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‘B&R’ forum hailed for contribution to global economic governance

MAO LI | 2017-05-18 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over the Leaders Roundtable Summit at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 15.

Commenting on the recently concluded Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, scholars emphasized its importance to global economic governance.

Held from May 14 to 15 in Beijing, the forum gathered more than 1,500 representatives from all over the world, including heads of state and officials from 29 countries.

In his keynote speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to build the “Belt and Road” (“B&R”) initiative into a mechanism for peace, prosperity, opening up, innovation and connecting different civilizations.

Since it was proposed in 2013, the “B&R” initiative has won the support of more than 100 countries and international organizations, with some content incorporated into major resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

The forum will not only take “B&R” construction to a new stage but also have equally far-reaching impacts, such as upholding the openness of the global economic system and rebalancing the world economy, scholars said.

Wang Linggui, deputy executive chairman and secretary-general of the National Institute for Global Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the forum has sent the world a strong message of cooperation in consulting, building and sharing.

Conducive to guiding economic globalization to develop in a more open, inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial direction, it is a new contribution to the international economic governance system, Wang added.

Behind the contribution are responsibilities China has shouldered as the largest developing country and the world’s second-largest economy.

At the forum, an international occasion created by China, the country announced a series of measures that have injected strong impetus into the “B&R” initiative. On May 14, Xi pledged to contribute an additional 100 billion yuan ($14.49 billion) to the Silk Road Fund, started an action plan for scientific and technological innovation concerning the initiative, and set up a liaison office for follow-up activities of the forum.

“China welcomes other countries to enjoy the tailwind of the nation’s growth and proactively create a forum to share development experience with the world,” said Zhao Kejin, a professor of social sciences at Tsinghua University, adding that the move has reflected China’s diplomatic progress and major-country manners.

The “B&R” initiative has rallied much support since it was put forward. The United States, which was on the sidelines, also dispatched a high-level delegation to the forum. The huge appeal and vitality of the initiative is backed up by the substantive “sense of gain” it has brought to the world.

Power shortages have been a persistent problem to Pakistan. Even in big cities like Islamabad and Karachi, more than 10 hours of power outages every day are a common occurrence in the summer. Prolonged power failures mean the scorching weather claims thousands of lives. Nonetheless, the effective implementation of serial energy and electric power projects within the “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” has solved the pressing need of the Pakistani people.

In January 2017, the first China-Europe freight train laden with an assortment of goods produced in Yiwu, East China’s Zhejiang Province, arrived in London. From Suzhou to Warsaw, from Zhengzhou to Hamburg, from Nanjing to Moscow and from Changchun to Nuremburg, the trains, a symbol of the “B&R” initiative, represent a new bridge for economic and trade contact between Asia and Europe.

On a vast tract of land in Minsk, capital of Belarus, convention centers, warehouses and office building complexes are rising straight from the ground. The industrial park, with a planned area of 91.5 square kilometers, will attract excellent Chinese enterprises to upgrade local products and create jobs together with Belarusian companies.

In more than 20 countries along the Belt and Road, Chinese enterprises have built 56 economic and trade cooperation zones, generating nearly $1.1 billion in tax revenues and 180,000 jobs for host nations.

In the last four years, the “Belt and Road” was translated from an idea into action, from a vision into reality.

Chen Yongjun, a professor from the School of Business at Renmin University of China, analyzed the initiative from the perspective of supply and demand. In terms of supply, China can provide superior capacity, mid- to high-end technology and high foreign exchange reserves.

On the demand side, there is an urgent need for countries along the Belt and Road to enhance infrastructure construction. The supply-demand match means the initiative is not empty talk but a mutually beneficial idea with inherent economic logic, Chen said.

For the future, the “B&R” initiative is opening up new spaces constantly. “The future ‘B&R’ initiative will be more open, inclusive and prosperous,” said Huang Rihan, dean of the Department of International Politics at Huaqiao University in Southeast China’s Fujian Province.

“It will not only advance China’s supply-side structural reform but also bring more benefits to people around the world,” Huang added.




Mao Li is a reporter at the Chinese Social Sciences Today.