Your quick guide to what Xi Jinping said in his ‘Belt and Road’ keynote speech
China’s President Xi Jinping sought to attract countries to join his ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” at an international forum on Sunday.
Xi’s massive trade and investment grand plan seeks to connect nations along the new Silk Road routes through economic cooperation and infrastructure development.
We sum up Xi’s key offerings as covered in his keynote speech at the Belt and Road summit on Sunday morning.
China’s Silk Road Fund will increase funding by 100 billion yuan, Chinese banks will extend 300 billion yuan in overseas capital, the China Development Bank will splash out 250 billion yuan, and the Export and Import Bank of China will add 130 billion yuan in special loans to Belt and Road projects. In all, Xi pledged at least 780 billion (US$113 billion) in extra funding for the plan.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative is based on the historic roots of the Silk Road, it focuses on Asia, Europe and African continents, and is open to all friends,” Xi said.
Speaking against the rising trend of protectionism characterised by some of US President Donald Trump’s policies, the Chinese leader said that two millennia ago, the ancient trade routes used to be open, tolerant and strove towards win-win cooperation. The modern world today, being more interconnected than ever, was in a position where difficulties could be resolved in many different ways, he said.
“We are living in a world with constant challenges: The world economy needs new growth drivers, its development needs to be more balanced and universal, the wealth gap should be narrowed, while some regions are plagued with turbulence and terrorism,” Xi said. “Peace, development and governance are challenges for all human beings. This is what I keep thinking about.”
“History is the best teacher. The history [of the ancient Silk Road] showed us that we can move along with mutual respect and development and towards the future of happiness, peace and harmony if we bravely walk the first step.”
“The countries along the ancient Silk Road were once places with milk and honey, but now are full of turbulence, conflicts and crisis. Such conditions must be addressed. We must have mutual cooperation and a sustainable security outlook, try to tackle hot issues and insist on political resolution.”
China would work with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank and the World Bank to support Belt and Road projects, Xi said. An international import fair would be held in China next year. Beijing would also set up a liaison office for follow-up activities generated after the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Reaffirming China’s objectives
During his speech, Xi reiterated Beijing’s objectives for the Belt and Road initiative.
“We will not follow the old way of geopolitical games during the push for the Belt and Road Initiative, but create a new model of win-win and cooperation. It will not form a small group undermining stability, but is set to build a big family with harmonious co-existence.”
The president cited China’s previous efforts in reaching out to the rest of the world, saying that Chinese people’s interactions with the world relied not on gunboat policy, but “envoys on camels with a sincere attitude”.
“China’s construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is not to make a new start, but to connect development strategies of different countries and complement each other’s advantages ... China is willing to share its development experience with all the rest of the world, but we will not intervene into other nation’s internal affairs, export our social system and development model, nor force others to accept them.”
Reiterating the focus of the Belt and Road
“A country’s opening-up is like the creation of butterfly from cocoon. It brings rebirth with short-term pain. We must orient the construction of Belt and Road Initiative on opening-up and try to solve problems concerning economic growth and balance.”
“We will build an open platform, defend and develop an open world economy, jointly create an environment good for opening-up and development, and push for a just, reasonable and transparent international trade and investment system so that production materials can circulate orderly, be allocated with high efficiency and markets are deeply integrated.”
Development is always the key to solve any problems. So, the construction of Belt and Road Initiative should focus on this fundamental issue of development, drive up growth potentials of participating countries and achieve the economic integration, interaction and sharing.”