Source: Global Times Published: 2017-5-15
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday said the Belt and Road initiative is "the project of the century" that will benefit people across the world, and other world leaders who attended the forum said they value the initiative and reaffirmed their support.
Xi made the remarks during his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
We should build the Belt and Road into a road of "peace," "prosperity," "opening-up" and "innovation" that "connects different civilizations," Xi told more than 1,500 people.
Xi`s speech has clearly provided the direction for the future development of the Belt and Road initiative, bringing it to "the 2.0 era," Yi Peng, President of the Pangoal Institute, a Beijing-based think tank and a guest at the opening ceremony, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"A road of peace means that China will turn the current global governance into a more inclusive and fairer version with all other participants, and `prosperity` means sustainable development, so it requires technological support [innovation] and free trade [opening-up]," Yi said.
Twenty-nine heads of state and government leaders attended the forum.
The US sent a delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the president and senior director for Asia of the National Security Council.
Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, chief minister of the Punjab, Pakistan said that it is very courageous for Chinese President Xi Jinping to propose the Belt and Road initiative, which stresses cooperation instead of competition.
The initiative is not only for the elites but also aims to create opportunities for ordinary people to earn a decent living. The initiative encourages respect for other countries` sovereignty and non-interference, Sharif said.
He said that China has invested roughly $50 billion in Pakistan`s infrastructure, energy and manpower, as well as in sports and the training of athletes.
Professor Alberto Di Minin from Italy told the Global Times that under the initiative, China has a great role to play in the international community.
China should promote talent exchanges, which can enhance mutual trust and help the outside world understand its policies, he said.
Support from partners
Putin said that the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China is "very timely and promising," and called for greater Eurasian partnership, Xinhua reported.
Putin called for more cooperation to meet worldwide challenges like an imbalanced development in globalization, poverty and regional conflicts, saying that Russia is working with its partners to advance the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), among others.
The integration of the Belt and Road initiative, the EEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN has laid the groundwork for building a great Eurasian partnership, he said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Sunday that the ambitious cross-continental initiative is "rooted in a shared vision for broad development."
Quoting a famous Chinese saying that guided China`s fast development, he said "Building the road is the first step towards prosperity."
The UN chief also urged the world to draw experience from the ancient Silk Road and "take that spirit to new heights for the benefit of all," Xinhua reported Sunday.
This shows that the Belt and Road initiative can be successfully linked to other countries` strategies based on mutual respect and communication, Pang Zhongying, director of the Center for the Study of Global Governance at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.
"The link between the Belt and Road and other countries` strategies is a Chinese diplomatic innovation, and it`s meant to avoid conflict and friction among regional powers along the Belt and Road and increase common interests and complementarities with partners. This could significantly contribute to world peace," Pang said.
On policy coordination, Xi said China has signed cooperation agreements with over 40 countries and international organizations, and is engaged with framework cooperation on production capacity with more than 30 countries.
Pang Zhongying is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.