CGTN: Ten years of development: How BRI grows from vision to reality

BEIJING, Oct. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — China and El Salvador have seen rapid growth in trade since they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018.

China has also increased its engagement in El Salvador’s infrastructure projects.

Projects such as the construction of the national library and the port of La Libertad not only created job opportunities for the locals, but also boosted the local economy and improved people’s livelihoods.

According to China’s General Administration of Customs, the trade volume between the two countries in 2022 reached $1.892 billion, a year-on-year increase of 9.6 percent.

“The relationship with China through the BRI for five years has been extremely productive,” Adriana Mira, vice minister of foreign affairs of El Salvador, told China Media Group, adding that it is a great opportunity to get closer to other countries within the BRI.

As one of the most talked-about buzzwords in international cooperation, the BRI, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, seeks to blaze a new trail for shared development and common prosperity through cooperation, and has achieved more than connectivity through 10 years of development.

During a visit to Kazakhstan in September 2013, Xi delivered a speech of far-reaching significance at Nazarbayev University.

In his address, Xi took the audience back to over 2,100 years ago when a Chinese envoy was sent to Central Asia with a mission of peace and friendship and opened a Silk Road that had since taken Chinese silk, tea and porcelain to other parts of the world and brought back spices, furs, fruits and precious stones.

Instead of focusing on nostalgia, he drew inspiration from the trade routes of the ancient Silk Road and proposed the idea of building an “economic belt along the Silk Road.”

A month later in Indonesia, Xi proposed the building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which, combined with the economic belt proposal, eventually became the BRI.

The initiative promotes opening-up and more inclusive growth. Xi believes that further opening up a country leads to greater strength and prosperity.

In a bid to provide financial support for the construction of BRI projects, China in 2014 announced the establishment of the Silk Road Fund with an investment of $40 billion.

In 2015, China issued the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road to accelerate the implementation of the BRI, and connect Asian, European and African countries more closely for mutually beneficial cooperation.

As a new type of multilateral financial institution initiated by China and jointly established by 57 countries, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was officially launched in January 2016.

Aiming to enhance social and economic progress in Asia, the bank has grown from 57 founding members to 109 approved members, and developed a portfolio of 202 projects in 33 countries with a total value of $38.8 billion.

In 2016, the UN Development Program and the People’s Republic of China signed an MoU on cooperation under the BRI.

This is the first MoU between the Chinese government and an international organization on promoting the initiative. Engaging an international organization is a new and innovative development in the BRI.

In May 2017, the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. More than 1,600 representatives from more than 140 countries and over 80 international organizations, including heads of state and government from 29 countries, attended the event.

The forum yielded a list of deliverables, which includes 76 items comprising more than 270 concrete results, reaching an international consensus on the joint construction of the BRI.

The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was also held in Beijing in 2019. More than 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organizations attended the meeting, including 37 foreign leaders, the UN secretary-general and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

The participating parties reached an important consensus on the high-quality joint construction of the BRI and the establishment of a global connectivity partnership, yielding a series of practical cooperation results. It means the joint construction of the BRI has entered a new phase.

As a vivid example of building a global community of shared future, the BRI has become a global public good and cooperation platform provided by China to the world, according to a white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office on September 26.

China has pursued open, green, clean and high-standard cooperation to promote sustainable development and improve people’s lives, and advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

Together, participants in the initiative have jointly advanced “hard connectivity,” “soft connectivity” and “people-to-people connectivity,” setting up an important platform that has enabled wide participation, built international consensus and pooled the strengths of all parties.

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