By Zhong Sheng, People’s Daily

Second BRF to further Belt and Road construction with concerted efforts

April 26, 2019

The eagerly-awaited second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will kick off in Beijing later this month.

The forum, the most important diplomatic event in China this year, is also a grand global gathering that attracts worldwide attention. 

At least 40 foreign leaders, as well as thousands of representatives from more than 100 countries and international organizations will attend the event themed “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”.

The second BRF is expected to mark a major milestone from which the massive Belt and Road construction will start gaining more high-quality development.

The first BRF, which was held in Beijing on May 14, 2017, achieved fruitful results, and impressed global participants as a ground-breaking and high-level event. 

It clearly pointed out direction for future Belt and Road cooperation, chartered a roadmap for the Belt and Road construction, approved a batch of key projects and depicted a bright future for the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his keynote speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the first BRF that the Belt and Road Initiative is a great undertaking which requires dedicated efforts. His remarks inspired the participants.

Since then, the BRI has been more embraced by the world. More and more countries are seeing the outcomes of win-win cooperation under the Belt and Road cooperation, the high consistency between the BRI and their own development strategies, as well as the positive progress made by the initiative in exploring new growth driver and development space.

To date, more than 120 countries and nearly 30 international organizations have signed cooperative agreements with China on the joint construction of the Belt and Road, and half of the agreements were inked in the recent two years.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres remarked that the BRI has immense potential when addressing the opening of the first BRF. Running through Asia, Europe and Africa, it is far-reaching in geography and ambition, the UN chief noted.
Now, such vision is gradually turning into reality.

Since the first BRF, the Belt and Road construction has been advancing toward high-quality development. 

The first BRF put together a list of major deliverables which includes 76 items comprising more than 270 concrete results in five key areas namely policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds. Nearly all of such deliverables have been implemented, injecting dynamism to the joint construction of the BRI.

At the first BRF, a series of measures were announced by China to support the BRI, such as to increase capital for the Silk Road Fund, to build a network of free trade areas and to launch the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan. Some of measures have been materialized, while some are in steady progress.

Furthermore, China signed Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Roadwith28 countries, jointly initiated the International Coalition for Green Development on Belt and Road with the United Nations Environment Programme, and proposed vision and actions on energy cooperation, as well as a vision for maritime cooperation at the event.

All these proposals have solidified the foundation for the Belt and Road cooperation.

Given the uprising unilateralism and protectionism, and the lowered expectations for the world economic growth, the international society is looking forward to strengthening the Belt and Road cooperation.

“The world direly needs a remedy in order to sustain the global economy which can only be done through economic and cultural interconnectivity. BRI aims to be a torch bearer to bring the financial benefits to the globe,” said Sabah Aslam, Executive Director of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR), Pakistan.

It was a common aspiration of all parties attending the first BRF to institutionalize the forum so as to provide a platform and opportunities for more countries to join the Belt and Road construction.

The second BRF is expected to gather more foreign leaders and deputies, and hold more side events, which indicates the wide support for the BRI and broad appreciation for cooperation and opportunity it creates.

The second BRF will further expand and deepen international collaborations and partnerships, said an editorial of Cambodia’s Khmer Times, expressing the anticipation of the upcoming forum of the countries along the Belt and Road.

Constructing the BRI is a project of the century. All parties should uphold the Silk Road spirit and make concerted efforts based on the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. 

To jointly build the Belt and Road into a road for peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovation and a road that brings together different civilizations, is to create a bright future for mankind.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China”, is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

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