Xi calls for advancing Belt and Road Initiative

MOFCOM. BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for steady advance of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative to benefit people along the routes.

The Belt and Road Initiative should help promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and mutual understanding among the people, Xi said at a symposium on the initiative held in Beijing.

Priority areas for the initiative include building a platform to advance cooperation as well as a green, healthy, intelligent and peaceful Silk Road, Xi said.

The conference was also attended by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, National Development and Reform Commission’s head Xu Shaoshi, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Communist Party chiefs of Fujian, Xinjiang, Guangdong and Shaanxi, as well as experts from think tanks.

The initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

Xi said more than 100 countries and international organizations have participated in the Belt and Road Initiative. China has signed agreements with more than 30 countries along the routes to jointly build the Belt and Road, and more than 20 countries have teamed up with China in industrial cooperation.

The progress and results of the Belt and Road Initiative have been greater than expected, Xi noted.

The Belt and Road can be seen as an opportunity to promote transnational interconnection, improve trade and investment cooperation, advance cooperation in international capacity and equipment manufacturing to rebalance and stabilize the world economy, said Xi.

Against the backdrop of a sluggish global economy, the initiative will help stabilize the world economy through industrial capacity cooperation between China and countries along the routes, to advance their industrialization and modernization, as well as improve their infrastructure, Xi said.

Xi stressed that more specific Belt and Road policies should be worked out and major support should be focused on strategic projects including facilities cooperation, energy resource use and core technology research and development.

Domestic enterprises are encouraged to invest in countries along the Belt and Road and countries along the routes are welcome to do business in China, Xi said.

Xi also advocated financial innovation and cooperation in building the Belt and Road, adding the initiative should include a stable, sustainable and risk-controllable financial security system.

The Belt and Road Initiative should also be integrated with China’s regional development plans such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei coordinated development plan and the Yangtze River economic zone development plan, Xi said.

More efforts should be spent on pilot projects to generate benefits as early as possible, he added.

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