By: Yi Fan
Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient Silk Road brought together people of various civilisations, religions, nationalities and races across Asia, Europe and Africa. It opened up windows of friendly engagement among nations, and added a splendid chapter to the history of human progress.
As a key measure to advance opening up, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) grows from China but serves the world. Over the past decade, an open China has joined hands with more and more partners for a better world.
Boosting benefit sharing and inclusiveness through opening up.
The BRI welcomes all countries with open arms, following the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The BRI is not ideologically driven, nor does it come with values-related strings attached. It is not created for the sake of power confrontation or forming blocs. In contrast to those “small circles” or “exclusionary groups” pieced together by some countries, Belt and Road cooperation is a big family guided by the principle of extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared benefit. As of June this year, more than 150 countries and 30-plus international organisations have signed over 200 Belt and Road cooperation documents with China. Some international observers comment that no country in history has ever tried to roll out policies to build economic ties among so many countries across various continents.
Enhancing cooperation through opening up.
As a highly popular global public good and cooperation platform, the BRI promotes connectivity, facilitates the effort of relevant countries and regions to better integrate into global supply, industrial and value chains, and creates greater development opportunities. The initiative is a broad path along which China and other countries share opportunities for common development. Over the past decade, the BRI has galvanised nearly USD 1 trillion of investment, launched more than 3 000 cooperation projects, and created an array of national landmarks, livelihood projects and milestones of cooperation. The China-Laos Railway helps make land-locked Laos a land-linked country. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway adds more than two percentage points to local economic growth. The China-Europe Railway Express has completed over 73 000 freight services. Indeed, the BRI has become a “belt of development” and a “road to happiness”.
Addressing development problems through opening up.
As an open platform for cooperation, the BRI aims to build a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade and investment rules, and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. The effective operation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Belt and Road Special Lending Scheme, the Silk Road Fund, Silk Road theme bonds, and other new instruments will help ease the problem of inaccessible and expensive financing. New platforms for international development cooperation, including the Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance and the BRI International Green Development Coalition, will create more development opportunities and brighter prospects for developing countries, and help narrow development gaps. According to data from the World Bank, Belt and Road cooperation is on course to help lift 7.6 million people from extreme poverty and 32 million from moderate poverty across the world by 2030.
As an ancient Chinese saying goes, “Ceaseless inflow of rivers makes the ocean deep.” China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year. A more open China will further integrate itself into the world and deliver greater progress and prosperity, for both China and the world at large.