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The BRI is an "economic pie" instead of "debt trap"


Source: China Daily    Published: 2019-3-11

President to start year's first overseas visit later this month, says foreign minister

President Xi Jinping will visit Europe later this month as he begins his first overseas trip this year, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at his Friday press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing two-week sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

At his annual briefing on China's foreign policy and its relations with the rest of the world, Wang also announced that the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing in late April, with Xi set to deliver a keynote speech at its opening ceremony.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to be one of the foreign heads of state and government attending the forum.

China and Russia are also set to move their comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level this year when they mark their 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Wang said.

The foreign minister hailed Sino-Russian ties as a showcase of today's big power relations. The two countries enjoy deep political trust, take part in win-win economic cooperation and support each other in international affairs. Xi is also set to pay a state visit to Russia this year.

The bilateral cooperation is being marked by major projects - Russia will begin delivering gas to China via an eastern route; the first highway bridge at the border of China and Russia that links Heihe and Blagoveshchensk cities is being rolled out; and the first Sino-Russian railroad bridge is being laid out.

Turning to the China-US relationship, Wang said cooperation forms the mainstream of bilateral ties and China holds a positive outlook of them.

Wang refuted suggestions from a number of individuals that the two countries should "decouple" their economies.

"Decoupling from China will mean decoupling from opportunity, from the future and in a sense from the world," Wang said, noting that the interests of China and the US are inseparable.

"China will carry the banner of building a community with a shared future for humanity, continue to stand on the right side of history and on the side of the common interests of a majority of countries," Wang said.

Wang also called the Belt and Road Initiative an "economic pie" that benefits local communities rather than a "debt trap" that some countries may fall into.

"The initiative has enabled countries to grow at a faster pace, improve their people's lives, and reaped win-win outcomes," he said.

He Yafei, former vice-minister of foreign affairs and former deputy director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, said the world is entering a period of uncertainty.

"There is a worrisome trend in many countries - a deepening divide within their societies. A rise of popularism and nationalism versus globalism. This has put a brake on globalization," He said.

The Belt and Road Initiative itself offers a major platform to increase global trade and connectivity, He said. Countries along the initiative's routes are mostly developing countries and will benefit from infrastructure facilities that link them with global supply chains, He said. He added that China wants to share with other countries its experiences in reform and opening-up and the benefits of its economic development.

He Yafei is a senior fellow from Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: BRI   cooperation   relations   economy   He Yafei  

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