Source: Global Times Published: 2017-5-16
The first international conference on the Belt and Road initiative ended in Beijing on Monday with hundreds of infrastructure and investment contracts signed and a cooperation mechanism established for the future.
A total of 68 nations and international organizations signed cooperation agreements with China as part of the Belt and Road initiative, President Xi Jinping announced at a press conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The second Belt and Road forum will be held in 2019, Xi said.
After the two-day meeting, delegates from participating countries and international organizations published a joint communiqué and released a list of cooperation achievements on Monday.
The roundtable summit was part of the two-day forum held on Sunday and Monday and attended by 30 heads of state and government leaders, including Xi.
A list of more than 270 outcomes was made, and these outcomes will provide strong support to the building of the Belt and Road and serve to boost confidence from all parties to advance cooperation, Xi said.
Experts said the outcomes of the first Belt and Road forum will bring more energy to the world economy and make globalization fairer.
According to the outcomes list, the Chinese government established a new department under the National Development and Reform Commission to manage Belt and Road cooperation affairs.
It also detailed the contracts and memorandums signed between different Chinese ministries and foreign countries, including those of infrastructure development and financing schemes for Belt and Road cooperation.
The outcomes list dedicated a chapter to measures to be taken in order to ensure the grand initiative would benefit ordinary foreign residents and people-to-people exchanges.
"These outcomes will pump new energy into promoting globalization," said Wang Yiwei, senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China.
"In traditional Chinese medicine, it`s believed that smooth connectivity kills pain. Similarly, the lack of connectivity between economies is a major reason why the world is suffering from so many problems when we try to promote globalization," Wang said.
In many landlocked countries, people endure serious poverty and have no chance to share in the benefits of globalization due to poor infrastructure and harsh geographic conditions, which have provided space for extremism and terrorism, he said.
The joint communiqué shows that the experience and ideas shared by China have been accepted by participants and the world acknowledges the Chinese solution, Wang said.
Xi on Monday called on global leaders at the roundtable summit to push for win-win outcomes, enhance policy coordination and deepen cooperation in the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative, Xinhua reported.
Xi said countries should resist protectionism to seek win-win results in cooperation, and enhance dialogue to settle disputes and resolve differences to maintain regional stability, and he urged countries to align to each other`s development strategies.
He said resisting the beggar-thy-neighbor mentality is a lesson the world should learn from the global financial crisis, Xinhua reported.
Countries should also align cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the follow-ups to the G20 Hangzhou Summit, as well as the development plans of regional blocs such as ASEAN, the African Union, the European Union and APEC, Xi said.
Xi called for greater efforts to build economic corridors and industrial cooperation parks to create jobs and spur innovation. Countries should improve their business environment and policy protections to release the positive power of better connectivity, he said.
Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, told China Central Television that the UN fully agrees with China`s proposition on the Belt and Road and the initiative shares the same principles of the UN Charter.
Wu said that during the talks between UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Guterres proposed that the UN should send officials from various departments to China soon to exchange ideas with Chinese officials so that the UN can better support the Belt and Road initiative.
It takes real action to turn a blueprint into reality, Xi said, urging efforts to accelerate the construction of railways, highways, ports, oil and gas pipelines, and power and communication networks to enhance connectivity.
Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.