International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
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Xi Jinping's Speech on the Belt and Road Initiative--Edited Excerpt
 

Editor's note: President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14. The following is an edited excerpt of Xi’s speech: 

The spirit of the Silk Road 

Over 2,000 years ago, our ancestors, trekking across vast steppes and deserts, opened the transcontinental passage connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, known today as the Silk Road. They navigated rough waters, and created sea routes linking the East with the West, which we now know as the Maritime Silk Road.

Spanning thousands of miles and thousands of years, the ancient Silk Road embodied the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, as well as mutual learning and mutual benefit.

Bearing rich fruit within the initiative 

In the autumn of 2013, on my trips to Kazakhstan and Indonesia respectively, I proposed a reinvention of the Silk Road, essentially the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which I call the Belt and Road Initiative.

Four years on, over 100 countries and international organizations have supported and become involved in this initiative. Important resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council contain references to it, which solidifies the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative. Thanks to our efforts, China’s vision is becoming a reality and is bearing rich fruit for all those involved.

These four years have been pivotal in overseeing deepened policy connectivity. The pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative is not meant to reinvent the wheel; rather, it aims to complement the development strategies of countries involved by leveraging their comparative strength. China has signed cooperation agreements with over 40 countries and international organizations, and carried out framework cooperation on production capacity with more than 30 countries.

Moreover, from its humble beginnings as an idea, the Belt and Road Initiative has since enhanced infrastructure connectivity. Today, a multilateral, multi-dimensional infrastructure network is taking shape, one that is underpinned by economic corridors such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, and the New Eurasian Continental Bridge. The network features land-sea-air transportation routes and an information superhighway, and is supported by major railway, port and pipeline projects.

Since 2013, there has been increased trade connectivity brought on by the Belt and Road Initiative. Total trade between China and other Belt and Road countries between 2014 and 2016 exceeded $3 trillion, and China’s investment in these countries has surpassed $50 billion.

The proposed initiative has also been successful in expanding financial connectivity. China has engaged in multiple forms of financial cooperation with countries and organizations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, unifying countries with a single vision.

The initiative has also been vital in strengthening people-to-people connectivity. Guided by the Silk Road spirit, the Belt and Road Initiative participating countries have made joint efforts to build an educational Silk Road and a health Silk Road. Such cooperation has helped to lay a solid, popular and social foundation for pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative.

Guiding principles 

Firstly, we should build the Belt and Road into a road for peace. We should foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, setting a precedent by forging partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation, and partnerships of friendship rather than alliance.

Secondly, the Belt and Road should be built into a road of prosperity. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should focus on the fundamental issue of development, unlock the growth potential of various countries, as well as achieve economic integration and interconnected development, thereby delivering benefits to all those willing to participate in pursuing our vision.

Thirdly, the Belt and Road should be built into a road of opening up. The initiative should be an open one that will achieve both economic growth and balanced development. In building an open platform of cooperation, we can collectively uphold and grow an open world economy. We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate openness and development, promoting the establishment of a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade and investment rules.

It is imperative that we build the Belt and Road into a road of technological transformation. We should pursue innovation-driven development, and intensify cooperation in frontier areas, such as the digital economy, artificial intelligence, nanometer technology and quantum computing, and advance the development of big data, cloud computing and smart cities, turning them into a digital Silk Road of the 21st century.

Last, but not least, we envisage the Belt and Road as a road connecting different civilizations. In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, we should ensure that when it comes to different civilizations, exchange will replace estrangement, mutual learning will replace clashes, and coexistence will replace the sense of superiority. We are also fully committed to strengthening international counter-corruption cooperation, so that the Belt and Road will be a trading route with high ethical standards.

New opportunities 

China will ensure the enhancement of friendship and cooperation with all countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, formed upon the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We are ready to share development experience with other countries, whilst reserving distance from their internal affairs. We have no intention to interfere, export our own social system and model of development, or impose our own will on others.

As of now, China has reached practical cooperation agreements with many countries on pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative. We will work to launch these cooperation projects at an early date and see that they deliver early benefits so that everyone involved gains.

China will scale up financing support for the Belt and Road Initiative. We will work with other parties concerned to jointly formulate guidelines for financing the Belt and Road-related development projects.

China will endeavor to build win-win business partnerships with other countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, enhancing trade and investment facilitation to build a Belt and Road free trade network, and satisfying all parties so that no one ends up losing.

China will enhance cooperation on innovation with other countries. We are currently in the midst of launching a Belt and Road science and technology innovation action plan. We will set up a big data service platform on environmental protection, and propose the establishment of an international coalition for green development of the Belt and Road. China will also provide assistance to related countries in adapting to climate change.

In the coming three years, China will provide assistance worth 60 billion yuan to other developing countries and international organizations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to launch more projects to improve people's well-being.

China will put in place a number of mechanisms to boost Belt and Road cooperation, including a liaison office for the forum's follow-up activities, a research center for Belt and Road financial and economic development, and an IMF-China capacity building center.

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