International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
Friday, August 31, 2018       MONTHLY
Xi pledges to bring benefits to people through Belt and Road Initiative
By Xinhua 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C, rear), also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addresses a symposium marking the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 27, 2018 (XINHUA) 

President Xi Jinping on August 27 underlined thorough and solid cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to benefit people in countries involved and build a community with a shared future for humanity.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addressed a symposium held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, marking the fifth anniversary of the BRI.

In the autumn of 2013, respectively in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, Xi proposed the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road -- the Belt and Road Initiative for short.

Xi stressed that the initiative serves as a solution for China to participate in global opening-up and cooperation, improve global economic governance, promote common development and prosperity, and build a community with a shared future for humanity.

China's trade with Belt and Road countries has exceeded 5 trillion U.S. dollars and outward direct investment has amounted to over 60 billion dollars, creating over 200,000 local jobs, he said.

Xi pointed out that jointly pursuing the BRI was not only aimed at economic cooperation but also an important pathway to improve global development patterns and global governance and promote the healthy development of economic globalization.

"The broad support for the BRI shows aspiration from countries involved, developing countries in particular, for peace and development," Xi said, noting the BRI is an initiative for economic cooperation, instead of a geopolitical 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," Xi said.

The next priority of jointly advancing the initiative is to realize its high-quality development, he said.

Xi asked for efforts to push for progress in Belt and Road projects, especially those delivering real benefits to local people, and keep expanding the market while maintaining the balance of trade.

He advocated a policy system on financial support for the BRI and encouraged non-governmental funds to invest in infrastructure and resource development projects in Belt and Road countries.

Work should be done to boost exchanges in areas of education, science, technologies, culture, sports, tourism, health and archaeology, he said.

Xi ordered authorities to regulate investment activities and pay high attention to forestalling risks overseas.

He also stressed importance of intensifying the CPC's leadership over the joint development of the BRI.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the leading group on advancing BRI development, presided over the meeting.

Factbox: Belt and Road Initiative in five years

In just five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has grown from a concept to a key platform for building a community with a shared future for humanity and a well-received international public goods.

The following are some key facts about it.

-- In the autumn of 2013, respectively in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

-- The initiative's top-level design has been completed, with basic structures set up. Important resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council contain reference to it.

-- As of July 2018, more than 100 countries and international organizations had signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China, extending the initiative's scope from the Eurasian continent to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the South Pacific region.

-- On Nov. 8, 2014, China announced contributing 40 billion U.S. dollars to set up a Silk Road Fund to support the Belt and Road projects.

-- On March 28, 2015, China released the vision and actions on jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

-- On Dec. 25, 2015, the China-initiated new multilateral financial institution Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was established.

-- On May 14-15, 2017, the first-ever Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing, attended by state and government leaders of 29 countries. The more than 1,600 participants came from over 140 countries and 80 international organizations.

-- On Oct. 24, 2017, pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative was written into the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.

-- About 95 percent of the 279 items on the outcome list of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation had been accomplished as of July 2018. The 14 others are being worked on.

-- As of Aug. 26, 2018, the number of China-Europe freight trains has reached 10,000.

-- In the past five years, China's trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road exceeded 5.5 trillion U.S. dollars. Chinese direct investment in the non-financial sectors of these countries reached 80 billion U.S. dollars.

-- In the past five years, China set up 82 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in countries along the Belt and Road, investing 28.9 billion U.S. dollars and creating about 244,000 local jobs. As of May 2018, China had signed 16 free trade agreements with 24 countries and regions, nearly half of which are countries along the Belt and Road.

-- In the first seven months of 2018, Chinese companies raised investment in 54 countries along the Belt and Road. The 8.55-billion-U.S. dollar newly added investment represented an 11.8 percent increase year on year. New construction contracts along the Belt and Road worth 57.11 billion U.S. dollars.

-- Under the initiative, China has set up 81 education institutions and projects as well as 35 cultural centers in countries along the Belt and Road. In the first half of 2018, China spent over 270 million yuan (around 39.3 million U.S. dollars) on the Silk Road scholarships.

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