The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be held in Beijing from Oct. 17 to 18 as 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
In the autumn of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled his proposal to jointly build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, it has become a popular global public good and international cooperation platform.
Throughout the years, Xi has articulated the essence and distinctive features of the initiative through a multitude of captivating catchphrases. These phrases serve as windows into the profound insights that underpin this transformative endeavor.
A BIG FAMILY, NOT AN EXCLUSIVE BLOC
Xi made it clear, at the first BRF in 2017, that the BRI was not driven by outdated geopolitical maneuvering.
Instead, he emphasized, the initiative aims to create a new model of win-win cooperation and „a big family of harmonious coexistence,“ rather than forming „a small group detrimental to stability.“
Over the past decade, the BRI’s circle of friends has continued to expand, involving countries in different regions, at different development stages, and with different cultures, ideologies and social systems.
By June 2023, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation agreements with more than 150 countries and 30 international organizations across five continents.
DEVELOPMENT AS MASTER KEY
„Development holds the master key to solving all problems,“ said Xi while addressing the opening ceremony of the BRF in 2017, stressing the need to focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the growth potential of various countries, achieve economic integration and interconnected development, and deliver benefits to all in pursuing the BRI.
Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has galvanized up to 1 trillion U.S. dollars of investment globally and created more than 3,000 projects and 420,000 jobs for participating countries, facilitating the delivery of an array of national landmarks, livelihood projects, and milestones of cooperation.
As its scope expands, the BRI has become the world’s largest platform for international cooperation, with the broadest coverage.
CONNECTIVITY AS ARTERIES & VEINS
Xi has highlighted the compatible and mutually reinforcing nature of the BRI and relevant connectivity endeavor, saying, „If the Belt and Road are likened to the two wings of a soaring Asia, then connectivity is like their arteries and veins.“
To promote greater connectivity through BRI cooperation, China has continued to strengthen „hard connectivity“ in infrastructure, „soft connectivity“ through harmonized rules and standards, and people-to-people bonds.
EXPANDING PIE OF COMMON INTERESTS
At the second BRF in 2019, Xi called for continued efforts to enhance the complementarity and synergy between the Belt and Road cooperation and the development strategies and agenda at national, regional and international levels.
„Through bilateral, tripartite and multilateral cooperation, we need to encourage the full participation of more countries and companies, thus expanding the pie of common interests,“ he said.
BROAD STROKES PAINTED, TIME TO REFINE DETAILS
Xi has described the progress of the BRI as akin to creating a painting „with meticulous care.“
He said, „The outline has been sketched; now we must fill in the fine details.“
Aiming at high standards, sustainability, and better lives, the BRI has been raising cooperation standards, investment effectiveness, supply quality, and development resilience in the subsequent years, delivering real and substantive results for all participants.
A ROAD TO HAPPINESS
Xi has emphasized that the ultimate goal of the BRI is to explore new avenues for countries, near and far, to achieve common development.
He envisioned the initiative as a „path to happiness“ that would bring benefits to the entire world.
China actively promotes small-scale yet impactful projects through foreign aid, benefiting people’s lives. From Asia to Africa, Latin America to the South Pacific, the construction of roads, railways, schools, hospitals and agricultural facilities contributes to poverty reduction and improves the people’s well-being in participating countries.
Over the past decade, the BRI has helped lift about 40 million people out of poverty in participating countries.