Source of image: WIKI
Written by Daniela Moldovan
The upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held from 14 to 15 May in Beijing. This event constitutes the highest level forum since the One Road, One Belt initiative was proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. So far, 28 heads of State and Government, over 80 leaders of international organizations, 100 ministerial-level officials and 1,200 delegates from different countries have confirmed their participation to the forum. Among the participants are the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Argentinean President Mauricio Macri, Swiss President Doris Leuthard, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Further, he will host the round table summit of the leaders on policy and strategic development. In addition, there will be six thematic forums attended by high-ranking officials, international organizations, businessmen and academics. These forums will explore topics such as global and regional development, infrastructure, energy resources, eco-environment and economic and financial cooperation.
Yang Jiechi, the State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China and the person responsible of the preparatory work for the Belt and Road Forum, hopes that the forum will achieve three important outcomes: to build a consensus on international cooperation, to increase practical cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, trade and investments and to advance long-term cooperation plans. Further, Yang Jiechi emphasizes the importance of cooperation and mutual benefits for all the partners involved. “The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by China. Yet it’s not going to be China’s solo show […] We are committed to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We stress practical cooperation, win-win outcomes and step-by-step progress” said Yang Jiechi in an interview to People’s Daily and China Daily.
Under the Belt and Road initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) and Silk Road Fund have been providing financial support for further economic development and growth. In Europe, the ongoing financed projects have been focusing on the development of infrastructure, railways, airports and roads in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. Further focus has been on financial infrastructure and IT support, but also on the development of Free Trade Zones. Oversea business model opportunities include joint partnerships, technology transfer, investment funding, changing supply chains, engineering procurement-construction, build-transfer, build operate-transfer and public-private partnership methods.
One Belt, One Road is an ambitious initiative that strives to establish and strengthen partnerships between different countries from Asia, Europe and Africa. The initiative was proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit in Central and South Asia in September 2013. The implementation of One Belt, One Road began in 2015. The initiative operates with two important components: the land route entitled “The Silk Road Economic Belt” and the sea route called “The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. There are six economic corridors proposed under the One Belt, One Road initiative: New Eurasian Land Bridge, China – Mongolia – Russia Corridor, China – Central Asia – West Asia Corridor, China – Indochina Peninsula Corridor, China – Pakistan Corridor and Bangladesh – China – India – Myanmar Corridor.
In March 2015 The National Development and Reform Commission in cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Commerce issued an official document entitled “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. This document is an action plan and presents the goals of the One Belt, One Road initiative, its geographic coverage, the cooperation priorities and the join mechanisms, and strategies to achieve these goals. It encourages cooperation and connectivity among the partner countries. According to Vision and Actions document the connectivity within the One Belt, One Road initiative goes deeper than economic cooperation. It promotes policy coordination within the region. It also encourages financial integration, connectivity of facilities and the removal of trade barriers. Further, it emphasizes the people-to-people bond and the promotion of cultural and academic exchanges through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
With this initiative China hopes to increase prosperity for the underdeveloped parts of China, to secure its energy supply, to create new markets for Chinese products and services and to promote its goods, to increase the integration between China and the neighboring countries, and to promote connectivity and stability between countries through the movement of people, goods, and services. One Belt, One Road is an ambitious initiative that offers great business opportunities through regional cooperation, trade and investments.
Written article by Daniela Moldovan, student of Area and Cultural studies at University of Helsinki.
Any opinions expressed in this blog commentary are the opinions of the author(s), and are not the views of or endorsed by the UH Chinese Studies. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information.