Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Ma Zhaoxu said Wednesday that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China's initiative, but the opportunities and fruits that it presents belong to the whole world.
At a high-level symposium, which was jointly sponsored by the Chinese mission to the United Nations, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Health Organization and United Nations Development Programme, the Chinese envoy said BRI aims to synergize the development strategies of various countries, strengthen international cooperation for shared prosperity in Asia, Europe and beyond, and jointly build a community of shared future for mankind.
In the fall of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The initiative is guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits.
The Belt and Road Initiative has five priorities: policy connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, trade connectivity, financial connectivity, and people-to-people connectivity, Ma explained.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development 2015 set out 17 sustainable development goals and 169 targets, charting the course for international development cooperation. The purpose of the agenda is to realize common development and prosperity for all through a stronger global partnership, he said.
The BRI and the 2030 Agenda resonate with and reinforce each other, Ma said, adding that together, they promote the cause of international cooperation for development.
Anchored in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, both are committed to multilateralism and international peace and development, Ma said.
The BRI follows an approach of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, and advocates openness and inclusiveness. The 2030 Agenda underscores international cooperation for development. Both are aimed at economic development and better lives for the people.
Being supportive of countries' own choices of development paths in accordance with their national conditions, both the BRI and 2030 Agenda reflect the desire for a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, he said.
Over the past five years, the initiative has received positive response from the international community. More than 80 countries and international organizations have signed over 100 cooperation documents with China and a large number of cooperation projects have been implemented.
Figures show that the trade volume between China and the countries involved has exceeded 4 trillion U.S. dollars, and total investment exceeded 60 billion U.S. dollars. China has opened direct flights with 43 countries along the routes. Cargo trains between China and Europe have completed 7,500 trips. Seventy-five economic and trade cooperation zones have been set up, creating more than 200,000 jobs for local people.
Africa is an important partner in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, The initiative is to meet the needs of Africa and pursue mutual benefits without imposing political conditions. The initiative will give help to Africa based on respect, and advance friendship and benefits with priority given to friendship, said Ma.
The Belt and Road Initiative involves more than 20 African countries, including Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and South Africa. Cooperation agreements have been reached on 39 major projects, covering 17 areas such as railway, highway, port and power generation.
With strong support from the Chinese government and companies, Ethiopia's first national industrial park, Hawassa Industrial Park, entered into operation in 2017 and created 60,000 jobs and an annual revenue of 1 billion U.S. dollars for Ethiopia.
New infrastructure has been built in Africa, including industrial zones, railways, motorways, airports and power plants, giving a strong boost to the development of the African continent.
Within the Belt and Road Initiative framework, the governments of China and Cambodia have jointly constructed Sihanoukville Special Economy Zone. More than 100 companies from the United States, Japan, Italy and other countries and regions have established presence there. The Special Economy Zone has created over 20,000 jobs and its total output contributed more than 50 percent to the economy of Sihanoukville Province.
The Nestor Kirchner-Jorge Cepernic hydropower complex jointly built by China and Argentina will increase Argentina's total installed power capacity by 6.5 percent. Upon completion, the 1,740-megawatt project will have an annual generation capacity of 4.95 billion kwh and create 20,000 jobs, said Ma.
Belo Monte Dam is the second largest hydropower project in Brazil, with installed capacity of 11,000 megawatt. With the introduction of China's ultra-high voltage power transmission technology, clean energy is being transmitted in large volume with low loss, all the way from the north to the southeast of Brazil, he said.
This environment-friendly project has not only boosted the development of the electricity sector and the raw material industry, but also provided green energy for economic and social development in Brazil, said Ma.
The Belt & Road Initiative is a public good that follows international rules, it is a platform for cooperation that operates in line with the law of the market, said Ma.
China has proposed the initiative for stronger economic cooperation. It is not about geopolitical rivalry. Rather than a zero-sum game, China pursues extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, he said.
In other words, all countries, big or small, join the discussion on an equal footing; all countries use their own strengths to contribute to the development of the Belt and Road Initiative; and the fruits of the initiative are shared by all countries and their people, Ma said.
The Belt & Road Initiative is an open, transparent and inclusive platform for international cooperation. All those who recognize the Silk Road spirit are welcomed to join, he said.
In May 2017, China held the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. The forum was attended by 29 heads of state and government, senior representatives of more than 140 countries, and leading officials from more than 80 international organizations. The joint communique of the leaders' roundtable meeting contains over 270 deliverables, enhancing the international consensus on the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative, Ma said.
China is ready to work with all parties, under the principle of extensive consultation, joint development and shared benefits, to implement the outcomes of the forum and deliver more benefits to people across the world, he said.
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