Belt and Road Forum concludes in Beijing with 270 concrete results
The first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation concluded in Beijing on May 15 with more than 270 deliverables achieved in boosting connectivity between countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a joint communique released after the two-day event. The document reaffirmed the vision of the initiative “to work for a globalization that is open, inclusive and beneficial to all,” and congratulated China on successfully hosting the event.
“We have reached broad consensus and adopted a joint communique,” President Xi said at a press conference after the Leaders’ Roundtable Summit on Monday afternoon, adding that the leaders agreed to set up a “stable and sustainable financial support system with risks controllable” for the Belt and Road development. They also agreed on broader channels, innovative methods, and lower financing costs, Xi said. Participants of the initiative will champion the Silk Road spirit and stay committed to win-win cooperation, meanwhile, China will not pursue any political agenda or make exclusive arrangements, he stressed.
“We support green and low carbon development,” the Chinese president said. He announced China had already signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with 68 countries and international organizations and that the country would hold its second forum on international cooperation within under the Belt and Road framework in 2019. Xi expressed his confidence in the initiative’s future and called it “a long-term undertaking.” At a separate press conference in Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said China’s Belt and Road Initiative was “timely” as the international community face growing instability.
According to the joint communique, national governments, local authorities, and enterprises reached a number of cooperation agreements, policy measures and practical results in the lead-up to and during the forum. The Chinese organizer has put together a list of major deliverables of the forum, including 76 items that comprise more than 270 concrete results in five key areas, namely policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, which are largely in line with Xi’s pledges in his keynote speech at Sunday’s opening ceremony.
China signed MOUs on Belt and Road cooperation with Mongolia, Pakistan, Nepal, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Myanmar, and Malaysia. It also signed cooperation documents with a number of international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, the UN Industrial Development Organization, the UN Human Settlements Program, and the UN International Children’s Fund.
During the forum, the Chinese government also inked economic and trade cooperation agreements with 30 countries such as Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Belarus. The list also highlighted China’s promises to scale up financing support for the initiative, including expanding the Silk Road Fund by 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion US dollars), encouraging financial institutions to conduct overseas fund business in RMB with an estimated amount of about 300 billion yuan (about 43.5 billion US dollars) and providing replenishment of one billion US dollars to the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund.
The Asian Financial Cooperation Association has been officially established, the document said. The northeastern region of China and the Far East of Russia will get more support in expanding their cooperation, as the National Development and Reform Commission of China plans to set up a China-Russia Regional Cooperation Development Investment Fund with a total scale of 100 billion yuan (about 14.5 billion US dollars) and an initial scale of 10 billion yuan (about 1.45 billion US dollars), according to the joint communique.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, foreign delegation heads and guests pose for a group photo at the Leaders’ Roundtable Summit of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in Beijing on May 15, 2017
The Belt and Road Forum is the first of its kind, and despite its tight schedule and various activities, it provided an ideal opportunity for world leaders to exchange views on cooperation and deepen their understanding of each other.The forum kicked off in Beijing on May 14. The forum, attended by more than 1,500 delegates from over 130 nations, including 29 foreign heads of state and government leaders, was the highest-level conference on the Belt and Road Initiative since Chinese President Xi Jinping first raised the concept in 2013.