WELLINGTON — China has played an increasingly key role in the world and adopted new ways to promote economic integration as reflected in the Belt and Road Initiative, a New Zealand politician said.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Nigel Haworth, president of the New Zealand Labor Party, said the Belt and Road Initiative is an important way of looking at global integration economically.
“We should all look at it very seriously and should engage with it constructively,” he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative shows that China has started looking constructively at new ways of complementing the systems of economic integration, such as the World Trade Organization and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Haworth noted.
Proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to promote trade, financial integration, infrastructure interconnectivity and people-to-people exchanges along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.
Haworth said that the lovely historical imagery about the Silk Road in the Belt and Road model forms a natural way in which China has captured its role in the global economy.
“I think the world expects China to play its role and I think China is stepping up to that challenge seriously,” Haworth said.
His confidence in China’s role is also reflected in his congratulatory message to the Communist Party of China (CPC) on its 19th national congress, which opened on Oct 18 and will draw a blueprint for China’s development in the next five years and beyond.
The CPC meeting is an important event, and it will not only chart a path for China’s economic growth and prosperity in the future, but also enhance the country’s influence on the world economy, he said in the message.
Speaking to Xinhua, Haworth, who is also an economics academic, observed that the Chinese development process since 1979 has been extraordinary in terms of economic growth and trading performance.
He counted the number of ring roads in Beijing in his every visit to the Chinese capital. There were only three when he first visited the city in the early 1990s; now there are six functioning.
Citing the country’s recent shift toward domestic redistribution and domestic consumption, Haworth said the Chinese economy has matured since the late 1970s, and the Chinese government is dedicated to engaging more people in the success of the economy.
Although different in size, China and New Zealand are open to each other and talk to each other, and thus the two sides can learn from each other, said Haworth.
He added that bilateral cooperation opportunities are abundant, as China has experience in large infrastructure projects while New Zealand does well in small business innovation, as well as research and development in agriculture.
New Zealand, he said, looks forward to talking to China on engaging with the Belt and Road Initiative in the long run.