorities. A development trend toward common prosperity of all civilizations is apparent, highlighting harmony without uniformity and unity in diversity.

China, together with other B&R countries and related international organizations, is willing to establish a multitiered mechanism for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and build more cooperation platforms and channels. We should boost educational cooperation, increase the number of exchange students, and improve the performance of cooperatively run schools. We should develop the Belt and Road Studies Network and the Belt and Road News Alliance. We should cooperate more in protecting historical and cultural heritage, providing foreign aid in cultural relics protection, and promoting joint archaeological activities and exchanges between museums. We should jointly develop tourist products with distinctive Silk Road features. We should enhance exchanges between political parties, NGOs, women and youth to promote inclusive development. During the second Belt and Road Forum for Inter-national Cooperation, China will launch a cooperation initiative on "Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals for Children through Shared Development" in B&R countries with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Civil society organizations in China will start the "Silk Road Community Building" program to promote cooperation between civil society organizations in all B&R countries to improve people's lives. China will continue to provide affordable support and assistance to other developing countries under the initiative.

7. A road of clean government

Clean government is the moral principle and the legal red line that we should never cross in Belt and Road cooperation. All participating countries should work together to foster a modern business environment which is corruption-free and efficient, strengthen supervision and management and control risk in Belt and Road projects, and create a public resource market which is procedure-based and transparent. During the tendering, construction, and operational management of a project, we should abide by related laws and regulations, eliminate power rent-seeking, and establish sound market order. All B&R countries should enhance international exchanges and cooperation in fighting corruption. In accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and other international conventions and related bilateral treaties, we should create a closer and more convenient network for cooperation on judicial affairs and law enforcement, and facilitate the signing and fulfillment of bilateral extradition treaties and judicial assistance agreements. All countries should encourage their enterprises to strengthen self-discipline, establish rule-based managerial systems, foster an enterprise culture that values integrity, monitor corruption risks, and oppose commercial bribery.

Government, enterprises and the international community should work together to form cooperation mechanisms for denying the entry of corrupt officials and returning assets acquired through corruption. The three parties should make concerted efforts to cut chains of corruption and forge lines of defense against corruption.

China is willing to join all other countries in improving the legal systems and mechanisms to fight corruption, improving the business environment, and punishing commercial bribery. China will improve coordination with other B&R countries in anti-corruption laws and regulations, and enhance practical cooperation against corruption. China will increase anti-corruption training for Chinese enterprises going global, and tighten up their rule-based business operation and management. China is willing to work together with other participating countries to build the Belt and Road into a road of clean government.

The tides of world development roll on. The Belt and Road Initiative mirrors the general trend of history. The values and development concepts manifested in the initiative fulfill the demands of human society to form a global community of shared future. They meet the expectations of all peoples in the participating countries to share development opportunities and live a better life.

Undoubtedly, as time moves on, Belt and Road cooperation will show greater vitality and creativity. With master plans and concrete measures in place, Belt and Road cooperation will reap long-term benefits as we persevere in our efforts toward higher-quality and higher-level development. The Belt and Road Initiative will help build a world of lasting peace, a world of common security and prosperity, an open and inclusive world, and a clean and beautiful world, making a greater contribution to building a global community of shared future.

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