BEIJING, Oct. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held in Beijing from Tuesday to Wednesday, as the year marks the10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Leaders and representatives of countries from around the globe and international organizations have arrived in China, and Beijing is fully prepared for this major home diplomatic event.
In recent days, floral decorations, flags, and banners bearing slogans for the third BRF can be seen in many parts of the capital, and some foreign guests who came for the event told the Global Times that with so much bad news about wars, conflicts, and chaos elsewhere, China makes them believe that peace and development are still the mainstream of the world, and they are confident that by working together, members of the international community will eventually find solutions to the global challenges.
More world leaders arrived in Beijing on Monday. Following Kenyan President William Ruto and Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who arrived on Sunday, foreign leaders including Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso have arrived in Beijing for the event, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Also Arrived On Monday
During his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin is very much looking forward to having a summit with President Xi Jinping in China and participating in the forum, expressing confidence over the success of the event, according to Xinhua.
The first press briefing of the Media Center of the third BRF was held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on Monday. Officials of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and other related departments were invited to brief the press and take questions from journalists of different countries, Xinhua reported.
Chinese analysts said the BRF will be a key and historic event, because the world is in turbulence and needs solutions and answers, and China, just like it has done in the past decade, will continue playing a role in guiding and contributing to global development and governance when world peace and stability are facing serious challenges.
The BRI Has Distinguished China From Traditional Major Powers
The BRI is a rejection of zero-sum confrontation, it is not even a “national strategy” by the traditional definition, nor a policy to serve the interests of only one country, said experts.
“In the past, many people asked what China’s rise will bring to this world, and the BRI is an answer from China. The reason why more and more countries have become interested and participated in the initiative is simple: It brings benefits to everyone,” said Shen Yi, an expert on international relations and professor at Fudan University. Some Chinese netizens said the world is thread-worn and China is sewing it up, which is a vivid and accurate metaphor.
The world today needs new answers, and this is why representatives of over 140 countries and 30-plus international organizations, including state leaders, heads of international organizations, ministerial officials, and representatives of the business sector, academia, and nongovernmental organizations are expected to participate in the forum, said experts.
Expectations for the upcoming BRF are high, with national leaders, former foreign officials, foreign scholars, and representatives from foreign business communities all looking to hear about the remarkable achievements the BRI has made in the past decade and how the cooperation platform will lead to more opportunities and benefit more people. “The important thing is the celebration of the 10th anniversary of BRI and a presentation of all the BRI projects which are valued at over $1 trillion in investment,” Michele Geraci, former undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, told the Global Times.
“The forum will bring the BRI to a higher level of discussion, and really increase the image of the BRI in the eyes of many Western countries. And I also expect there will be discussions on the role of BRI in bringing peace to the world,” he noted. Mario Rendulic, President of the Chinese Southeast European Business Association, told the Global Times on Monday that the increasing number of participating countries and organizations could “lead to a more diverse range of perspectives, experience, and opportunities for collaboration.”
Having been to the BRF’s first and second editions, Rendulic noted that the third edition is “built on the progress and experiences of the previous ones,” and is thus widely anticipated to serve as a platform for countries to chart the future course of BRI, with a great emphasis on quality and sustainable development.
Rani Jarkas, Chairman Of Swiss Financial Group Cedrus Group
“I’m very interested in hearing about the latest investment themes at the summit, and analyzing how [my company] can provide support,” Rani Jarkas, chairman of Swiss financial group Cedrus Group, told the Global Times. Having traveled to many BRI countries and witnessed firsthand the great work Chinese investors are doing to benefit local communities, Jarkas praised BRI as “an astounding success and a major catalyst for global economic development.” The global vision and strategy for BRI development for the next stage, set to be discussed at the forum, has also come under the global spotlight.
Mansoor Nadeem Lari, CEO of the India-based Silk Route Trade and Industry Development Corp, who is a third-time participant of the forum, told the Global Times on Monday that the forum can bring greater consensus for discussion on a post-pandemic way forward and create a workable plan for cooperation among BRI participating countries, to “fast-track global economic recovery.”
Abid Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, told the Global Times that he will be paying attention to the opening ceremony and keynote speech by the Chinese leader, from which he expects to learn about the measures and initiatives for enhancing cooperation and partnership. “In the next stage, strengthening the synergy and coordination of BRI with other regional and global initiatives will be a focal point, with a view to promoting South-South and South-North cooperation,” Suleri said.