BEIJING : Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that extensive consensus was reached on promoting “high-quality cooperation” under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at the closing of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in Beijing Saturday.
“We spoke positively of the progress and significance of the cooperation under the BRI. We shared the view that cooperation under the BRI has opened a gateway to opportunities for common prosperity,” Xi said, when briefing the press about the outcomes of Saturday’s roundtable meeting attended by leaders from 40 countries and international organizations.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the BRI has extended from Asia and Europe to Africa, Americas and Oceania, opening up new space for world economy with better-than-expected results. More than 150 countries and international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.
At the roundtable meeting, the leaders enriched the concept of BRI cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to a high-quality development path, while clarifying the priorities for the future cooperation and deciding to strengthen overall cooperation in all areas, according to Xi.
“We all supported the idea of developing a global partnership for connectivity and agreed to strengthen cooperation mechanisms,” he said. “We all supported more pragmatic cooperation to achieve more concrete outcomes.”
A total of 283 items of practical outcomes were achieved in the preparatory process and during the forum, and cooperation agreements worth more than 64 billion U.S. dollars were signed at a CEO conference during the forum, according to Xi.
About 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations attended the forum.
In a keynote speech at the forum’s opening ceremony Friday, President Xi announced a package of proposals to advance high-quality development of the BRI, calling on the international community to join hands to work out a “meticulous painting” of the BRI.
The principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits should be upheld, said Xi, stressing open, green and clean approaches, as well as goals of high-standard, livelihood-improving and sustainable development.
Strong support was expressed by leaders and business people from outside China.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the forum, Nursultan Nazarbayev, first president of Kazakhstan, said the BRI has “transcended the challenges of geography and unequal development,” and China “has proven itself as a reliable, responsible partner in the international arena.”
Chairman of China-Italy Chamber of Commerce Davide Cucino said that nobody should doubt how positive the BRI idea is, and there is a heated discussion in Europe about how to join the BRI. “Sooner or later, all countries will embrace the initiative.”
The BRI’s five pillars — policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people exchanges — serve as “conceptual pillars that can be translated into real-life progress for all people,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the opening ceremony.
From 2013 to 2018, the trade volume between China and other B&R countries surpassed 6 trillion U.S. dollars, and China’s investment in B&R countries exceeds 90 billion dollars.
Thanks to the BRI, eastern Africa has its own expressway, the Maldives has its first inter-island bridge, Belarus can produce sedans and the number of freight trains between China and Europe is on the rise. The once rusted Greek port of Piraeus has become one of the world’s fastest-growing container terminals.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, attended the first BRF in 2017. Recalling the first forum, he described the BRI then as “still a child growing up.”
“Now the BRI has become an adult, which means that it has become an important factor in the global economy. It has grown up,” he told Xinhua at the second BRF.