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The "Belt and Road" Initiative
2017-06-01

The "Belt and Road" Initiative

A Signed Article by Ambassador Zhang Weidong

2017-06-01

On June 1, 2017, the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið published Ambassador Zhang Weidong´s signed article entitled "The China's Initiative Shared by the World -- Co-Building the Belt and Road for a Community of Shared Destiny for Mankind". Following is the English translation of the article:

On May 14-15, China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, with about 1500 representatives including 29 heads of state and government attending. Since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, there have been more than 100 countries and international organizations to second it positively. Among them, 68 have signed cooperation agreements with China. By and at the forum, governments, local authorities, enterprises reached more than 270 specific achievements.

Why has the Belt and Road Initiative won such warm response and active participation and scored abundant results in the short period of 3 years and more? I think there are some reasons as follow:

The Belt and Road Initiative is for peace and cooperation. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised successively the proposals to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (shortened as the Belt and Road Initiative). China presents this initiative in order to promote global peace and cooperation. It has gained widespread support from countries all over the world which cherish peace and cooperation.

The Belt and Road Initiative is open and inclusive. It welcomes all like-minded countries and regions, no matter big or small, rich or poor, to enjoy equal treatment and joint participation. The openness and inclusiveness could be well demonstrated by representatives of the Forum from more than 130 countries and 70 international organizations, ranging from Asia, Eurasia, Europe to North America, Latin America and Africa.

The Belt and Road Initiative is of mutual learning. China is committed to the principle of joint consultation, extensive participation, and shared benefits, pushing forward the synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative with the national strategy, development vision, overall planning of the countries along the road. China welcomes all the participants to offer advices, contribute wisdom so as to make it a symphony performed by an orchestra composed of all participating countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative is for mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. China is willing to strengthen the cooperation with countries along the road so as to realize common development and prosperity.

Over the past 3 years, the Belt and Road construction has achieved significant phased results, embarked on a number of specific cooperation projects and entered into a new stage of all-round pragmatic cooperation.

As a Chinese idiom goes, "Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations". Although China and Iceland are far apart in distance, both countries aspire for peace, cooperation and development. The past 46 years since the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relations have witnessed increasingly frequent high level visits and personnel exchanges in all fields, continuously deepened political mutual trust and people-to-people friendship and fruitful achievements in economic, trade and cultural cooperation. In developing relations with China, Iceland has created many "firsts". Iceland is the first western European country to have recognized China's market economy status, the first arctic country to have signed Arctic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China, and one of the first European countries to have signed Free Trade Agreement with China. In 2015, Iceland, as one of the prospective founding members, joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a new multilateral financial institution which aims to promote infrastructure construction. China is Iceland's largest trading partner and largest source of tourists in Asia. In 2016, the trade volume between China and Iceland reached $229 million, an increase of 19.6% year on year, and the number of visitors from China to Iceland reached 66,781, a year-on-year increase of 40%. China is also a country for which Iceland has trained most geothermal technicians.

China and Iceland have broad space for more cooperation in the Belt and Road framework. The two sides can further strengthen cooperation in infrastructure connectivity, geothermal energy, Arctic affairs, education, culture, tourism and other aspects. China welcomes Icelandic friends from all walks of life to pay close attention to and participate actively in the Belt and Road cooperation so as to enhance the development of bilateral relations and bring benefits to the peoples of two countries. China is willing to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, co-build the Belt and Road with the rest of the world including Iceland on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment and jointly create a Community of Shared Destiny for Mankind of lasting peace, common security and prosperity.

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