(Xinhua) — After fruitful ten years of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday announced new moves to usher the initiative into another “golden decade” with relentless efforts to achieve modernization for all countries and build an open and inclusive world.
From further improving connectivity to supporting an open world economy, Xi unveiled eight major steps to bring Belt and Road cooperation to a new stage of higher-quality and higher-level development in a keynote speech at the opening of a high-profile forum.
Xi vowed to speed up high-quality development of China-Europe Railway Express and, together with other parties, build a new logistics corridor across the Eurasian continent linked by direct railway and road transportation.
China will enter into free trade agreements and investment protection treaties with more countries and remove all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector, Xi said.
Both signature projects and “small yet smart” livelihood programs will be promoted with more financing support. Two Chinese policy banks will each set up a 350 billion yuan (48.75 billion U.S. dollars) financing window, and an additional 80 billion yuan will be injected into the Silk Road Fund, according to Xi.
The president also pledged more commitment into green development, scientific and technological innovation, people-to-people exchanges, integrity-based Belt and Road cooperation, and the institutional building for international Belt and Road cooperation.
The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held on Tuesday and Wednesday was the most significant celebration for the 10th anniversary of the BRI.
RESONATING WITH AUDIENCE
Attendees of the opening ceremony spoke highly of Xi’s speech.
“It was an inspiring speech. It delivered clear messages on the future of the Belt and Road cooperation and how China’s robust economic growth will benefit the world as well as foreign investors like us,” said Atakan Bozkurt, chief executive officer of Burger King China.
“President Xi’s vision is appreciated by so many people in the world,” said Vito Rosario Petrocelli, president of Italy BRICS Institute. “The BRI is the best initiative to make the Global South better and can give a lot of opportunities to developing countries and play a very big role in protecting the environment.”
Ismail Hakki Musa, ambassador of Türkiye to China, said few imagined that the BRI would have such influence and force to transform the world in economic, infrastructure and development areas. “Today everyone is aware of the fact that this is an unprecedented achievement.”
Xi consecutively proposed building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013. The pairing later came to be known as the BRI.
Over the past 10 years, the BRI has evolved from ideas into actions and from a vision into reality.
Speeding trains and trucks have become trade symbols in the new era, just like camel caravans in the past. Hydro stations and wind plants have helped in removing the development bottleneck for developing countries. Brand new airports, harbors, and industrial parks have brought fresh momentum to regional growth.
By promoting the Belt and Road cooperation, China is pursuing modernization not for itself, but for all developing countries through joint efforts.
ENVISAGING GLOBAL MODERNIZATION
“Global modernization should be pursued to enhance peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation and bring prosperity to all,” Xi said.
So far, more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements, with the initiative extending from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America.
Jiri Paroubek, former prime minister of the Czech Republic, said the Belt and Road will help many countries of the developing world to increase their development, and also the living standards of the people.
The BRI transcends differences between civilizations, cultures, social systems, and stages of development, and has opened up a new path for exchanges among countries, and established a new framework for international cooperation, Xi said.
Looking back at the past decade, Xi said the achievements demonstrate that the Belt and Road cooperation is on the right side of history. “It represents the advancing of our times, and it is the right path forward.”
ELUCIDATING SILK ROAD SPIRIT
“China can only do well when the world is doing well. When China does well, the world will get even better,” Xi said, noting that China, opening its door even wider to the world, has become a main trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions and a primary source of investment for more countries.
Xi said that win-win cooperation is the sure way to success in launching major initiatives that benefit all, and that the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit is the most important source of strength for Belt and Road cooperation.
“Ideological confrontation, geopolitical rivalry and bloc politics are not a choice for us. What we stand against are unilateral sanctions, economic coercion and decoupling and supply chain disruption,” said the Chinese president.
“Today the world needs a common and collective approach to tackle the tremendous challenges we all have, and I think the BRI puts everyone in connection,” said Miguel Moratinos, high representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations.