BEIJING–United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterras will attend a two-day Belt & Road Forum (BRF) on International Cooperation, hoping the participants could extra utmost value of China’s initiative to attain inclusive and strong global economy.
”I’m expecting to participate in the discussion to see how we can extract the maximum possible value of the Belt and Road Initiative for global inclusive and sustainable development,” Guterras said in a statement provided by Belt & Road Forum organizing committee.
Guterras described the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by Chinese President Xi Jingping in 2013, as extremely useful and very important instrument to meet the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
”Multilateralism is the solution to global problems. And China has been a strong pillar of multilateralism,” the UN official said.
”When we look at BRI, we see a very important contribution to this solidarity in addressing global problems with international cooperation, where China plays a very central role. So I’m very happy to have the chance to participate in this Belt and Road summit,” he added.
Guterras will be joined by 89 principals and representatives from 61 international organizations, including World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and the International Monetary Fund managing director of Christine Lagarde.
A total of 29 heads of states and government leaders, including Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, will attend the Forum to be held on May 14-15 at the Great Hall of China here.
President Duterte, who first visited Beijing in October last year, will be joined by fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) leaders Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.
Other leaders coming for Belt & Road Forum are Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Doris Leuthard of the Swiss Confederation, Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Milos Zeman of Czech Republic, Nursultan Nazarbeyev of Kazakhstan, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan and Almazbek Atambayev of Krygyzstan
The Prime Ministers include Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Viktor Orban of Hungary, Paolo Gentiloni of Italy, Jargaltulga Erdenebat of Mongolia, Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, Beata Szydlo of Poland, Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, Mariano Rajoy of Spain and Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka.
Czech President Zeman said the Belt & Road is the world’s largest initiative for infrastructure construction that “will improve people-to-people exchanges.”
”I am glad to see that the Belt and Road Initiative, which connects China and Europe, also includes the Czech Republic,” he said.
Belarusian President Lukashenko said the BRI “is providing a new economic growth point for the world.”
”The most important feature of the Belt and Road is that during its development, China has never raised any requirements to participating countries, thus creating no disagreements,” Lukashenko said.
Mongolian Prime Minister Erdenebat said Mongolia attaches great significance to the BRI in tackling the imbalance in mankind’s development and promoting world peace and development.
”Mongolia is ready to play its role as a bridge and participate in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Erdenebat said in China Daily’s report.
Ethiopian President Desalegan said China and Ethiopia has a wide range areas of cooperation like economic and trade, investment, production capacity and infrastructure.
”The initiative is a farsighted proposal of global significance, and it will be helpful in promoting connectivity and facilitating trade and investment cooperation,” he said.
The Foreign Ministry Affairs has yet to finalize how many from the 29 heads of state and government leaders will have bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to promote interconnectivity in terms of infrastructures, policy communication, trade, culture, education, health and people-to-people in countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road routes.
Kejin Zhao, a professor of Tsinghua University, said the BRI is a systematic project which should be built through consultation to meet the interest of everyone in the participating countries.
”It will connect Asian, European and African countries more closely and promote mutually beneficial cooperation to a new high and in new forms,” Zhao said in a recent lecture attended by 44 journalists from Asia and Africa.
Zhao said China has committed USD200 billion in the BRI with half of it to be used for the buildings of infrastructure projects such roads, railways and ports that will connect countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
China, the world’s second largest economy, has achieved USD 953.59 billion worth of trades with Belt and Road countries in 2016.
”Countries should work in concerted efforts and move towards the objectives of mutual benefit and common security,” Zhao said.
He added that Belt and Road Initiative is open, inclusive, mutual beneficial and participatory.
Around 1,500 delegates will attended the BRF to be covered by 4,000 local and foreign journalists, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry Affairs office.