China-led BRI gets institutional underpinning as two day conference ends

Updated - May 15, 2017 10:43 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2017 10:21 pm IST - BEIJING

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Monday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a news conference at the end of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Monday.

China on Monday took the first step to institutionalise the Belt and Road Forum (BRF), with President Xi Jinping announcing that the next edition of the conclave would be held in 2019.

Mr. Xi said during an interaction with the media that the BRF — a gathering of 30 world leaders and senior officials from across the globe who had gathered to explore and co-develop the China-led blueprint of reviving the Silk Road — would be held again after two years.

“Some countries proposed that we institutionalise the belt and road forum for international cooperation… I announced at the forum that China will host the second belt and road forum for international cooperation in 2019,” Mr. Xi said at a media conference on Monday evening.

Mr. Xi stressed the BRF had emerged as a forward looking platform, which had “taken stock of cooperation, built consensus and tried to build the course with a road map and action plan.”

“So far 68 countries and international organisations have signed belt and road agreements with China.... We had an in depth exchange of views of policy synergies for closer partnership, connectivity cooperation and people to people exchanges. We have reached broad consensus and adopted joint communiqué,” he observed.

The Chinese President stressed that the BRI would be a collective enterprise which would strive to work in harmony with the national plans of the participating countries. “We support greater complementarities of belt and road initiative and development programmes of other countries and other international organisations so that they would complement each other for coordinated development,” he observed.

The statement by the Chinese President echoed remarks by the Chinese Ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui, who during a speech at a think-tank forum that India’s Act East Policy can be aligned with the One Belt One Road (OBOR) — the other name for the BRI.

Expressing commitment to sustainable globalisation, Mr. Xi said that the BRI would “rebalance economic globalisation, so that mankind will move closer to the community of a shared future.”

He stressed that the BRI, as an open and inclusive platform, would stand by the “silk road spirit” of win-win cooperation. “We will not base cooperation on ideological grounds, nor will we make a political agenda or make any exclusive arrangements,” he observed.

Mr. Xi underscored that “connectivity will remain a priority of our cooperation and we will endeavour to connect overland passages with sea ports and establish infrastructure networks of unimpeded land and sea routes.”

He also highlighted that “soft connectivity” such as information sharing and law enforcement cooperation would be stepped as part of the development of the BRI. Besides, the Chinese President said the BRI would be geared to “low-carbon development,” backed by a “sustainable financial safeguard system.”

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