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Jointly Build a Smart Silk Road

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-16 07:41

Jointly Build a Smart Silk Road

Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, delivers a keynote speech at the Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Sunday.

Editor's Note: Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, made a keynote speech at the Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Sunday. The following is the full text:

Your Honor, Chairman Zeng Peiyan of China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Dear guests and friends, ladies and gentlemen

Today, many eminent guests and numerous friends have gathered together in the National Convention Center for this grand and unprecedented occasion. This morning, we all attended the forum and listened to President Xi Jinping's keynote speech during the opening ceremony. From both historical and modern perspectives, he made an in-depth and comprehensive elaboration of the Silk Road spirit emphasizing peace, cooperation, opening, inclusiveness and mutual learning in the speech. He also summarized the fruitful results of Belt and Road Initiative constructions in the past almost four years, proposed the building of the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, opening-up, innovation and connection of different civilizations, and drew a clear road map for the initiative based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Many state leaders and heads of world organizations praised the Belt and Road Initiative, believing that it benefits people around the world. We can see that the initiative has awakened historical memories and given full rein to our present ideas for development, and is now becoming a harmonious refrain on the international stage.

This afternoon, more than 200 experts and academics from more than 40 countries and regions gather here for the Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges. I have met many old friends and made lots of new friends on this occasion, and I feel deep happiness to have witnessed and participated in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative together with you all. Now, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our distinguished guests coming to the forum on behalf of the sponsor of this session, the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Think tanks have the reputation of being ideological plants, and the participation of think tanks around the world is very important for the Belt and Road Initiative. The theme of the session is to "Jointly Build a Smart Silk Road," and it is also an important research project. We look forward to your active participation and contribution, and to fruitful results.

Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen:

When President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in the autumn of 2013, it was only a tiny buried seed of Oriental wisdom, whereas now, it has taken root and is beginning to sprout leaves. For the past almost four years we have been exploring the development path of the Belt and Road Initiative; some cooperation projects have come to fruition and quite a few are beginning to show good results. A great number of think tanks and academics have traced the development of the initiative and come to a consensus, which, in my view, can be briefly summed up in the following three points.

First, cooperation and win-win results are the goals of the initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative has won a warm response from the international community and more and more countries are participating in the initiative. Many have adjusted their development strategy to dock with the initiative, and signed cooperation agreements. Our circle of friends is growing fast. The success of the initiative lies in its keeping to the principle of development and cooperation, and catering for the benefits and concerns of all participating countries. The intention is to find common interests and salient ground for cooperation, and take maximum advantage of each participant's strengths and potential. All participants, big or small, whether they join early or late, join this platform for international cooperation for win-win development of their own will and are equal, and we maintain the same principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. We are living in one world, which is large enough to allow us all to develop and prosper together. The Belt and Road Initiative is not a solo act on the part of China, but a chorus, a collaborative undertaking of all countries and regions involved. It is not China's private path, but a sunny wide road open to all of us.

Second, the market system provides the impetus for the Belt and Road Initiative. With a market-driven framework, the initiative has achieved some notable successes. Certain countries have made progress in their communication and connectivity, and in economic, trade, financial and industrial investment cooperation. Some emerging multilateral financial institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, are providing products and services to the international community, resulting in the launch of a number of flagship and demonstration projects. A dozen freight train routes between China and Europe now connect the two sides, building a new Eurasia land bridge. The Belt and Road Initiative is a cooperation mechanism advocated by multiple participants, and it adheres to international rules and market principles. Investors and industrial enterprises are the protagonists on the stage, and governments are not expected to take charge of everything. Only through negotiations on all sides and following market rules can the Belt and Road Initiative develop on a broader path.

Third, inclusiveness and universal benefits give vitality to the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative aims to benefit not only China, but also the rest of the world. Although it has been proposed by China, its achievements will spread across the globe. It is an inclusive and beneficial cooperation mechanism, open to all countries. All countries and regions included in the Initiative, large and small, rich and poor, strong and weak, maintain the principles of respecting each another, helping each another, seeking common ground, and shelving differences, in their participation in the globalization process and realization of global economic connectivity. It is because of this that the membership and the influence of the initiative have increased. To move the development of the initiative forward means building a development framework with the broadest common interests that benefit all, increasing common interests, creating more jobs, and realizing an income balance, so that all countries, all social classes, and all groups will be able to enjoy the results of the initiative and economic globalization.

Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen:

All of you seated here today are leading academics in the best think tanks in the world. We need to further free our minds, reinforce our research and find more areas of consensus, in order to push the Belt and Road Initiative to a new development stage. Here I would like to make a few suggestions.

First, we should think about and analyze the initiative in the context of building a community of shared future. This concept, proposed by President Xi Jinping, is rooted in China's profound civilization and conforms to the common aspiration of people all over the world. It is China's dream and also the world's dream. A community of shared interests and shared future is both the path and the goal of the Belt and Road Initiative. We should extend our research and explain in clear terms the concept of the community of shared future and the Silk Road spirit, to guide the joint efforts of all countries along the Belt and Road routes.

Second, we should plan the initiative on the big stage of economic globalization. The international financial crisis is still influencing the world economy, which has been sluggish for many years. Trade protectionism is emerging in some countries, and anti-globalization is gaining ground. Therefore our most urgent task now is to lead the world economy out of this slough. The Belt and Road Initiative proposes an open, win-win development concept promoting policy, infrastructure and rule connectivity, which integrates the development of China and other countries and regions along the Belt and Road, thus injecting vigor into the world economy. Some experts have suggested that the Belt and Road Initiative could start a new globalization process and introduce innovation to economic globalization. I suggest that think tanks carry out research on the topic and offer some new thoughts and methods. The Belt and Road Initiative is successful in practice, and we hope it will be a great help for economic globalization in an open, inclusive and balanced environment that benefits all.

Third, we should research the initiative in the context of evolving international relations. The present world order is complex, and we are experiencing historical change and reform. China's development has attracted the attention of many in the world. Where is China heading? Is China an opportunity or a threat? Here I would like to tell you that the answers to both these questions can be found in the Belt and Road Initiative. China's development benefits from the world, and it will return this favor to the international family. The Belt and Road Initiative aims to create opportunities, promote development, bring benefits to other countries along the routes. These will surely bring more fairness and justice to the world. The more people who tramp a path, the wider it becomes. Groundless suspicion of and wild speculation about the initiative are baseless and unnecessary. Keeping a careful eye on our way while we are walking is a sound choice. So I suggest to our think tank friends that you enhance your research on the initiative, and your rational voice will continue to be mainstream opinion, which will help build a new type of international relations based on cooperation and benefits for all.

Fourth, we should seize the initiative in the broad vision of enhancing mutual learning among different civilizations. The Silk Road spirit is a precious legacy of humankind's cultural heritage passed on to us by our ancestors, which encouraged different civilizations along the ancient trade routes to influence one another and evolve. The Belt and Road Initiative looks forward to more mutual exchanges, learning, and common progress among different civilizations. It will become a bridge of friendship, a source of impetus for social progress, and a means to safeguard world peace. China has many ancient values, such as "The world is harmonious, all under heaven are of one family", "Work together with one heart to cross the river, coordinate different ideas to attain consensus for progress", "Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you", which still nourish our minds and provide wisdom for the Belt and Road Initiative today. Meanwhile, we are also willing to learn from the wisdom of other civilizations. With more exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations, the world will become more colorful and diverse. We suggest that think tank academics combine their study of the Belt and Road Initiative with the study of the cultures of China and other countries, so that all countries along the Belt and Road can learn from each other, and advance together by seeking common ground and shelving differences.

Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen:

Many think tanks have emerged and developed quickly in China in recent years, and their exchanges and cooperation with foreign think tanks are increasing. There are now more than 300 research platforms on the Belt and Road Initiative in Chinese think tanks, and more than 50 well-known foreign think tanks are also carrying out research on the topic. They have achieved some notable results. In the future we will enhance exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign think tanks, set up some think tank cooperation networks, so that they can produce more good results. We are willing to offer help and support.

The Belt and Road Initiative has broad prospects, but seeking inspiring, smart and thought-provoking research ideas is still a big challenge. I hope this session will provide a platform for you to have frank dialogues, to draw on all your wisdom, to reach for consensus. I hope that the discussions and communication in the session will inspire academic ideas for future research results, for the building of the Smart Silk Road.

Finally, I would like to wish the Thematic Session on Think Tank Exchanges complete success.

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