The Belt & Road Initiative has achieved great outcome despite the COVID-19 pandemic and has had a global positive impact, said State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a press briefing in Beijing Sunday.
In response to a press query on what impact the pandemic has brought to the initiative and what China’s main future direction on it, Wang gave an account of China’s achievement on the Belt and Road cooperation in 2020 under the pandemic.
The Belt & Road Initiative, referring to the proposal to build a Silk Road Economic Belt & a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was proposed by China in 2013 to improve policy coordination, connectivity of facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and strengthened people-to-people exchanges on a trans-continental scale.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in many respects, but the Belt & Road Cooperation hasn’t been paused. Despite the headwinds, the cooperation forged ahead with new outcomes, strong resilience and great vitality.
We have honored the principle of discussion and held over 30 professional meetings, including high-level video conference on Belt & Road International Cooperation, deepening the concept of high-quality Belt & Road Cooperation,” said Wang.
“We have acted on the principle of joint construction. Thanks to our measures of pandemic control and prevention as well as the resumption of business activities and economic recovery, no key Belt & Road Projects were suspended during the pandemic.
Projects such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, the China-Laos Railway and the Hungary-Serbia Railway have all been making good progress, contributing significantly to stabilizing the local economy and improving the lives of the local people,” said Wang.
“We have prioritized the principle of joint benefit-sharing. In 2020, China-Europe freight trains have set a new record in both freight services and the cargo volume.
The volume of goods ferried through the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor has doubled from the previous year, which contributed to the stability and the smooth functioning of international industrial and supply chains,” said Wang.
Wang also introduced the further direction for the Belt & Road.
“The pandemic has disrupted personnel flow, but it can’t stop partner countries’ investments or support for the Belt & Road Cooperation. We are building a health Silk Road together with efforts from all parties, and the international cooperation on COVID-19 pandemic response has turned the road into ‘a corridor for life’.
We are building a digital Silk Road, a corridor of smooth information flow, which will keep countries along the road digitally connected. We’re also building a green Silk Road, under which we have intensified cooperation on green energy, green infrastructure and green finance.
Our goal is to make the Belt & Road a robust engine for low carbon transformation and green recovery in the post-pandemic era,” said Wang.
In April 2020, President Xi Jinping proposed a new “dual circulation” development pattern at the seventh meeting of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission, with domestic circulation being treated as the mainstay and the international circulation complementing it.
The new development pattern will bring a better path to the Belt & Road Cooperation, said Wang.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in profound ways. The need for the Belt & Road Cooperation has not subsided, and China’s commitment to accelerating international cooperation of the Belt & Road has not changed.
As we pursue a new development paradigm in China, we’ll explore better pathways for the Belt & Road cooperation and offer greater opportunities to our partners. We are ready to work with all stakeholders to advance high-quality Belt & Road Cooperation with renewed commitment and greater resilience.
Together, we can see that the Belt & Road leads to common development and prosperity for all,” said Wang.