Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the second Eurasian Economic Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union via video link upon invitation and delivers a speech on May 24, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
BEIJING – As the Belt and Road Initiative drives an economically vibrant Eurasian region while delivering increasing benefits to the world, President Xi Jinping has urged stronger synergy between the initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union to boost Asia-Europe cooperation.
While addressing the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the second Eurasian Economic Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union via video link late on Wednesday, he reiterated that the ultimate goal of the BRI is to "explore new ways for countries from near and far to achieve common development and to open up a path of happiness that benefits the whole world".
The forum was held in offline and online formats in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, with the theme "Eurasian Integration in a Multipolar World". The Eurasian Economic Union is an international organization of regional economic integration whose members are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan — all of which are partners of China under the BRI framework.
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Xi said the development of China cannot be achieved without the Eurasian region, which also will benefit from the development
In a turbulent and changing world, proceeding with Asia-Europe cooperation concerns not only the well-being of people in the Eurasian region, but also will have a profound impact on global development, said the Chinese leader.
The development of China, a member of the Eurasian family, cannot be achieved without the Eurasian region, which also will benefit from the development, he added.
He expressed his hope that the synergy between the BRI and the Eurasian Economic Union will be deepened, and that all countries will work together with unity and dedication to open up new prospects for Asia-Europe cooperation.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in the second half of the year.
Xi said China is ready to work with participating countries, including the members of the Eurasian Economic Union, to continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, share opportunities and overcome difficulties in trying times to have a better future, and join hands to write a new chapter in the progress of civilizations in a multipolar world.
Guided by the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI has deepened mutually beneficial cooperation with participating countries, becoming a global public good and international cooperation platform.
Since the initiative was proposed in 2013, over 3,000 cooperation projects have been launched, involving nearly $1 trillion of investment, according to the foreign ministry. Many nations have thus realized their dreams of railways, bridges and other infrastructure as well as poverty alleviation.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a regular news conference on Wednesday that "to date, over three-quarters of countries around the world have joined this initiative, which has generated 420,000 jobs in these countries and helped more and more countries speed up economic growth. All those fruitful outcomes fully indicate that the BRI is a pathway to common development.
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"We believe that the advancement of high-quality BRI cooperation will create more opportunities for the common prosperity of countries," Mao added.
Kirill Babaev, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of China and Modern Asia, said that the BRI has promoted the development of infrastructure in the Eurasian region, bolstered the construction of transportation and logistics corridors and facilitated trade and investment, enhancing Eurasian economic integration.
Noting that China's economy has enormous potential for further growth and that it actively invests in emerging markets and develops economic projects outside China, Babaev said that given the strong economic complementarity of Russia and China, strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation will benefit the peoples of both countries.
Ren Qi in Moscow contributed to this story.