Six years on, the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has delivered tangible benefits to all participating countries and regions, taking shape as a new solution to imbalanced global development and a road toward a brighter future for humanity.
A report published Monday elaborated on the progress, contributions and prospects of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The document, compiled by the office of the leading group for promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, came in ahead of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes to seek common development and prosperity.
So far several solid steps have been taken.
-- A broad consensus has been reached. Its core concepts have been written into documents from the United Nations, G20 and APEC. By the end of March 2019, China had signed 173 cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations.
-- Infrastructure connectivity has been enhanced. Six major economic corridors connect the Asian economic circle with the European economic circle. The number of China-Europe freight trains surpassed 14,000 by March.
-- Unimpeded trade has been promoted. A network of free trade areas has taken shape, with goods trade between China and other Belt and Road countries reaching 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 16.4 percent year on year.
-- Financial integration has been strengthened. Financing programs jointly launched by the People's Bank of China and multilateral development institutions has topped 100 and covered over 70 countries and regions. Chinese banks have briskly set up overseas branches, and the renminbi payment systems have expanded.
-- People-to-people ties have become closer. Fruitful results have been achieved in education, tourism and visa exemption, health and medicine, and poverty reduction.
-- New growth drivers have been built. From 2013 to 2018, China's direct investment in the areas surpassed 90 billion U.S. dollars, and the turnover of contracted projects topped 400 billion dollars. It has signed agreements on industrial cooperation with more than 40 countries, including Kazakhstan and Brazil.
CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD
The Belt and Road Initiative has become an initiative for peaceful development and economic cooperation, the report said. "It is a process of open, inclusive and common development, not an exclusionary bloc or a 'China club.'"
It "is not a zero-sum game" and "is meant for mutual benefits and win-win and all-win outcomes," the report said.
Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, China's development achievements have been brought to other Belt and Road countries as its huge demand for imports and increasing outbound investment generated enormous growth opportunities.
According to the quantitative trade model of a World Bank study, the Belt and Road Initiative will increase the GDP of East Asian and Pacific developing countries by 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent on average.
"New momentum has been brought to the world economic recovery as efforts have been made to support multilateralism and multilateral trade system and promote free trade and investment in jointly building the Belt and Road," said Xiao Weiming, an official of the office of the leading group for promoting the Belt and Road Initiative. "New contributions were also made to the improvement of global governance."
ROAD TO BRIGHTER FUTURE
Although China will face many problems and challenges in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative in the future, there will be unprecedented opportunities for development, the report said.
"The Belt and Road Initiative will become a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovation, connected civilizations, and clean government," the report said. "It will make economic globalization become more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all."
-- Peace and security are the prerequisite and guarantee for building the Belt and Road.
-- With focus on development, the growth potential of participating countries will be unleashed and economic integration and coordinated development will be achieved. Benefits will be shared by all participants.
-- As the principle of inclusive and win-win cooperation will be maintained, efforts will be made to build an open cooperation platform and promote an open world economy.
-- A vision of green development and a way of life and work that is green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable will be pursued.
-- Innovation will be a major driver of the Belt and Road development, with more measures to support technological innovation cooperation and stronger protection of intellectual property.
-- Efforts should also be made to establish a multi-tiered mechanism for cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and build more cooperation platforms and channels.
-- Clean government is the moral principle and the legal red line that should never be crossed in Belt and Road cooperation.
Under the Belt and Road cooperation, ideas have been turned into action and vision into reality. "For the world, the Belt and Road Initiative has offered a public platform of seeking common development and prosperity and an important platform for building a community with a shared future for humanity," Xiao said.