Foreign guests at an international seminar on the Belt and Road Initiative that closed on Sept 27 praised the China-proposed initiative.
During the two-day event in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, former prime minister of the Czech Republic Jiri Paroubek said the Belt and Road can accelerate economic growth of many Eurasian countries and will also become a driving force for the overall development of the world economy.
The initiative will also promote world peace by encouraging people to focus more on business development and economic prosperity, he said.
For Charles Onuaiju, director of Nigeria’s Center for China Studies, the Belt and Road is a model of a global development initiative that stresses inclusiveness and participation.
The initiative acknowledges people’s hopes for a better life and the diversity of values in the world, he said.
During the seminar, Slawomir Jan Debski, director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, said it is understandable if small countries along the Belt and Road have doubts or hesitations about the initiative, as China is a big country.
He called for more mutual understanding and win-win strategy through Belt and Road cooperation.
The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The initiative brings together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa via overland and maritime networks.
Trade between China and the Belt and Road countries exceeded $600 billion, 26 percent of China’s total foreign trade volume, during the first eight months of 2016, said Fang Aiqin, deputy head of the Ministry of Commerce.
From January to August, China invested nearly $10 billion in countries along the Belt and Road through financial institutions including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund.
He Lifeng, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that in the three years since the launch of the initiative, over 30 countries have signed cooperation agreements with China on the matter.
According to a report published by China’s Renmin University at the seminar, more than 100 countries and international bodies are involved in the initiative and more than 30 countries along the new Silk Road have cooperation agreements with Beijing. China is also working with more than 20 nations on industrial capacity projects.
The seminar, held in Xi’an City -- a terminus of the ancient Silk Road -- has attracted about 300 guests from think tanks, media and business from around the world.