The China-U.S. confrontation has not only slowed down the world’s economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic but also destroyed the regional security environment, Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said at a recent forum, suggesting that the world’s economy and stability will benefit tremendously from China-U.S. cooperation or benign competition.
The Belt & Road Forum for International Financial Cooperation was held in northwest China’s Xi’an City last week, aiming at building a global platform for financial cooperation and innovative development of the Belt and Road countries.
The forum attracted more than 200 global political and business elites from countries including China, the U.S., Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the United Arab Emirates, discussing issues like Belt & Road Financial Cooperation, the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, combating climate change, as well as current China-U.S. relations.
On that issue, Hatoyama said in a keynote speech via video: “The U.S. government is keen to interpret the confrontation between China and the U.S. as the opposition of values.
However, the origin lies in the Thucydides Trap, which means the suspicion and disputes arising from the gradually narrowed gap in national strength between the emerging power and the existing power.”
In addition, he said that the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), which was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is proof that China has made great achievements in improving its soft power.
If the initiative can facilitate the economic development of countries along the Belt & Road with win-win results, and help alleviate poverty in developing countries in a steady manner, discussions on matters such as China Threat Theory will disappear in a flash, Hatoyama said.
“Although the Japanese government and enterprises haven’t declared their stands on BRI, I personally hope that Japan could actively participate in it and contribute to its comprehensive success together with China,” he added.
Djoomart Otorbaev, former prime minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, hailed the Eurasian rail revolution, which he said was the first achievement of the BRI in central Asia and Europe.
In March 2011, the first freight train departed from southwest China’s Chongqing to Duisburg in Germany, and in Otorbaev’s opinion, it marked the start of the real era of Eurasian rail revolution. He noted that as a new way of transport, it’s much cheaper than air delivery, and much faster than sea travel.
Now, the freight train service from China has reached 92 cities in 21 European countries. The former prime minister added that “If trains from China move to central Asia, into Uzbekistan’s railway service, they can reach Pakistan and India, and then the Indian Ocean.
Similarly, if the trains can reach Afghanistan and Georgia, they can get to the Black Sea, and through Iran and Turkey, to the Mediterranean and beyond to Europe.”
For China’s hinterland, places without direct access to the sea, it’s now much easier and faster to transport goods by rail to European markets. “Central Asians see enormous potential in such development, and they’re looking forward to this development,” Otorbaev said.
Feng Xingke, secretary-general of the World Finance Forum and director of the Center for BRICS and Global Governance, said the battle between mankind and the COVID-19 pandemic is still in a stalemate, and the pressure on the environment and climate is increasingly severe.
“Challenges as such are not only wreaking havoc on the global economy, but also threatening the survival of mankind, which urgently requires the international community to work more closely in unity and cooperation to find solutions,” he added.
Last September, Chinese President Xi pledged that China would strive to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. For Feng, this is a major strategic decision made by China based on its responsibility to build a community with a shared future for mankind and the inherent requirement of sustainable development.
He added that China’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality from peak carbon emissions is much shorter than that of developed countries, which requires painstaking efforts.
With more countries announcing their carbon emissions peak and carbon neutral targets, the world is entering a new era of green development, and green finance will become the top priority of Belt & Road Financial Cooperation, Feng said.