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Opening speech by State Councilor Wang Yi at the meeting of the Advisory Council of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, 2020

fmprc.gov.cn| Updated: 2020-12-21

Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, 18 December 2020

Members of the Advisory Council,

Good evening.

It gives me great pleasure to meet with old friends. At the outset, I would like to express warm congratulations on the opening of this year's meeting of the Advisory Council of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Despite the impact of the pandemic this year, international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has continued to demonstrate strong resilience and vitality. Our cooperation has played an important role in helping countries fight the virus, stabilize the economy, and protect people's livelihoods. It has also contributed to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The world today is going through a pandemic and global changes, both unseen in a century. The life, safety and health of people around the world are under threat. With global industrial and supply chains disrupted and international trade and investment contracting, the world economy slipped into recession. Unilateralism and protectionism have been on the rise. Yet no matter how the situation may evolve, the international community's need for the Belt and Road remains unchanged; partners' support for the Belt and Road remains unchanged; and China's resolve to advance Belt and Road international cooperation remains unchanged.

Members of the Advisory Council,

President Xi Jinping has proposed making the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth. This has charted the course for Belt and Road international cooperation.

To make the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, we need to promote openness and win-win cooperation. Despite the onslaught of COVID-19 this year, BRI partners have convened 30-plus international video conferences under a dozen or so BRI multilateral platforms to coordinate policies and advance practical cooperation on finance, taxation, energy, green development, anti-corruption and other areas. The joint statement issued at the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation sent a strong message of collectively fighting the virus, strengthening connectivity and promoting economic recovery, and reaffirmed to the world the strong confidence in Belt and Road international cooperation.

The BRI is an initiative that is completely open and above board. It has followed the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, and of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It is a platform for economic cooperation, not a geopolitical tool. It is a chorus by BRI partners, not a solo show by China. We support Chinese and foreign companies in participating in cooperation projects in an open and transparent manner following market rules and the principle of fairness and sharing benefits and risks.

China is ready to continue advancing bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation in various fields with all parties to build an open world economy, and maintain the smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. Not long ago, we signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and announced our readiness to favorably consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. All this is testimony to China's firm commitment to free trade.

To make the Belt and Road a model of health, we need to further advance international cooperation against COVID-19. As the virus is still rampaging globally, countries face a daunting task of COVID-19 containment. For BRI partners, our immediate priority is to defeat the virus through solidarity and cooperation. This year, China and BRI partners have worked closely on COVID-19 control and advanced the development of a Health Silk Road. We have coordinated pandemic response measures, shared information and diagnostic and therapeutic experience, and provided each other with urgently needed medical supplies. Together, we have kept land, sea and air links open to facilitate the transportation of life-saving supplies and built a solid line of defense against the virus. Over eight million pieces of emergency medical supplies have been delivered by the China-Europe Railway Express, and over 1,700 tons of medical supplies from China have been delivered around the world through the Silk Road in the Air.

Vaccines are the focus of international cooperation for the next stage. China has joined the COVAX initiative led by the WHO. Important progress has been made in phase III trials carried out by China's vaccine companies and firms in BRI partner countries such as Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and the UAE. China will make vaccines a global public good when they become available for deployment. They will contribute to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries and deliver benefits to BRI partners.

To make the Belt and Road a model of recovery, we need to promote parallel progress in COVID-19 response and economic and social development. China has established fast tracks with many countries, BRI partners in particular, and green lanes with interested parties to facilitate personnel flows and smooth delivery of goods. Progress has been made in projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway, the China-Laos railway, and the Budapest-Belgrade railway. The metro train in Lahore, a project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is now open to traffic. With rigorous containment measures in place, many Belt and Road projects have kept going with no layoffs. A stream of new projects have been launched. Against the backdrop of the global economic recession, China's input into the Belt and Road has not decreased but kept a momentum of growth. In the first three quarters this year, China's non-financial direct investment in countries along the Belt and Road increased by nearly 30% year-on-year. China has also taken an active part in the G20's Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), ranking the first among G20 members in terms of deferral amount. We have provided support and help to the best of our ability for COVID-19 response and economic recovery in many of our BRI partners.

As we speak, world economic recovery is still facing many uncertainties. International logistics is facing an imbalance in supply and demand. We will continue to work with others to enhance the cooperation frameworks of fast tracks and green lanes, strengthen land, sea and air multi-modal transport, and further enhance the efficiency and quality of key international corridors.

To make the Belt and Road a model of growth, we need to unleash new drivers of the world economy. The BRI partners are actively developing Silk Road e-commerce, digital transport corridors, cross-border fiber optic cables for information transmission and the China-ASEAN Information Harbor. Multilateral platforms including the BRI International Coalition for Green Development, the BRI Green Investment Principles and the BRI Green Investment Fund are growing in depth and vitality.

Digital Silk Road is a priority area for BRI cooperation in the next stage. China has put forth the Global Initiative on Data Security designed to contribute to data security and development and cooperation of digital economy, and promote collective efforts toward a cyberspace featuring peace, security, openness and cooperation. Issues related to technology have been politicized by certain countries who are attempting to preserve their monopolistic position in high tech areas. Such moves are not constructive. What has happened shows that extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits represents the right way toward better global digital governance.

China is committed to environment-friendly development and is actively involved in international cooperation on climate change. It has announced that it will strive to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. By 2030, China will lower its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25%, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts. All this will catalyze the development of a green Silk Road.

Members of the Advisory Council,

Confronted by the most serious pandemic in a century, China has taken swift, resolute and extraordinary measures to contain the virus and ensure economic and social development. In the first three quarters, China's economy resumed positive growth. Production and demand continue to pick up; employment is on the whole stable; fiscal and financial performance is steady; and market expectations have kept improving. China is expected to become the only major economy to register positive growth this year. It is estimated that China's economy will contribute over one third to global growth.

The momentum of steady recovery of the Chinese economy is good news for the world. China will continue to deepen reform and expand opening-up. A growing China will help drive global growth more strongly and make greater contributions to global economic recovery.

The recently concluded Fifth Plenum of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted the Recommendations for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Goals for 2035, unveiling a blueprint for the next stage of China's development. Guided by a deep understanding of the new development stage, China will apply the new development philosophy, and foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other.

The paradigm is aimed at promoting mutual openness and mutually reinforcing development between domestic and international circulations. It will fully unlock China's market potential and facilitate greater opening-up. China has a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group exceeding 400 million. This year, the value of its domestic retail market will surpass 6 trillion US dollars. In the coming decade, total import of goods into China is estimated to top 22 trillion US dollars. The high-quality development of the Chinese economy will provide stronger impetus and create broader space for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

Members of the Advisory Council,

The BRF Advisory Council is an important platform for multilateral Belt and Road cooperation. As seasoned political leaders, experts and scholars, you all have a lot to contribute in terms of policy recommendations, academic research and international cooperation. I look forward to your insights on high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and encourage you to communicate the true story of Belt and Road cooperation to the world and bring more wisdom and resources to bear on Belt and Road cooperation.

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