By Xiang Bo
The just-concluded Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) reaffirms China’s commitment to further open up, bolster international cooperation and realize tangible benefits on the ground, experts say.
The speech delivered by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the second BRF held from April 25-27 in Beijing, “reflects another chapter of China’s opening and promoting international cooperation,” said Selcuk Colakoglu, director of Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies.
“China has increasingly become a staunch supporter of inclusive growth, common, sustainable and green development, international trade liberalization, and good global governance,” said Colakoglu.
Addressing the Belt and Road forum, Xi announced new measures for China to further open up, including broadening market access, strengthening intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, increasing imports, and setting up new free trade pilot zones.
Colakoglu, meanwhile, praised the Belt and Road for building infrastructure that “could help countries give full play to their advantages in resources and better integrate into the global supply, industry and value chains for interconnected development.”
Ismael Buchanan from the University of Rwanda said he agrees with President Xi that infrastructure is a bottleneck of development facing many countries, adding “the initiative will contribute to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, employment creation, and better integration of the world.”
On Xi’s call for high-quality development of the Belt and Road construction, Lothar Herrmann, head of Siemens Greater China, shares the view that high-quality development is the right formula going forward for this initiative.
“High quality means to construct an open and inclusive playing ground for all participants, to drive practical cooperation … and to bring tangible benefits,” he said, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has proven to be “a strong force for the development of globalization that connects people and economies.”
For professor B.R. Deepak at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, high-quality development “would be accompanied by greater opening up (of China) to the outside world.”
“I believe, this would result in the greater alignment of the development strategies of various countries, generate new growth drivers for regional as well as global growth, fight protectionism and pave the way for common development and shared prosperity,” he noted.
French expert on international relations and on China David Gosset said the Chinese president “reaffirmed his commitment to China’s new level of openness.”
It shows that China not only embraces the world in a constructive manner through a major diplomatic initiative, but the country is increasingly open to foreign business, talents and ideas, Gosset added.
“In a world of rapid changes, threatened by many divisive forces, China appears as the connector country, connecting East and West but also North and South,” noted the French expert.
Alexei Maslov said “the second Belt and Road forum is a new model of globalization … many countries support the Belt and Road Initiative as a global platform for multilateral cooperation.”
“The second forum is a new mechanism of interaction between countries,” said Maslov, head of the Oriental Studies Department of the Russian Higher School of Economics Research University.
Andrei Ostrovsky, deputy director of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said, “The second Belt and Road forum is, in fact, creating some new mechanisms and new forms of interaction between states.”
“Beijing intends to accelerate the formation of procedures that will facilitate China’s trade and economic cooperation with other states and will continue to create conditions for financing projects in the framework of the Belt and Road. Xi noted that such measures are in line with China’s policy to increase market openness,” he added.
“This means that all countries of the economic belt of the Silk Road can get real benefits from the implementation of this initiative,” he said.
Russian media reported that on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russian reporters in Beijing that he believes the initiative has a bright future.
According to the report, Putin said the initiative stems from China’s national interests while conforming to the interests of most countries and taking full account of the interests of partners.
It also represents China’s efforts to safeguard the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as to maintain global economic stability, Putin was quoted as saying.