Reprinted from Granma, Official Voice of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee
Beijing.- China is currently constructing a new economic belt designed to boost interconnectivity between Asia, Africa, and Europe along the same route traveled over 2,000 years ago by merchants and traders transporting silk from the East to the West.
Through the “Belt and Silk Road” initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, Asian giant is inviting the world to share in its development opportunities and aspirations for joint growth.
In order to see this ambition translated into solid progress, Beijing hosted the first edition of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation from May 14-15, representing a significant boost to this project launched three years ago.
The most important event to be held since the initiative was announced, saw 28 heads of state and government come together to reach a consensus regarding the development and implementation of the project, launched by China, but open to the whole world.
Over the last three years the planet has watched as this important economic corridor, involving more than 100 countries and organizations, has continued to expand and be consolidated.
The forum not only represented the perfect setting to promote investments in infrastructure to facilitate connectivity between Asia, Africa, and Europe, which is the primary aim of the belt, but also to establish a new type of cooperation relationship between nations located along the trade route, defined by state-of-the-art technologies and greater added value.
A COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE
What is for sure is that a project such as the Belt and Road can only be built on the basis of the principles of shared benefit and responsibility.
Thus, increasing efforts to broaden cooperation in areas of mutual interest will contribute to providing nations involved in the project with new sources of economic development.
Beijing was a beehive of activity over recent days with more than 1,200 international delegates attending the forum, including directors, researchers, business people, representatives of financial institutions, and media organization from 110 countries – all there to discuss new spheres and channels of cooperation.
The message from China and this high-level event was loud and clear: mutually beneficial collaboration will provide an important boost to future global development.
Authorities of the world’s second largest economic power confirmed that in addition to the issues addressed in the Forum, China will also work to respond to the growing need to create cooperation platforms between nations, in response to the global financial crisis and increasing protectionism.
Looking to consolidate this economic route, which should account for over 60% of the world’s population and a third of global production, participants in the Forum discussed ways to optimize complementarity between the development strategies of each nation, and promote cooperation initiatives benefitting communities living along the trade route.
In addition to strengthening consensus around policy, transport, trade, finance, renewable energy, and maritime cooperation, the initiative also seeks to increase connectivity between peoples in order to solidify the Belt and Road as a cultural as well as economic project. Although countries will be connected via rail and maritime links, experts believe that only by involving the people will it be possible to create a genuinely successful economic corridor.
To date, this “public good” being offered by China to the world has also borne important fruits, including a notable increase in trade, investment, and over 40 signed agreements. These achievements also confirm the future of an initiative which for the moment is focused on nations located along the old Silk Road route, but will soon be open to the entire world. We have sent a positive message to the world, stated China’s President, Xi Jinping, during a press conference at the close of the event which aimed to establish strategic links between the project and development plans of countries located along the route. According to reports a total of 68 countries and international organizations singed cooperation agreement with Cuba, including over 270 projects in key areas such as policy, infrastructure, trade, finance, and connectivity.
Xi Jinping also announced that China will organize the second Belt and Route International Cooperation Forum for 2019, and called on world leaders to promote mutually beneficial collaboration efforts, increase policy coordination and strengthen cooperation toward the realization of this global trade project.