A section of the China-Laos Railway in north Laos on July 29, 2020. The project, which started in December 2016, is scheduled to be completed in December 2021 (XINHUA)
The Belt and Road Initiative is helping participating countries achieve joint development and common prosperity through promoting policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds.
The initiative has benefited participating countries, with many projects successfully launched. In addition to a railway linking Laos with China, Chinese enterprises have undertaken coal and electric power integration projects, hydropower stations and the Saysettha Comprehensive Development Zone in the Southeast Asian country. Other signature Belt and Road projects include the China-Thailand Railway, the industrial parks jointly built by China and Malaysia, and the China-Belarus Industrial Park. The Piraeus Port in Greece, once on the verge of bankruptcy, has become a hub of maritime transportation between Asia, Europe and Africa. Chinese enterprises have also built the Zemun-Borca Bridge in Serbia and a railway in Montenegro.
The China-Europe freight rail service, a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has given a strong boost to trade between the two sides. In the first half of the year, freight trips between China and European countries reached 5,122, up 36 percent over the same period last year.
On March 21, a China-Europe cargo train departed from Yiwu, the world's largest trading center for daily consumer goods in Zhejiang Province, east China, carrying supplies for tackling COVID-19. It was the first such train to deliver China-made personal protective equipment and other critical supplies to Europe. By the end of June, the China-Europe cargo trains had delivered 3.67 million anti-pandemic items.
Members of a Chinese expert team sent to Italy to help the country fight the novel coronavirus pose for a photo with local doctors in Padua, Italy, on March 18, 2020 (XINHUA)
The Belt and Road Initiative has become an important platform for participating countries to fight COVID-19. China and other participants have been helping each other in the combat: cooperating in response and control through timely sharing of information, diagnosis and treatment experience and best practices, strengthening and upgrading public health systems, promoting dialogue among health experts, and providing assistance to countries in need.
Facts have proved that the Belt and Road Initiative has not only bolstered trade between China and other participating countries but also benefited people in these countries by creating employment and boosting other aspects of social and economic development.
(The author is a professor at the Institute of Foreign Relations, Tsinghua University)