President Xi shares vision for BRI cooperation

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President Xi Jinping outlined on Tuesday a new vision for the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, saying that China will endeavor to build a closer partnership for health cooperation, connectivity, green development, openness and inclusiveness.

In the keynote speech delivered via video link at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, Xi reiterated China’s commitment to make the BRI “a public road open to all” instead of 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. Belt and Road cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits and conveys a message of hope,” he said.

It was the fifth time Xi has attended the forum held at the coastal town in China’s southern Hainan province, which was also attended virtually by leaders from 14 nations and two international organizations.

The president elaborated on China’s vision for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation under the principles of extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits and championing the philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation.

The goal is to make the cooperation high-standard, people-centered and sustainable, he said.

With Chinese businesses already launching joint COVID-19 vaccine production in nations participating in the BRI, such as Indonesia and Brazil, China 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, he said.

In building a closer partnership for connectivity, China will work together with different nations to boost connectivity in infrastructure, enable better alignment in rules and standards, ensure unimpeded channels for trade and investment cooperation and actively develop Silk Road e-commerce, he said.

To boost green development, Xi highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation on green infrastructure, green energy and green finance, and improve the BRI International Green Development Coalition and the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development.

China stands ready to make the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and a way to grow in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness, he said, citing a World Bank report suggesting 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.

The president also expounded on China’s appeal for all nations in Asia and beyond to fight the pandemic through solidarity, strengthening global governance, and pursuing a community with a shared future for mankind.

“Humanity is facing a growing governance deficit, trust deficit, development deficit and peace deficit. Much remains to be done to achieve universal security and common development,” he said.

However, Xi said that there has been no fundamental change in the trend toward a multipolar world, with economic globalization showing renewed resilience and the call for upholding multilateralism and enhancing communication and coordination growing stronger.

He emphasized the importance of consultation on an equal footing to create a future of shared benefits, saying that global affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together.

“We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world,” he said.

He underlined openness as the key to post-COVID economic recovery, saying that it is important to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, deepen regional economic integration and enhance supply, industrial, data and human resources chains.

The president stressed the need for stronger international cooperation on the research, development, production and distribution of vaccines and to increase their accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it all the more clear to people around the world that we must reject the Cold-War and zero-sum mentality and oppose a new Cold War and ideological confrontation in whatever forms,” he said.

Xi also announced that China will host the second Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations once the pandemic comes under control.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said in a speech via video link that the importance of solidarity between countries remains constant in a world of change.

“We welcome China’s commitment to reach net zero (carbon emissions) by 2060 — and other major economies are making similar pledges. The green investments needed to get there can be a quadruple win — good for people, for our planet, for growth and for jobs,” she said.

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