2018-08-31

Charting the right course, delivering substantial and concrete outcomes

On August 27, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, president of the of the People's Republic of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addressed the 5th Anniversary Symposium on promoting the Construction of Belt and Road. In the speech, he summarized the work of jointly building Belt and Road over the past five years, he analyzed the current situation of the construction of "Belt and Road" , and arranged plans for the next step in promoting the construction of "Belt and Road." In the current complex international situation, it is of great significance to study and understand the spirit of Xi Jinping's speech.

 

Remarkable results of turning ideas into actions

With regard to the overall evaluation of the "Belt and Road" initiative over the past five years, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that the joint construction of "Belt and Road" is becoming China's participation in global opening-up and cooperation, improving global economic governance system, and promoting common development and prosperity, and build a community with a shared future for humanity.

 

Under the framework of "Belt and Road" international cooperation, China is actively promoting international cooperation in infrastructure construction and international capacity cooperation, building a better interconnection network between China and the world, and vigorously promoting the industrialization process of developing countries. This is conducive to not only promoting China's economic restructuring and facilitating the further implementation of supply-side structural reforms, but also  promoting the development of the western and inland areas of China and the process of RMB internationalization. It is helpful to promote the high quality development of our country's economy. At the same time, in the process of building "Belt and Road", China has continuously increased the number and quality of the construction of  free trade experimental zones. The market has been increasingly opened up to the world, import tariffs have been lowered by a large margin, trade and investment facilitation has been vigorously promoted, and more foreign economic and trade cooperation zones have been established in relevant countries.

 

 

 

Over the past five years since the jointly building of Belt and Road, China has invested a certain amount of capital in countries along the road and involved, mainly engaged in infrastructure construction and capacity cooperation, and has built roads, railways, bridges, ports, power stations and so on in many countries. Iron and steel plants, cement plants, automobile factories, refineries, food processing plants, clothing factories, and so on have also been built in many countries. On one hand, they have created preconditions for the economic growth of these countries, and on the other hand, they have also directly promoted the industrial development of these countries. It has advanced the industrialization of these countries.

 

The joint construction of "Belt and Road" has enhanced political mutual trust. On the basis of this premise and foundation, mutual economic integration and mutual civilizations exchange  have played a positive role in promoting global prosperity, safeguarding world peace and strengthening global governance. China's advocacy for the creation of the BRICS New Development Bank and the AIIB has played a very important and positive role in improving global financial governance, and China shares poverty reduction experiences with a wide range of developing countries around the world. It is conducive to making new progress in the cause of global poverty reduction; China has sent more and more personnel to participate in international peacekeeping operations and has made important contributions to safeguarding world peace.

 

(Dean Professor Hu Biliang (first row, second right) attended the forum as a representative of expert and scholar

 

Advancing Belt and Road Energetically and Properly

 With regard to the current macro situation of promoting the construction of "Belt and Road", General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that the world is now in a period of great development, great transformation, and great readjustment. We must have a strategic vision and establish a global vision. We should not only have a sense of risk and hardship, but also a consciousness of the historical opportunity, diligently chart the right course in this century of unprecedented big change. In such a historical period, the "Belt and Road" initiative emerged as the times require. Many countries, especially developing countries, have seen the positive impact it has brought or will bring to the world, so they have responded to and participated in it very actively.

 

We are facing an era of unprecedented changes in a century, so the situation is very complex. In such a complex environment, we must choose to do something positive for future development. Through the construction of "Belt and Road", the world will be better connected, trade and investment will be more facilitated, economic elements can flow more freely, transaction costs will be reduced, and economic efficiency will be improved, which will bring prosperity and development to the whole world. "Belt and Road" is also conducive to the promotion of new and more inclusive development of globalization and the promotion of innovative development. China's practice in the field of digital economy has proved this.

 

However, to promote the construction of " belt and road", we still need the optimum timing.  We should advance the Initiative neither too early while the conditions are not ripe; nor too late that we may miss the opportunity. From the five years of practice, the current timing is relatively suitable, which requires we to push forward Belt and Road  energetically and steadily. As a matter of fact, under current circumstances of  anti-globalization and the disturbance in the multilateral trade system, "belt and road" has actually become a new platform for promoting the construction of the multilateral trade system in the world. This is not only China's needs, but also the needs of the world.

 

                 Setting the Priority and step solid

After the construction of "Belt and Road" in the past five years, we have achieved some important progresses. In his speech, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out the direction, also offered some practical and concrete opinions on what the priority is.

 

First, he emphasizes the fundamental nature of the joint construction of Belt and Road. "Jointly building 'Belt and Road'  is an initiative for economic cooperation, instead of a geo political alliance or military league, and it is an open and inclusive process rather than an exclusive bloc or ‘China club’.  It does not differentiate countries by ideology nor play the zero-sum game. As long as countries are willing to join, they are welcome.” . " The foundation of economic cooperation is mutual trust, and the purpose is to promote mutual benefit, to realize mutual learning between civilizations, and finally to build a community with a shared future for humanity. It is necessary for General Secretary Xi Jinping to stress this point now, because many misunderstandings now lie in the confusion of the fundamental nature of Belt and Road. He thinks that China's promotion of "Belt and Road" is not to expand its sphere of influence, not to expand its influence in the region and the world, not to change the rules of the world, not to establish a new political alliance in the world, and so on.  The focus of the joint construction of "Belt and Road" is on infrastructure construction and capacity cooperation, and has nothing to do with political and military alliances.

 

Second, Xi Jinping pointed out that on the basis of maintaining the healthy and benign development momentum, promoting the transformation of "Belt and Road" to high-quality development is the basic requirement for the next stage of advancing the joint construction of "Belt and Road." In the new stage, new requirements have been put forward on fields such as projects construction, market development, financial security, and etc.; General Secretary Xi Jinping has also made detailed and targeted suggestions on advancing exchanges in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, sports, tourism, health, archaeology, as well as on very specific aspects such as how to regulate enterprise investment and operating behaviors, and pay attention to preventing of oversea risks.

 

Finally, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the need to strengthen the Party's leadership over the work of "Belt and Road". All regions and departments should enhance the "Four Consciousnesses" and firming the "four self-confidence" and plan and promote the joint construction of "belt and road" proactively by the party and the country’s side. Specifically, to coordinate overall work, it is further pointed out that all regions should strengthen joint efforts to develop "Belt and Road" in coordination with national strategies, such as coordinated development for the Beijing-Tanjin-Hebei Region, the development of the Yangtze River economic belt, and the building of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area in order to open up the western region and the northeast region to the  world on a larger scale and at a higher level, which also helps the inland border regions  become the frontier of opening up. In this way,  we will forms a structure of openness in which the interconnection between the domestic and foreign markets  and the  mutual economic cooperation  between the east and the west will be formed.

 

From "big brushwork" to "fine brushwork", General Secretary Xi Jinping's speech has provided a fundamental basis for promoting the construction of "Belt and Road", which will push the joint construction of "Belt and Road" to deliver more substantial and concrete outcomes, benefit the people of the countries along theroad,and promote the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity.

 

(by: Hu Biliang, Dean of Belt and Road Research Institute, Beijing Normal University)