For thousands of years, the Silk Road as routes of trade and cultural exchanges linking major civilizations of Asia, Europe and Africa, has contributed greatly to the progress of human civilization and the prosperity and development of the countries along the Silk Road. In the 21st century, in face of the weak recovery of the global economy, and complex international and regional situations, it is more important for us to carry on the Silk Road Spirit. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the major initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the Belt and Road). Countries and people along the route have applauded it. In recent days, the Chinese government has drafted and published the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road to promote the implementation of the Initiative, instill vigor and vitality into the ancient Silk Road, connect Asian, European and African countries more closely and promote mutually beneficial cooperation to a new high and in new forms.
More definite objectives. Promoting the Initiative to jointly build the Belt and Road, will not only meet the need of China to further expand and deepen its opening-up, but also serve the common interests of countries along the routes, and answer the call of our time for global cooperation. The Belt and Road is designed to uphold the global free trade regime and the open world economy, to carry out broader and more in-depth regional cooperation of higher standards, and to promote the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, thus realizing diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries. It will help align and coordinate the development strategies of the countries along the Belt and Road, and enable peoples of the relevant countries to understand, trust and respect each other and live in harmony, peace and prosperity.
Clearer framework. The Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe (the Baltic); linking China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through Central Asia and West Asia; and connecting China with Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Indian Ocean. The 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road is designed to go from China’s coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other. On land, the Initiative will focus on jointly building a new Eurasian Land Bridge and developing economic corridors by taking advantage of international transport routes, relying on core cities along the Belt and Road and using key economic industrial parks as cooperation platforms. At sea, the Initiative will focus on jointly building smooth, secure and efficient transport routes connecting major sea ports along the Belt and Road.
More substantial content. Realizing policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond are major 5 cooperation priorities of the Belt and Road. For the building of the Belt and Road, enhancing policy coordination is an important guarantee. We should promote intergovernmental cooperation, expand shared interests, and reach new cooperation consensus. Facilities connectivity is a priority area. We should focus on the key passageways, junctions and projects of transportation, energy and communications, forming an infrastructure network connecting all sub-regions in Asia, and between Asia, Europe and Africa step by step. Investment and trade cooperation is a major task. We should strive to improve investment and trade facilitation, and remove investment and trade barriers, so as to unleash the potential for expanded cooperation. Financial integration is an important underpinning. We should expand the scope and scale of bilateral currency swap and settlement with other countries along the Belt and Road, make joint efforts to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and strengthen financial regulation cooperation. People-to-people bond provides the public support. We should promote extensive cultural and academic exchanges, media cooperation, so as to win public support for deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not an exclusive mechanism, but an open, inclusive and systematic project. It is open to all nations and regions, covering, but not limited to, the area of the ancient Silk Road. All countries, international and regional organizations may engage in it. It is open to all ways and patterns of cooperation, following the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and taking full advantage of the existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, to promote the countries along the Belt and Road to integrate their development strategies and realize mutual complementarities. It respects the paths and modes of development chosen by different countries，abides by market rules and international norms, and accommodates the interests and concerns of all parties involved. It advocates peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. It promotes practical cooperation in all fields, and works to build a community of shared interests, destiny and responsibility featuring mutual political trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not meant as rhetoric, but represents real work that could be seen and felt. For more than a year, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have met with leaders of relevant countries, reaching a broad consensus on the Belt and Road Initiative. China has signed MOUs of cooperation on the joint development of the Belt and Road with some countries, and has promoted a number of key cooperation projects in the fields of infrastructure connectivity, industrial investment, trade and financial cooperation, cultural exchanges and so forth, where the conditions are right. A number of international summits, seminars and expos on the theme of the Belt and Road Initiative have been held. Thanks to the concerted efforts of relevant parties, substantive progress has been made in the establishment of the AIIB, the Silk Road Fund has been launched, and constructions of a number of infrastructure connectivity projects are moving forward. The Belt and Road is bringing and will continue to bring real benefits to the countries along the Silk Road.
The Belt and Road Initiative is not a private undertaking for China itself, but a common desire and common cause for all the relevant countries. China is willing to carry out joint research, forums and fairs, personnel training, exchanges and visits under the framework of existing bilateral, multilateral, regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms, so that all the relevant countries will gain a better understanding and recognition of the contents, objectives and tasks of the Belt and Road Initiative. China will join other countries along the Belt and Road to substantiate and improve the content and mode of the Belt and Road cooperation, work out relevant timetables and roadmaps, and align national development programs and regional cooperation plans. China will work with countries along the Belt and Road to steadily advance demonstration projects, jointly identify programs that accommodate bilateral and multilateral interests, and accelerate the launching of programs that are agreed upon by parties and ready for implementation, so as to ensure early harvest.
We welcome the active participation of the countries along the Belt and Road, and to make concerted efforts to pursue our common goal. Through the Initiative, we are willing to work jointly to promote the connectivity of development strategies, the project and enterprise matching and institutional connectivity. Working together we can improve the infrastructure, enhance the trade and investment facilitation, deepen our political trust, maintain closer economic ties and promote cultural exchanges among peoples around the world. Romania is an important country in Central and Eastern Europe. The Romanian side has brought up the strategy of building a “Freight Corridor between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea”, and is willing to become a bridge between China and Europe. The vision and development strategy of China and Romania coincide with each other. We look forward to seeing more Romanian friends who will seize this opportunity and join in the building the Belt and Road in various ways. I sincerely hope and truly believe that we will turn the great vision into pragmatic actions, towards a promising prospect for the Belt and Road.