Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and delivers a keynote speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday announced eight major steps China will take to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
First, China will build a multidimensional Belt and Road connectivity network, Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF).
The country will speed up high-quality development of the China-Europe Railway Express, participate in the trans-Caspian international transportation corridor, and host the China-Europe Railway Express Cooperation Forum, the president said.
He noted that China, together with other parties, will build a new logistics corridor across the Eurasian continent linked by direct railway and road transportation.
"We will vigorously integrate ports, shipping and trading services under the 'Silk Road Maritime,' and accelerate the building of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor and the Air Silk Road," he said.
Second, China will support an open world economy, with its total trade in goods and services expected to exceed 32 trillion U.S. dollars and 5 trillion U.S. dollars respectively in the 2024-2028 period, Xi said.
He said the country will establish pilot zones for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation, and enter into free trade agreements and investment protection treaties with more countries.
The country will remove all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector, he said.
Efforts will be made to further advance high-standard opening up in cross-border service trade and investment, expand market access for digital and other products, and deepen reform in areas including the state-owned enterprises, digital economy, intellectual property and government procurement, the president noted.
The country will hold the Global Digital Trade Expo annually, he said.
Third, China will carry out practical cooperation for the BRI. The country will promote both signature projects and "small yet smart" livelihood programs, the president said.
He vowed more financing support for BRI projects on the basis of market and business operation, noting that the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will each set up a 350 billion yuan (48.75 billion U.S. dollars) financing window, and that an additional 80 billion yuan will be injected into the Silk Road Fund.
China will carry out 1,000 small-scale livelihood assistance projects, and enhance vocational education cooperation through Luban Workshops and other initiatives, Xi said, adding that more efforts will be taken to ensure the safety of BRI projects and personnel.
The CEO Conference held during the forum saw the conclusion of agreements worth 97.2 billion U.S. dollars, he said.
Fourth, China will continue to promote green development. The country will further deepen cooperation in areas such as green infrastructure, green energy and green transportation, and step up support for the BRI International Green Development Coalition.
"China will continue to hold the BRI Green Innovation Conference, and establish dialogue and exchange mechanisms for the solar industry and a network of experts on green and low-carbon development," Xi said.
He added that China will implement the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road, and provide 100,000 training opportunities for partner countries by 2030.
Fifth, China will continue to advance scientific and technological innovation. China will continue to implement the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Action Plan, and hold the first Belt and Road Conference on Science and Technology Exchange, noted Xi.
The country will also increase the number of joint laboratories built with other Belt and Road parties to 100 in the next five years, and support young scientists from other countries to work on short-term programs in China, he said.
China will put forward the Global Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Governance at this year's forum. "We stand ready to increase exchanges and dialogue with other countries and jointly promote the sound, orderly and secure AI development in the world," Xi said.
Sixth, China will support people-to-people exchanges. China will host the Liangzhu Forum to enhance dialogue on civilizations with BRI partner countries, the president said.
In addition to the Silk Road International League of Theaters, the Silk Road International Arts Festival, the International Alliance of Museums of the Silk Road, the Silk Road International Alliance of Art Museums, and the Silk Road International Library Alliance that have been set up, China has also launched the International Tourism Alliance of Silk Road Cities, according to Xi.
China will continue with the Chinese government scholarship Silk Road Program, he noted.
Seventh, China will promote integrity-based Belt and Road cooperation.
Together with its cooperation partners, China will release the Achievements and Prospects of Belt and Road Integrity Building and the High-Level Principles on Belt and Road Integrity Building, and establish the Integrity and Compliance Evaluation System for Companies Involved in Belt and Road Cooperation, Xi announced.
"We will also work with international organizations to carry out research and training on promoting integrity in Belt and Road cooperation," he said.
Eighth, China will strengthen the institutional building for international Belt and Road cooperation.
China will work with its BRI partner countries to strengthen the building of multilateral cooperation platforms covering energy, taxation, finance, green development, disaster reduction, anti-corruption, think tank, media, culture and other fields, Xi said.
China will continue to host the BRF and establish a secretariat for the Forum, he said.