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GDN Reader's View: Risk and reward

Anwaer, Chinese Ambassador to Bahrain
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Over the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has witnessed a warm welcome and active participation in countries all over the world.

It has developed from a proposal and a vision into concrete activities.

The Belt and Road Initiative and the principle of seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution have been included into many documents of international organisations like the UN.

So far, 103 countries and international organisations have signed 118 co-operation agreements with China under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2017, the first session of the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation was held successfully in Beijing.

State and government heads of 29 countries, as well as more than 1,600 representatives of over 140 countries and over 80 international organisations, took part.

Of the 279 items on the forum’s outcome list, 265 items – or 95 per cent of the total – have been completed or have become routine works. Solid progress has also been made in a batch of co-operation projects, such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China-Laos railway, China-Thailand railway, Hungarian-Serbian railway, Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway and Gwadar Port Free Zone.

As of August 26, 10,000 cargo train journeys have been made on the China-Europe railway lines. The lines connect China with 43 cities in 15 European countries.

By June, the total volume of trade in goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road surpassed $5 trillion and China’s outward direct investment surpassed $70 billion.

China’s total investment in the economic and trade co-operation zones in countries along the Belt and Road has surpassed $20bn, creating more than 100,000 local jobs and bringing tax revenue worth billions of dollars to local governments.

China has endorsed the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road with 17 countries, greatly boosting the overseas development of Chinese financial institutions.

So far, 11 Chinese banks have set up 71 first-class branches overseas.

Joint financing services have been developed with several multilateral banks, such as the African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The control of legal risks has been tightened. The mechanisms and institutions to solve international commercial disputes under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative are being established.

Co-operation has been actively promoted in education, technology, cultural and other fields.

The “Silk Road” scholarship, Chinese overseas education institutions and other programmes have cultivated many technological and managerial professionals for countries along the Belt and Road.

In 2017, more than 300,000 students from these countries studied in China and more than 60,000 Chinese students studied in these countries.

In 2020, it is estimated that China and countries along the Belt and Road will receive more than 85 million tourists from each other, with a total expected consumption value of about $110bn.

The development of the Belt and Road Initiative over the past five years has proved that the initiative conforms to the trend of the times and the direction of development, thus winning greater international recognition and more partners, with its influence extending far and wide.

However, we should also notice that the global economy is faced with many uncertain and unstable factors.

Great changes are taking place in the world. The Belt and Road Initiative is also faced with many risks.

Therefore, we should have an objective and reasonable understanding of the achievements and problems.

We should remain resolved, use development and co-operation to solve problems, improve the safeguard system and international co-operation mechanisms, promote further, deeper development of the Belt and Road Initiative in a stable manner.

In view of the new situation, the Chinese government will continue to stick to the principle of seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution, stick to the rules of the market economy and stick to international conventions to promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative with high standards, to pursue win-win results through co-operation.

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