The Silk Road had been across the continents and oceans, written a chapter of prosperity development and integration of civilizations in the history of human civilization.
More than three years ago, President Xi Jinping proposed the initiative about joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. By sea and land, contributes to China's development and promote the common prosperity of the countries along the route.
In 2016, the Belt and Road achieved a lot of achievements. In 2017, the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in China will be an important opportunity for participating countries to discuss major issues and promote higher-level cooperation.
The Year for Symbolic Projects
Kashgar, an important town in ancient Silk Road in Xinjiang, is now embarking on a more grand silk road journey as the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the fall of 2016, a trade convoy with 50 trucks starting from Kashgar Prefecture reached to Gwadar Port of Pakistani situated along the Indian Ocean, the travel distance reached more than 3,000 kilometers. The goods made in China are loaded from here and sold to the world.
“Today marks the dawn of a new era”, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he witnessed the opening ceremony at Gwadar Port, which is entrusted with the best expectation and wishes of Pakistani people. The port links the logistics between China and Pakistan from the hinterland to the ocean, is expected to grow into a port as prosperous as Shenzhen and Dubai.
As the flagship project of the Belt and Road, the driving effect of CPEC on the economy is emerging and expanding. At the Hotel Serena in Islamabad, Mustafa, the lobby manager, said that he had walked out from his hometown Gilgit along the Karakoram Highway and started his career here at the capital, “Now, I decided to return to Gilgit and ontribute to its development.”
It is not just Pakistanis who understand “To get rich, one needs to build the road first”. In February 2016, the Angren-Pap Railway Tunnel built by China Railway Tunnel Group was successfully completed. As the “First Railway Tunnel in Central Asia”, It is not only a business card for Chinese enterprises in Uzbekistan, but also connects the two parts of Uzbekistan together, ended the plight that Uzbekistan domestic transportation needs to bypass other countries. The Uzbekistan People cheered: "We have finally realized the long-awaited dream."
Large projects, wide layout, big actions... For more than three years, a magnificent picture of friendly cooperation on Eurasia has been unfolding along the Silk Road Economic Belt. Joint consulting, joint constructing and sharing are gradually becoming the common ideas. This not only awakens the world's memory and resonance to the glorious history of the old Silk Road, but also connects the development of China with the areas along the route. The operation and management mechanism of the China-Belarus Industrial Park has been further improved. The Hungarian-Serbian Railway, which was jointly built by China, Hungary and Serbia, has stepped into the stage of implementation. The depth and breadth of Cooperation between China and Central & Eastern European Countries (16+1 ) have been expanded. ...
Zhao Lei, professor of Central Party School, said: “If 2013 is the year that the Belt and Road Initiative is proposed, 2014 is the year for planning, 2015 for top-level design, then 2016 is the year for building of symbolic projects and the year for achieving consensus. It can be felt from the increased awareness of the Belt and Road in European countries.”
According to Forbes, the main reason for Europeans starting to accept and actively take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative, is the putting into use of China Railway Express, which already has achieved normal operation.
By the end of June 2016, China Railway Express had run 1,881 times, of which 502 were return trip, and reached a total import and export trade of $17 billion. Since June 2016, the appearance of China Railway Express has been unified with dark blue containers. With brand logo mainly in red and black, and shaped with speeding train and fluttering silk ribbon. It the best endorsement and symbol of the flourishing of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
The More Clear Connectivity Layout
On December 25, 2016, a road-building team is ready for working at Luang Prabang in northern Laos. Thongloun, Prime Minister of Laos, personally shoveled the ground and beat the gong which marks the launch of the whole line construction of China-Laos Railway. According to the schedule, the China-Laos Railway will be completed in 2021. At that time, it will only need four hours from the Chinese border to Vientiane. Laos with many mountains and less roads will achieve connecting on land.
Connect points into a line, then connect lines into a net. In 2016, with the deepening construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a more clear connectivity layout show the world China's determination and action.
On August 10, 2016, a crisp bell at the Athens Stock Exchange marks the delivery of a 67% stake of Port of Piraeus, which is the largest port in Greece, and China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited officially became the largest shareholder of the Piraeus Port Authority. Zou Xiaoli, Chinese Ambassador to Greece, said: “It is not only an economic project, but also a great bridge which connects the Chinese people and Greece people closely.”
From blueprint to action, from initiative to implementation. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road with quick development has earned the world praise. The National Interest of USA comments that, the Belt and Road Initiative is not just a grand economic plan, but also a model of global relations and governance. China is guiding all mankind to build a united, harmonious and prosperous world.
In Africa, Addisababa Djibouti Railway built by Chinese companies had officially opened to traffic, is a milestone cooperation between China, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
In Cambodia, 100 enterprises move in Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, which became a China-Cambodia cooperation model in the Belt and Road Initiative.
In Myanmar, multinational enterprise combination with the participation of Chinese enterprises won the bid of Myanmar Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone and Deepwater Port Project, will lead to improvements in infrastructure, employment and people's livelihood of Myanmar.
In Indonesia, the construction of Jakarta-Bandung Railway officially launched. It will connect Jakart, the the capital of Indonesia with the well-known mountain city Bandung.
China's largest investment project in Sri Lanka, the Colombo Port City Development Project has been reactivated and will be fully upgraded to create a South Asia and even a global financial and shipping hub.
From Asia to Europe, from land to sea... This is the moment to reactivate the glory of ancient Maritime Silk Road, and also the moment that realize the dream of the Belt and Road. Chhuon Dara, secretary of state of the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, said, “The Maritime Silk Road will further promote regional connectivity and benefit the entire world."
The Sincere Agreement between China and the World
Looking back at the historical nodes, the Belt and Road Initiative with the memory of ancient Silk Road, originate from the history, and came into being in the new era. The Belt and Road is the footprint of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, as well as the sincere agreement between China and the World.
In the past year, the Belt and Road construction presented a remarkable new look, from "hard connection" to "soft connection", from "physical impact" to "chemical impact" ...The prospect of the Belt and Road will be broader, wider and deeper.
Zhao Lei said: “The Belt and Road projects in previous years were more focused on energy, engineering infrastructure and other fields. Since 2016, many enterprises started to carry out cooperations in education, culture, medical, communications, etc. Achieves the interaction and integration of "hard connection" and "soft connection".
Up to now, more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their active support and participation for the Belt and Road Initiative, and more than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation documents on the Belt and Road Initiative with China. In June 2016, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at Uzbekistan's parliament, proposed that China is willing to work together with countries along the route to build a green, healthy, knowledgeable and peaceful Silk Road, and described a new vision for the construction of the Belt and Road.
Huang Rihan, executive director of the Belt and Road Institute of CCG, thinks that, the Green Silk Road means to practice the green concept and adhere to sustainable development; the Healthy Silk Road means to deepen medical and health cooperation and strengthen information exchange in fields like infectious disease; the Knowledgeable Silk Road should focus on talent training and interaction, changing the concept from “Give a Man Fish” to “Teach a Man Fishing”; the Peaceful Silk Road aims to promote world peace and stability by practicing a common, integrated, cooperative and sustainable security concept.
Looking ahead the Belt and Road construction in 2017, China and the world will write a more wonderful chapter. President Xi announced in his speech at Uzbekistan's parliament that China will held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017. And hope this forum serve as a platform for partner countries to exchange ideas, brainstorm, build consensus, and discuss construction plans.
In the eyes of scholars focus on study of the Belt and Road Initiative, the 2017 BRF is not only a phased summary of the Belt and Road Initiative, but also a new starting point.
Zhao Lei said: “The Belt and Road forward in a groping way. The forum need to do summary and convey messages as well. Chinese should take responsibility in and turn dividends into tangible gains.”
The BRF will reflect China's willingness and efforts to actively participate in global governance as a responsible country. Wang Yiwei, professor of Renmin University of China, said: “the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution calling on all countries to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. It shows that the construction of the Belt and Road is not only a matter for China, but also the countries along the route, and even the whole world".
Treat people with sincerity and trust them. The Belt and Road brings not only material development and economic prosperity, but also integration of ideas and common feelings of the people. It is China's plan and proposition for world development as well as China's practice and contribution to building a human destiny community with a shared future.
Source: XINHUANET, January 3, 2017
Headline:Two Initiatives with Fruitful Achievements: Review and Prospect of the Belt and Road