BEIJING, Oct. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — John Ross, a British writer and senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, made the remarks on Wednesday at the thematic forum on think tank exchange of the third Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation, where international dignitaries shared their appreciation of the BRI, underlining the popularity of the joint construction of the Belt and Road as an international public good and as an international platform for cooperation.
“And that is what is the two real poles in the world today,” he added.
Over the past 10 years, the BRI has evolved from ideas into actions and from a vision into reality. Speeding trains and trucks have become trade symbols in the new era, just like camel caravans in the past. Hydro stations and wind plants have helped in removing the development bottleneck for developing countries. Brand new airports, harbors, and industrial parks have brought fresh momentum to regional growth.
So far, more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements, with the initiative extending from the Eurasian continent to Africa and Latin America.
“When countries embrace cooperation and act in concert, a deep chasm can be turned into a thoroughfare, land-locked countries can become land-linked, and a place of underdevelopment can be transformed into a land of prosperity,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday when delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRF.
Looking back on the past decade, Xi said the achievements demonstrate that the Belt and Road cooperation is on the right side of history. “It represents the advancing of our times, and it is the right path forward.”
The BRI has been an important partner in the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals agenda, said Irina Georgieva Bokova, former director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, at the thematic forum.
A consensus reached among the delegates attending the BRF is that by promoting the Belt and Road cooperation, China is pursuing modernization not for itself, but for all developing countries through joint efforts.
Belt and Road projects have created new job opportunities, driven trade prosperity, promoted the economic development of dozens of countries and improved the living standards of local people, said former Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek at the thematic forum.
“It is actually the most important economic project nowadays in the world,” he said.
A key driver for a global community with a shared future, a vision proposed by China and aligned with the BRI, is globalization, which is deeply embraced by the majority of countries across the world, particularly those in the Global South.
Globalization as a growing trend not only provides access to international markets, enabling countries to increase their exports and attract foreign investments, but also fosters the transfer of technology and knowledge, which can promote innovation and capacity building. It is deepened as the BRI facilitates connectivity throughout the world.
The BRI “is a powerful engine for making globalization irreversible, because it will stay the course, and it will remain irreversible only if it could be more inclusive,” said Grzegorz Kolodko, former deputy prime minister of Poland, at the thematic forum.
“That is what is called here in China ‘win-win,'” he said.
In a world of mistrust and distorted narratives, the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), a concept proposed by China, has become a vital force in challenging cultural hegemony, as noted by Ong Tee Keat, chairman of the Center for New Inclusive Asia, as he delivered a speech at the thematic forum.
He said that BRI critics are seeking to reshape global discourse to scrutinize China’s influence, but China’s three initiatives and the BRI aim to combat misinformation by providing facts and figures, which empowers civil societies and thoughtful individuals particularly from the Global South.
The BRI transcends differences between civilizations, cultures, social systems, and stages of development, and has opened up a new path for exchanges among countries, and established a new framework for international cooperation, Xi said at the BRF’s opening ceremony.