China’s BRI Offers What the World Most Needs: Development!

China’s Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, on Oct. 17-18, will give new impetus to the initiative which has become the largest infrastructure and development project ever undertaken in the world – in just ten years after it was launched. The forum has brought together participants from 130 countries around the world, and some 20 heads of state and government, including Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban.

Just prior to the opening, on Oct. 10, the Chinese government issued a White Paper entitled Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future, which states that the BRI “connects the past, the present and the future. This initiative was launched by China, but it belongs to the world and benefits the whole of humanity.” It further stresses that the Initiative “advocates win-win cooperation in pursuit of the greater good and shared interests” among equal participants, and is in no way a “geopolitical tool” or a simple program for international aid. Countering a common piece of disinformation, it states that no country has fallen into a debt crisis as a result of cooperation on the BRI.

At an Oct. 12 briefing of the Foreign Ministry, spokesman Wang Wenbin was asked by CCTV about the White Paper, and in particular about what the Belt and Road Initiative has achieved. “Development is a timeless theme for humanity”, he began by noting.

“Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has followed the principles of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach and focused on connectivity — the lack of which is considered the biggest bottleneck for development. A large number of landmark projects, such as the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, the Budapest-Belgrade Railway and the Piraeus Port, have been put into operation. The China-Europe Railway Express opened up new corridors for land transport on the Eurasian continent. The Maritime Silk Road shipping network provides service around the world. The connectivity framework of ‘six corridors, six routes, and multiple countries and ports’ has basically taken shape.

“New roads, railways and airlines — like blood vessels — have greatly improved transportation, enabling a more efficient trade network and slashing the cost for accessing the global market by Belt and Road partner countries, which has boosted their own development capacity and helped build a path towards a more prosperous future.”

Wang Wenbin pointed out that over 3,000 development projects have been launched, and that according to World Bank estimates, BRI-related investments could lift 7.6 million out of extreme poverty by 2030, and 32 million out of moderate poverty. The BRI provides “not just a road to prosperity but also hope for humanity…. We hope the BRI will serve as wings for the world on a journey towards more peace, growth, cooperation and a better future for all.”

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