Chinese State Councilor & Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Cooperation under the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) has bucked the trend to make new progress and demonstrated a strong resilience, although COVID-19 has dealt a heavy blow to the world economy and brought challenges to Belt & Road Cooperation.

In his important message to the High-Level Video Conference on Belt & Road International Cooperation held in June last year, President Xi Jinping proposed developing the Belt & Road into a Model of Cooperation, health, recovery and growth, which reflects the shared aspiration of the international community and charts the course for high-quality Belt & Road Cooperation, Wang said during an interview.

“The year 2020 witnessed BRI partners supporting each other and forging a ‘bond of solidarity’ to control the coronavirus and pursue common development.

The China-Europe Railway Express has completed more than 10,000 services, transporting more freight in the first 10 months of 2020 than the whole of 2019. Hailed as a ‘steel camel fleet’, it has helped countries with their COVID-19 response.

The Silk Road in the Air has enabled shipments of over 1,700 tons of medical supplies from China, opening up a lifeline in the air,” Wang said.

In the first three quarters of 2020, China’s non-financial direct investment in countries along the Belt & Road reached 13 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of nearly 30 per cent year-on-year, Wang said.

Most BRI projects have continued uninterrupted and without layoffs, and a number of new projects have been launched as scheduled, he said, which has brought much-needed warmth to this harsh winter in the world economy and contributed to the efforts of partner countries in fighting the coronavirus, stabilizing the economy, and protecting livelihoods.

“Facts abound to show the strong vitality of the BRI. The pandemic has not shaken the commitment of participating countries. Instead, it has highlighted the role of Belt & Road Cooperation in powering global development in a post-COVID era.” Wang said

“China is fostering a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. These efforts will not only boost the high-quality development of the Chinese economy but also provide stronger impetus, more opportunities and more effective pathways for Belt & Road Cooperation,” Wang also added.

China will work with all parties to deepen the synergy between the BRI and the development strategies of other countries, keeping in mind their needs for COVID-19 response and economic recovery, Wang said.

“We believe that by bolstering connectivity and economic reopening and by tapping into the potential of new growth drivers such as health care, digital economy and green development, we will be able to achieve higher-quality Belt & Road Cooperation,” Wang said.