BY SILVI WRITER
China has created more than 200,000 local jobs in Belt and Road countries, President Xi Jinping said in Beijing on Aug 27, while confirming, once again, that the Initiative doesn’t aim at building any geopolitical or military alliance.
He noted that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) doesn’t “differentiate countries by ideology nor play the zero-sum game”, at a time when the world looks like slipping back into the bleak picture of major power rivalries in recent years.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the BRI, which has recently met unprecedently tough headwinds overseas.
Some key infrastructure projects in the ASEAN region have been significantly shrank or even canceled, while some smaller countries, including even China’s “all-weather friend” Pakistan, have expressed concerns over the problem of mounting government debt when considering loans from China to finance key infrastructure projects.
Also, less than a month ago, the US revealed a $113 million Asian investment programme, which was understood as a move “in response to China’s ambitious” BRI.
Xi confirmed that the BRI would not lead to a small bloc or a “China Club”.
The BRI is aimed at building “a community with a shared future for humanity” to benefit the people in countries involved, he said.
China will uphold dialogue and coordination, pursue shared growth, seek win-win cooperation and boost communication with countries along the routes of the BRI to strengthen political mutual trust, enhance integration of economies and expand people-to-people exchanges, Xi said.
The BRI, put forward by Xi in autumn 2013, aims to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity and build a new platform for international cooperation.
China’s trade with Belt and Road countries has exceeded $5 trillion and outward direct investment has amounted to over $60 billion, creating more than 200,000 local jobs, he said.
“The broad support for the BRI shows aspiration from countries involved, developing countries in particular, for peace and development,” Xi said, noting the BRI is an initiative for economic cooperation, instead of a geopolitical alliance or military league, and it is an open and inclusive process rather than an exclusive bloc or “China club.”
The BRI “does not differentiate countries by ideology nor play the zero-sum game. As long as countries are willing to join, they are welcome,” Xi said.