China's Belt and Road; connecting the world
China unveiled the principles, framework, priorities and mechanism for its Belt and Road Initiative Saturday.
The plan for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road was issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's top economic planner, and the ministries of foreign affairs and commerce.
The initiative promotes orderly and free flow of economic factors, efficient allocation of resources and integration of markets by enhancing the connectivity of Asia, Europe, Africa and adjacent seas.
The plan is expected to change the world political and economic landscape through development of countries along the routes, most of which are eager for fresh growth.
OPEN TO ALL
"The programs of development will be open and inclusive, not exclusive. They will be a real chorus comprising all countries along the routes, not a solo for China itself," Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in south China's island province of Hainan.
The plan describes development of the Belt and Road as a pluralistic and open process of flexible cooperation.
"I see the initiative as crucial to linking up the globe by more opening up, and this is beneficial for China, Asian countries and other participants both politically and economically," said Hans-Paul Burkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group.
Zheng Yongnian of the National University of Singapore expects the initiative to be a new discovery process of complementary resources for countries involved.
"Some may need to improve their infrastructure; some are hungry for technology and some are cash-strapped. The development of the initiative will be a process of discovery and negotiation," Zheng added.
"The initiative is not meant as rhetoric. It represents real work that can be seen and felt to bring real benefits to countries in the region," Xi Jinping said.
In addition to the vision and action paper, substantive progress has been made on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The Silk Road Fund has been launched and a number of infrastructure projects are moving forward, Xi added. The AIIB should be established by the end of this year.
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov told the forum that Russia would apply to join the bank as a founder, the 39th country to apply.
Kazakhstan, an important participant in the belt, signed 33 deals with China worth 23.6 billion U.S. dollars Friday. The deals should set a good example for other countries, said Premier Li Keqiang.
China has comparative advantages in manufacturing, offering rich and low-cost resources for countries to enhance industrialization, said Shi Yulong, a senior researcher with the NDRC, adding that all countries can seek benefit from cooperation along global value chains.
"There are big markets out there, with opportunities to spread manufacturing and production among regions and improve efficiency. The more we work together, the more everybody will benefit," Burkner said.