Joint Contribution for High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Briefing on the 2nd BRF

H.E. Mr. Zhang Zuo

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh

 8 May 2019, Westin Hotel

Friends from Think Tanks and Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon. Welcome to the press conference on the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) held by the Embassy of China in Bangladesh. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed 6 years ago, it has been receiving a great amount of attention from think tanks and media, especially so for the 2nd BRF, which came under the spotlight of the public opinions and comments. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I’d like to express my appreciation for your support and attention. And taking this opportunity, I’d like to give a briefing on the outcomes and expectations of the BRF.

1. The 2nd BRF achieved a series of remarkable outcomes.

From April 25 to 27, 2019, the Second BRF was successfully held in Beijing. This year’s forum is themed on Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future. The forum includes the opening ceremony, the Leaders’ Roundtable, the high-level meeting, 12 thematic forums, and a CEO conference. 40 leaders attended the roundtable, including heads of state and government from 38 countries including China, United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Managing Director the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Over 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organizations participated in the forum.

During the forum, President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the second BRF and delivered a keynote speech. He chaired the whole Leaders’ Roundtable and held bilateral meetings with leaders of participating countries. With President Xi Jinping’s presiding over and guidance, the participating parties had an in-depth exchange of views on the Belt and Road cooperation and widely saw the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a great opportunity. They reached broad consensus on high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, delivering substantial results. The consensus and outcomes are reflected in the Joint Communique adopted unanimously at the Leaders’ Roundtable and in the List of Deliverables compiled and released by the Chinese side as the host country.There are six major outcome highlights summarized from President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech, the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable, and the List of Deliverables:

First, drawing the blueprint for future cooperation actions. President Xi Jinping stressed in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony on promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation based on the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursuing open, green and clean cooperation, and sticking to high-standard, people-centered, and sustainable development. These concepts were included in the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable as an international consensus. The consensus points out the direction for the cooperation development under the BRI, aiming at higher efficiency in connectivity, stronger economic growth, closer international cooperation and a better life for the people. President Xi Jinping proposed the important concept of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation from a global perspective, as a response to the common expectations of the global partners, and as a direction for future joint efforts. The broadened and enriched vision of the Belt and Road cooperation will guide the participating parties to better paint the exquisite picture and enable the Belt and Road cooperation to widely benefit people from different countries.

Second, promoting a global partnership of connectivity. President Xi Jinping stressed that connectivity is vital to advancing the Belt and Road cooperation. We need to promote a global partnership of connectivity to achieve common development. Participating parties have widely supported the idea and agreed to promote all-round connectivity, develop high-quality, sustainable, resilient, affordable, and inclusively accessible infrastructure, and improve the “soft connectivity” of policies, rules and standards among countries based on the partnerships and multilateralism spirit. All parties look forward to deepening cooperation with the Chinese side, and support effective synergy between the BRI and the development strategies of the participating countries, and regional and international development agendas. So far, 127 countries and 29 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with the Chinese side. During the forum this year, relevant countries and international organizations also signed over 100 multilateral and bilateral cooperation documents with the Chinese side in fields including transportation, taxation, trade, auditing, science and technology, culture, think tank, and media. Some countries and international financial institutions signed third-party market cooperation documents with the Chinese side. These are all significant contributions to promoting a global partnership of connectivity.

Third, focusing on deepening practical cooperation. As the host country, the Chinese side has put together a list of 283 concrete deliverables reached by the participating parties. China signed a series of inter-governmental agreements of practical cooperation including the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor and China-Thailand Railway. All parties jointly proposed and established a national standards information platform among the Belt and Road partner countries, the Belt and Road South-South cooperation initiative on climate change, and other cooperation mechanisms. Enterprises of various countries reached a large number of agreements on production capacity and investment cooperation projects. China launched new cooperative funds and third-party market investment projects with Italy and other countries. During the forum, all parties released a series of high-quality cooperation initiatives and reports. The Chinese side issued the Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Contributions and Prospects with an all-round review of the Belt and Road cooperation in the past five years and suggestions for high-quality development in the future. The Chinese side, together with other participating parties, published the Debt Sustainability Framework for Participating Countries of the Belt and Road Initiative as a beneficial tool to forestall and control risks in financing cooperation for sustainable Belt and Road cooperation. The BRF Advisory Council consisting of internationally renowned experts submitted the Report on the Findings and Recommendations, and puts forward policy suggestions on future priorities in Belt and Road cooperation and BRF’s direction. Relevant parties also jointly launched the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road and Cooperation Initiative on Silk Road of Innovation and published Green Investment Principles for Belt and Road Development. The CEO conference was an innovative arrangement of the second BRF. Attendants totaling over 800 are government officials from more than 80 countries and regions, representatives from international organizations, institutions and chambers of commerce and associations, and internationally famous entrepreneurs from China and overseas. With the matchup and talks of Chinese and foreign enterprises, cooperation agreements worth over 64 billion USD were signed. These deliverables reflect the trends of our times and epitomize the win-win cooperation of the BRI.

Fourth, building long-term supporting mechanisms. The participating parties have highly acclaimed the influence of the BRF and look forward to future forums. It is explicitly stated in the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable that the participants envisage the forum to be held on regular basis with possible follow-up events. During the forum this year, apart from the bilateral and tripartite cooperation, all parties also proposed and established over 20 platforms for Belt and Road multilateral dialogues and cooperation on the China-Europe Railway Express, ports, finance, customs, accounting, taxation, energy, environmental protection, culture, think tank, and media etc., including the establishment of the Maritime Silk Road Port Cooperation Mechanism, the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road, the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the Belt and Road Region, and the Belt and Road Studies Network. The Belt and Road international cooperation architecture led by the BRF and underpinned by multilateral and bilateral cooperation in various areas has been shaped.

Fifth, committing to reform and opening up to show China’s sense of responsibility. The Belt and Road cooperation is a major stage of promoting the further opening up of China as well as the world. During the forum, President Xi Jinping made a series of important speeches to heads of states and people from all walks of life. Looking back at the remarkable journey in the past 70 years since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, he emphasized that we will continue to advance along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, deepen sweeping reforms, pursue quality development, and expand opening-up. We remain committed to peaceful development and will endeavor to build a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi Jinping also announced that China will carry out a series of major reform and opening up initiatives, including expanding foreign market access in a broader area, strengthening international cooperation on intellectual property rights protection, and increasing imports of goods and services on a larger scale, more effectively implementing the international macro-economic policy coordination, and putting greater emphasis on the implementation of the opening up policy. These remarks sent out a concrete and important signal to the world about China’s commitment to an all-round pattern of opening up, and significantly strengthened the global confidence to develop with China together.

Such tangible outcomes show that the Belt and Road cooperation has attracted more and more friends and partners, and witnessed more and more in-depth cooperation. With the vision, mechanisms and measures, the Belt and Road cooperation will be stable and sustainable. Widely supported by the participating parties with their wisdom and efforts, the BRF will continue to contribute more to the Belt and Road cooperation and to promoting our major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. In six years, the comprehensive framework of the Belt and Road cooperation has been established and the broad strokes of the BRI have been painted.

2. Joint contribution to BRI for high-quality development

At present, with the second BRF as a symbol, a new vision for the BRI has been shaped at a new starting point. In the next step, according to the blueprint of President Xi Jinping drew up with the leaders of various countries during the second BRF, we will continue to inherit the past and usher in the future, work with all parties to refine the concrete and vivid details, and jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

First, to cooperate with focuses and cater to details. President Xi Jinping has pointed out that we will work with all parties to refine the concrete and vivid details of the exquisite picture, and jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. The BRI advocates multilateralism and cooperation through consultation. We will continue to follow the golden principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, adhere to the concept of open, inclusive and transparent cooperation, deepen integration of development plans and policies, and fully tap into the strengths of all participants. Just as a Chinese proverb says, “A tower is built when soil on earth accumulates, and a river is formed when streams come together.” we will solidly advance the result-oriented practical cooperation. BRI cooperation is not a talking shop but a team of down-to-earth doers. We will insist on being result-oriented, action-oriented and project-oriented, improve and extend the practical cooperation framework of “six corridors and six channels serving multiple countries and ports”, ensure that the signed cooperation documents will be implemented in specific projects, push forward more practical cooperation projects that conform to high-quality development, and forge more quality projects that can withstand the test of history and the comments of people.

Second, to focus on promoting a balanced development. President Xi Jinping stated that imbalance in development is the greatest imbalance confronting today's world. We will stick to a people-oriented concept and put our focus on people’s livelihood as always. We will integrate with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, give priority to poverty alleviation, job creation and livelihood improvement. We should have zero tolerance for corruption to see that the joint pursuit of Belt and Road cooperation will deliver true benefits to the people of participating countries and contribute to their social and economic development. We will continue to follow general international rules and optimum practices. The BRI pursues the principle of giving a primary role to enterprises and following market operation under the guidance of government. We will ensure the economic, social, fiscal and environmental sustainability and make the BRI an initiative of innovation that is clean and green. We will deepen cooperation and communication in innovation, encourage digitalized and smart development, seek new growth drivers and development paths, and build a digital and innovative Silk Road. We will deepen cooperation in agriculture, health, disaster relief and water resources, and enhance development cooperation with the UN to narrow down the development gap.

Third, to promote connectivity. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the key of Belt and Road cooperation lies in connectivity, which is an important consensus that all parties reached at the second BRF. We should build a global partnership of connectivity, in order to realize common development and prosperity. In this regard, Infrastructure is the bedrock of connectivity, while the lack of infrastructure has held up the development of many countries. So we should strive to elevate the connectivity of infrastructure, develop economic cooperation zones and industrial parks, push for the improvement and upgrading of the economic corridors, strengthen the connectivity in digital infrastructure, and build more high-quality, sustainable, resilient, affordable, inclusive and accessible infrastructure projects, so as to see more countries participate in and benefit from the global supply, industrial and value chains. Standing on a new starting point, we will establish a multi-layered cooperation framework step by step. We should not only actively make preparations for the third BRF on the basis of implementing the outcomes of the second BRF, but also well build, maintain and develop various kinds of bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation platforms, and make them run in parallel with mutual promotion, thus providing strong mechanism support for the Belt and Road cooperation.

Fourth, to build the bridge of mutual learning. President Xi Jinping pointed out that we need to build bridges for exchanges and mutual learning among different cultures, in order to facilitate multi-faceted people-to-people exchanges. For this we need to deepen cooperation in education, science, culture, sports, tourism, health and archaeology, strengthen exchanges between parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organizations as well as exchanges between women, young people and people with disabilities, and promote coexistence, peace and inclusiveness among different ethnicities and religions. In the coming five years, we will invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations from Belt and Road participating countries to visit China. We will also continue to run the Chinese government scholarship Silk Road Program, host the International Youth Forum on Creativity and Heritage along the Silk Roads and the "Chinese Bridge" summer camps. These will lead to the formation of a multi-layer pattern for cultural communication as well as more fantastic stories on the Silk Road.

Fifth, to deepen China-Bangladesh practical cooperation. President Xi Jinping likened the Belt and Road initiative to the two wings of a soaring Asia. He also stressed that the main partners of the Belt and Road Initiative are China’s neighbors, and they will be the first to benefit from it. Bangladesh is among the first South Asian countries that responded to the BRI. Under the leadership of the two countries, and the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, a large group of cooperation projects have been carried out in Bangladesh. The BRI became of road of opportunities and development for both of our people. Standing on a new starting point, China and Bangladesh need to give play to the leading role of head-of-state diplomacy, strive to enhance all-round connectivity that produces multiplying effects in infrastructure development, industrial clustering, economic growth and people’s well-being, and deepen our practical cooperation under the BRI.

The BRI is a long term project and a common cause for global partners. China would like to work with all parties to promote the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in the spirit of an architect refining the blueprint. We are willing to, together with cooperative partners, sow the seeds and reap the fruits. We will work to bring more benefits to people around the world, and make more contributions to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind. We hope our friends from the media and think tanks could continue to lend your support the building of the BRI.

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