The Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue, as part of the Boao Forum for Asia, was held in Chongqing from December 1 to 3, and brought together more than 400 Guests from 21 Countries and Regions and three international organisations to discuss the alignment of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and European development strategies.

Tang Liangzhi, Mayor of Chongqing, said that freight trains between Chongqing and Europe have made a total of 4,500 trips since the freight service was launched in 2011.

Shamshad Akhtar, a former Under Secretary General of the UN, said BRI construction could help improve infrastructure in South Asia, adding that in the next five years, the initiative could help the region deal with energy shortages, improve efficiency and reduce costs, and shorten the distance between China and South Asia and Central Asia.

Giuseppe Fedele, Minister Counsellor of the Italian Embassy in China, said China and Italy had signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. As the world sees, the co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative has facilitated global connectivity.

The BRI originates from China, and its success depends on the joint efforts of Asia, Europe, Africa, and so on, said Ban Ki-moon, the Boao Forum for Asia Chairman of the Board, who believes that the Belt & Road Construction will eventually integrate Asia and Europe economically. As he noted, unilateralism has disrupted the international order, and challenged economic globalisation.

In the past year or so, various conferences and events have been held all over the world, with a common theme of economic globalisation, free trade, multilateralism, and an open world economy. These topics must be discussed amid rising protectionism and unilateralism, he added.