Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his key address at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, elaborated on and explained the endless possibilities offered by his vision for win-win cooperation, which is laid out in the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road) Initiative.
If implemented in letter and spirit, it has the potential to provide the foundation for a new economic and political international order based on shared prosperity and peaceful coexistence.
Twenty-nine foreign leaders and more than 1,500 delegates from over 130 nations participated in the unique gathering to hear and talk about the mega Belt and Road Initiative unveiled by Xi in 2013. Some experts might have been skeptical about it at the beginning, but as Xi announced, within four years, the Belt and Road Initiative has become a reality.
Xi, at the start of his speech, delved deep into the past when the ancient Silk Road was used to travel between the East and the West and transport ideas, knowledge, goods and religious beliefs. He said the ancient silk routes united people of various civilizations. Past societies thrived on mutual learning and cooperation.
He used the success of the old Silk Road to justify the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to help everyone. He said the modern world is far more advanced and diversified, but it also needs more peace, prosperity and multilateral cooperation.
Xi's address highlighted that the Belt and Road Initiative is not empty rhetoric. Facts show a phenomenal spirit of cooperation among various countries, which has become part of the initiative. The president also supported this argument with data and examples.
It is a truly massive developmental effort, and all those who were skeptical in 2013 and are still sitting on the fence should know that the Belt and Road Initiative is a game-changer.
Xi's speech underlined China's commitment, since it is pumping vast capital and other resources into the Belt and Road Initiative.
The address not only showed the bright side of undertaking Belt and Road projects, but also the challenges ahead. Xi said issues of economic growth, trade imbalances, ending poverty, fighting terrorism and improving governance were some hurdles that should be scaled by joint efforts.
He also touched on the peace dividends and said that the Belt and Road is not just a trading route but also a road to global peace because its success depends on peaceful cooperation. Thus, by default, it has the potential to shape a new world order based on cooperation and not confrontation.
The Belt and Road Initiative has also been termed as a road to global prosperity, as its aim of interconnected development delivers benefits to all by deepening industrial cooperation and bringing focus to large-scale projects.
The Belt and Road will also be a road of innovation. Xi said innovation is important for development and the Belt and Road needs this more than anything to thrive. Innovation means building physical roads and digital highways by leveraging cutting-edge science and new technologies for development.
Xi's speech has provided a roadmap for grand global economic development and peaceful coexistence. It is true that the final goalposts are still far away, but as Xi said, the Belt and Road Initiative has taken the "solid first step" and now there is no looking back.
The author is a columnist with China.org.cn，and the article was first published on China.org.cn
Copyedited by Dominic James Madar
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