President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative” is the most significant and far-reaching that China has ever put forward. It has aroused great interest among the international media. To understand the initiative, we need to take a closer look at the world, China and the initiative itself. The “Belt and Road Initiative” covers 65 countries and 4.4 billion people. It is China’s most important and strategic initiative.
It is a well thought out initiative which takes into account the world’s need, the reality in Asia and China’s own situation.
In Asia, we can see East Asia, with 2.2 billion people, is continuing to grow steadily. South Asia is catching up but Central Asia still lags behind. But the economies of these three regions are highly complementary. And the “Belt and Road Initiative” aims to promote the development of all these three regions together.
If the initiative succeeds, it will provide Asia with a powerful engine for further growth, which is good news not only for Asia, but also for the whole world.
Coming to China, we see that it became the world’s second-largest economy in 2010. True, the Chinese economy is slowing down, but it still achieved a 7.4 percent growth rate in 2014. The target for this year is 7 percent, more than double the global growth rate. Given China’s growth potential, the international community expects it to provide more public goods and services. The “Belt and Road Initiative”, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund are the precise mechanisms and services China is willing to help provide for the peace and prosperity of the region.
How should we realize the initiative? Xi has proposed three “togethers”. The first “together” is discussion among the parties concerned to identify projects of cooperation for mutual benefit. The second is working together to realize the projects on the basis of common interest. And the third is enjoying together the fruits of this common endeavor. The “Belt and Road Initiative” is inclusive rather than exclusive. The United States, European countries, Japan and the rest of the world are welcome to join this huge undertaking.
The three “togethers” mean that China is not looking for unilateral gains, but working for the common prosperity, because China’s development is inseparable from the world, and the world’s stability and prosperity are inseparable from China. We all long for a more peaceful and prosperous world in this century. China is ready to work with all other countries to make our planet a better place.
The author, Wu Jianmin, is a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of China’s Foreign Ministry.