Xi stresses cooperation, development on new journey toward another 'golden decade' for BRI
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday hosted a banquet to welcome guests attending a high-profile forum celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), stressing the importance of cooperation and development in the pursuit of what he called another "golden decade" for the initiative.
"Belt and Road cooperation, robust and fruitful in its first decade, is now full of dynamism and vitality. We must embark with drive and enthusiasm on the new journey toward another golden decade," Xi told the guests, including state leaders and heads of international organizations, when giving a toast at the banquet held at the Great Hall of the People.
Xi, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in the name of himself and his wife Peng Liyuan, extended a warm welcome to the guests attending the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation slated for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Representatives from over 140 countries and 30-plus international organizations have confirmed their attendance at the forum. More than 4,000 delegates have registered for participation.
Amid high hopes for seeking common development and prosperity in a world of drastic changes, Xi will work with all participants to draw a new blueprint for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. He will attend the opening ceremony of the forum and deliver a keynote speech.
At the banquet, Xi struck a strong note on peace, development and cooperation while noting major global challenges.
"The world today is far from tranquil. The world economy is under growing downward pressure. Global development is confronted with multiple challenges," Xi said. "That said, we remain unwavering in our belief that the historical trend of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit is unstoppable, our people's aspiration for a better life remains strong as ever, and the desire of all countries to achieve common development and prosperity is overwhelming."
Noting that the Belt and Road cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits, and conveys a message of hope, the president called on political leaders of this generation to shoulder the responsibility of striving relentlessly to deliver benefits for the people today and the future generations.
"As long as we remain steadfast in our commitment to cooperation and common development, we will accomplish new feats in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation that reflect the spirit of the times and will create a better future for humanity through our joint efforts," he said.
In 2013, Xi unveiled his proposal to jointly build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative.
Since then, the BRI has evolved from ideas into actions and from a vision into reality. By June 2023, China had signed more than 200 BRI cooperation agreements with over 150 countries and 30-plus international organizations across five continents, yielding a number of signature projects and small-scale yet impactful projects.
Lauding the achievements in the past decade, Xi said the BRI has delivered thousands of practical cooperation projects, and produced solid and substantial results.
Upholding the Silk Road spirit characterized by peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, China and BRI partners have worked together to contribute to global connectivity, build platforms for international economic cooperation, and add momentum to world economic growth over the past 10 years, he said.
Trade and investment have prospered under the BRI. From 2013 to 2022, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and BRI partner countries amounted to $19.1 trillion, with an average annual growth rate of 6.4 percent. Cumulative two-way investment between China and partner countries came in at $380 billion during the period, including some $240 billion from China.
Over 3,000 BRI cooperation projects have been launched in the past decade, involving close to $1 trillion of investment. Many of these projects, such as railways, bridges, and pipelines, have helped build an infrastructure network that connects subregions in Asia as well as the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa.
None of the achievements of Belt and Road cooperation "simply fell into our laps or were granted by anyone," Xi said, stressing that they have been made possible by the governments, enterprises and people of participating countries through hard work, wisdom and courage.
"Let us take this opportunity to salute all those who have participated in and contributed to Belt and Road cooperation," he said.
(With input from Xinhua)
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a banquet for guests attending the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, capital of China, October 17, 2023. /Xinhua)