When visiting Kazakhstan and Indonesia in September and October of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as theBelt and Road, orB&R). The Chinese government then set up the Leading Group for Promoting theBelt and Road Initiativewith an administrative office under the National Development and Reform Commission. In March 2015, the Chinese government published the “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Eco- nomic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”. In May 2017, the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was convened in Beijing. China also hosted the Boao Forum for Asia annual conferences, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Qingdao Summit, the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the China International Import Expo. Over the past five years, theBelt and Road Initiativehas won positive responses from numerous countries and international organizations and has attracted worldwide attention. Its influence is growing.
TheBelt and Road Initiativeoriginated in China, but it belongs to the world. It is rooted in history, but oriented toward the future. It focuses on Asia, Europe and Africa, but is open to all partners. It spans different countries and regions, different stages of development, different historical traditions, different cultures and religions, and different customs and lifestyles. It is an initiative for peaceful development and economic cooperation, rather than a geopolitical or military alliance. It is a process of open, inclusive and common development, not an exclusionary bloc or a “China club”. It neither differentiates between countries by ideology nor plays the zero-sum game. Countries are welcome to join in the initiative if they so will.
TheBelt and Road Initiativeupholds the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. It follows a Silk Road spirit featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. It focuses on policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and closer people-to-people ties. It has turned ideas into actions and vision into reality, and the initiative itself into a public product widely welcomed by the international community.
When presiding over a symposium in August 2018 that marked the fifth anniversary of theBelt and Road Initiative, President Xi said that in advancing the initiative, we should transition from making high-level plans to intensive and meticulous implementation, so as to realize high-quality development, bring benefits to local people, and build a global community of shared future.