President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
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. Our ancestors, navigating rough seas, created sea routes linking the East with the West, namely, the maritime Silk Road.
Spanning thousands of miles and years, the ancient silk routes embody the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.
These pioneers won their place in history not as conquerors with warships, guns or swords. Rather, they are remembered as friendly emissaries leading camel caravans and sailing treasure-loaded ships.
Deficit in peace, development and governance poses a daunting challenge to mankind.
Humankind has reached an age of great progress, great transformation and profound changes.
Global growth requires new drivers, development needs to be more inclusive and balanced, and the gap between the rich and the poor needs to be narrowed
Four years on, over 100 countries and international organizations have supported and got involved in this initiative. Important resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council contain reference to it. Thanks to our efforts, the visions of the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming an reality and bearing rich fruit.
Deepened policy connectivity
We have enhanced coordination with the policy initiatives of relevant countries, such as the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, the Bright Road initiative of Kazakhstan, the Middle Corridor initiative of Turkey, the Development Road initiative of Mongolia, the Two Corridors, One Economic Circle initiative of Vietnam, the Northern Powerhouse initiative of the UK and the Amber Road initiative of Poland.
Enhanced infrastructure connectivity
China, in cooperation with relevant countries, has accelerated the building of Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, China-Laos railway, Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and Hungary-Serbia railway, and upgraded Gwadar and Piraeus ports. A large number of connectivity projects are also in the pipeline.
A multi-dimensional infrastructure network is taking shape, underpinned by economic corridors such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor and the New Eurasian Continental Bridge. The network features land-sea-air transportation routes and information expressway and is supported by major railway, port and pipeline projects.
Increased trade connectivity
Trade between China and other Belt and Road countries exceeded 3 trillion U.S. dollars in the 2014-2016 period, and China's investment in these countries surpassed 50 billion dollars.
Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating some 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue and 180,000 jobs for them.
Expanded financial connectivity
China has engaged in multiple forms of financial cooperation with countries and organizations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have provided 1.7 billion dollars of loans for nine projects in Belt and Road countries.
Strengthened people-to-people bonds
Guided by the Silk Road spirit, we the Belt and Road Initiative participating countries have pulled our efforts to build the educational Silk Road and the health Silk Road, and carried out cooperation in science, education, culture, health and people-to-people exchange. Such cooperation has helped lay a solid popular and social foundation for pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative.
A solid first step has been taken in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative. We should build on the sound momentum generated to steer the Belt and Road Initiative toward greater success.
Road for peace
We should foster a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and we should forge partnerships of dialogue with no confrontation and of friendship rather than alliance. All countries should respect each other's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity, each other's development paths and social systems, and each other's core interests and major concerns.
We should foster the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and create a security environment built and shared by all. We should work to resolve hotspot issues through political means, and promote mediation in the spirit of justice. We should intensify counter-terrorism efforts, address both its symptoms and root causes, and strive to eradicate poverty, backwardness and social injustice.
Road of prosperity
We should deepen industrial cooperation so that industrial development plans of different countries will complement and reinforce each other. Focus should be put on launching major projects. We should strengthen international cooperation on production capacity and equipment manufacturing, and seize new development opportunities presented by the new industrial revolution to foster new businesses and maintain dynamic growth.
We should establish a stable and sustainable financial safeguard system that keeps risks under control, create new models of investment and financing, encourage greater cooperation between government and private capital and build a diversified financing system and a multi-tiered capital market. We should also develop inclusive finance and improve financial services networks.
We should promote land, maritime, air and cyberspace connectivity, concentrate our efforts on key passageways, cities and projects and connect networks of highways, railways and sea ports.
We need to seize opportunities presented by the new round of change in energy mix and the revolution in energy technologies to develop global energy interconnection and achieve green and low-carbon development. We should improve trans-regional logistics network and promote connectivity of policies, rules and standards so as to provide institutional safeguards for enhancing connectivity.
Road of opening up
We should build an open platform of cooperation and uphold and grow an open world economy. We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development, establish a fair, equitable and transparent system of international trade and investment rules.
We should uphold the multilateral trading regime, advance the building of free trade areas and promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. We should also focus on resolving issues such as imbalances in development, difficulties in governance, digital divide and income disparity and make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
Road of innovation
We should pursue innovation-driven development and intensify cooperation in frontier areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and quantum computing, and advance the development of big data, cloud computing and smart cities so as to turn them into a digital silk road of the 21st century.
We should spur the full integration of science and technology into industries and finance, improve the environment for innovation and pool resources for innovation. We should create space and build workshops for young people of various countries to cultivate entrepreneurship in this age of the Internet and help realize their dreams.
Road connecting different civilizations
We should ensure that when it comes to different civilizations, exchange will replace estrangement, mutual learning will replace clashes, and coexistence will replace a sense of superiority. This will boost mutual understanding, mutual respect and mutual trust among different countries.
We should establish a multi-tiered mechanism for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, build more cooperation platforms and open more cooperation channels. Educational cooperation should be boosted, more exchange students should be encouraged and the performance of cooperatively run schools should be enhanced.
Historical and cultural heritage should be fully tapped to jointly develop tourist products and protect heritage in ways that preserve the distinctive features of the Silk Road.
We should strengthen international counter-corruption cooperation so that the Belt and Road will be a road with high ethical standards.
Guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development, we will adapt to and steer the new normal of economic development and seize opportunities it presents. We will actively promote supply-side structural reform to achieve sustainable development, inject strong impetus into the Belt and Road Initiative and create new opportunities for global development.
China will contribute an additional 100 billion yuan (about $14.5 billion) to the Silk Road Fund. China encourages financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of 300 billion yuan (about $43.5 billion).
China will provide assistance worth 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) to developing countries and international organizations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to launch more projects to improve people's well-being.
In the next five years, China will offer young foreign scientists 2,500 short-term research visits to China and train 5,000 foreign scientists, engineers and managers. China will set up 50 joint laboratories with countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.
China will set up a big data service platform on ecological and environmental protection, and propose the establishment of an international coalition for green development on the Belt and Road and will provide support to related countries in adapting to climate change.
"Neighbors wish each other well, just like family members do to each other." China always pursues friendship and partnership with its neighbors, and seeks to bring amity, security and common prosperity to its neighborhood. It practices the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and works hard to make its development bring more benefits to countries in Asia. China will work with other countries to speed up the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and hopes that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could be launched at an early date. China will get more deeply involved in the regional cooperation process, and play its due part to ensure that development and security in Asia facilitate each other and are mutually reinforcing.
In promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, China will follow the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The programs of development will be open and inclusive, not exclusive. They will be a real chorus comprising all countries along the routes, not a solo for China itself. To develop the Belt and Road is not to replace existing mechanisms or initiatives for regional cooperation. Much to the contrary, we will build on the existing basis to help countries align their development strategies and form complementarity.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not meant as rhetoric. It represents real work that could be seen and felt to bring real benefits to countries in the region. Thanks to the concerted efforts of relevant parties, the vision and action paper of the initiative has been developed. Substantive progress has been made in the establishment of the AIIB. The Silk Road Fund has been launched, and constructions of a number of infrastructure connectivity projects are moving forward.
Two years ago, during my visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia, I put forward the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The Belt and Road Initiative, as it is now called, is about openness, development and cooperation, and it calls for pursuing joint development and sharing benefits on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
The door of China's opening up will never shut and China welcomes all countries to ride on its development. China stands ready to work with other parties to make sure that the AIIB will start to operate and play its due role as soon as possible and contribute to economic growth and better livelihood in developing countries. And China continues to welcome AIIB and other international financial institutions to take part in the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
China's development has benefited from the international community, and we are ready to provide more public goods to the international community. I have proposed the initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to share China's development opportunities with countries along the Belt and Road and achieve common prosperity. Major progress has been made in launching key projects and building the economic corridors of the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is well underway.
The Belt and Road Initiative I put forward aims to achieve win-win and shared development. China remains unchanged in its commitment to foster partnerships. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, and is ready to enhance friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is the first country to make partnership-building a principle guiding state-to-state relations. It has formed partnerships of various forms with over 90 countries and regional organizations, and will build a circle of friends across the world.