China’s President Xi Jinping opened an economic conference on Tuesday with a pledge to push ahead with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and make it high-standard, people-centered and sustainable.
Addressing the ‘2021 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference’ in the Eastern Boao City, Xi Jinping said the meeting is convened against a very special background with its theme being: “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation.”
Xi said there is a need to promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, deepen regional economic integration, and enhance industrial, data and human resources supply chains, with a view to building an open world economy, according to the translated transcript published by Xinhua.
There is also a need to deepen partnerships for connectivity and strengthen infrastructural links to keep the arteries of economic activities unclogged, he added.
“I have noted on various occasions that the Belt and Road Initiative is a public road open to all, not a private path owned by one single party. All interested countries are welcome aboard to take part in the cooperation and share in its benefits,” he said.
“Belt and Road cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits, and conveys a message of hope….Going forward, we will continue to work with other parties in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We will follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and champion the philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation, in a bid to make Belt and Road cooperation high-standard, people-centred and sustainable.”
The future is green
Xi said China, the world’s second largest economy, would work with all sides to promote “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and “soft connectivity” of rules and standards, ensure unimpeded channels for trade and investment cooperation, and actively develop Silk Road e-commerce, all in a bid to open up a bright prospect for integrated development.
He added: “We will build a closer partnership for green development. We could strengthen cooperation on green infrastructure, green energy and green finance, and improve the BRI International Green Development Coalition, the Green Investment Principles [GIP] for the Belt and Road Development, and other multilateral cooperation platforms to make green a defining feature of Belt and Road cooperation.”
He also emphasised on partnerships focussing on health cooperation. “Chinese businesses have already started joint vaccine production in BRI participating countries such as Indonesia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey. We will expand cooperation with various parties in infectious disease control, public health, traditional medicine and other areas to jointly protect the lives and health of people in all countries.”
Xi cited a World Bank report which showed that by 2030, Belt and Road projects could help lift 7.6 million people from extreme poverty and 32 million people from moderate poverty across the world.
He said Beijing would act “in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness as it works with all willing participants to build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth, which will contribute positively to the common prosperity of humankind.”
“By setting sail together, we could ride the wind, break the waves, and brave the journey of ten thousand miles….We may at times encounter stormy waves and dangerous rapids, but as long as we pool our efforts and keep to the right direction, the giant vessel of human development will stay on an even keel and sail toward a brighter future,” he concluded.
(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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