• Wang Lutong is China's ambassador to New Zealand
On May 14-15, the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation was held in Beijing, China. Over 1500 delegates from more than 130 countries and 70 international organisations participated in the forum, including 29 heads of state and government. Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech, chaired the roundtable summit and briefed the media on the results of the forum.
The forum achieved results in five key areas - policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity. The list of major deliverables includes over 270 concrete results in 76 categories.
Over 2000 years ago, ancestors of the East and West opened the transcontinental passage connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, known today as the Silk Road, and created sea routes which became the maritime Silk Road.
These ancient silk routes opened new windows of friendly engagement among nations, which embodies the Silk Road spirit of peace and co-operation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and benefit.
The Silk Road spirit has become a part of the great heritage of human civilisation. Today, humankind has reached an age of great progress and transformation with profound changes.
While the momentum for development is still strong with the progress of innovation and reform, a lack of peace, development and governance still poses a daunting challenge to mankind.
In 2013 in Kazakhstan and Indonesia, President Xi Jinping proposed the building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road - the Belt and Road Initiative. Since then over 100 countries and international organisations have supported and participated in the initiative. The policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and connectivity has been continuously enhanced and the vision of the initiative is becoming reality.
China is at a new starting point in its development endeavours. Guided by a vision of innovative, co-ordinated, green, open and inclusive development, China will inject strong impetus into the initiative to build it into a road for peace, prosperity, of opening up, of innovation, connecting different civilisations to create new opportunities for global development.
China will enhance friendship and co-operation with all countries involved in the initiative on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence..
• Work to launch the agreed co-operative projects at an early date so they deliver early benefits.
• Scale up financing support for the initiative by contributing RMB 100 billion ($20.96b) to the Silk Road Fund and encourage financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business of an estimated RMB 300b.
• Work with AIIB, BRICS New Development Bank, World Bank and other multilateral development institutions to support Belt and Road related projects.
• Endeavour to develop a win-win business partnership with other countries to build a free trade network.
• Enhance co-operation on innovation with other countries, launching the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Co-operation Action Plan.
• Provide assistance to developing countries and international organisations participating in the initiative.
• Put in place follow-up mechanisms to develop a network for co-operation among the NGOs in participating countries as well as new people-to-people exchange platforms.
New Zealand is located in the natural extension of the Maritime Silk Road. There are ample opportunities for China and New Zealand to enhance co-operation.
In March, H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China, paid a successful visit to New Zealand and over 20 concrete results were achieved, including the signing of Memorandum of Arrangement on Strengthening Co-operation on the Belt and Road Initiative, making New Zealand the first South Pacific country to sign such co-operation document with China. Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith led a high-level delegation to attend the forum, fully reflecting the importance attached to the initiative and the forum by New Zealand.
The Belt and Road Initiative is an open and inclusive development platform. All countries are equal participants, contributors and beneficiaries. The Chinese Government and people will work together with the New Zealand Government and people on the initiative and continue the joint efforts to further push forward the co-operation in various fields and scale new heights in the bilateral relations.
I'm confident that with the joint efforts, the vision of the Belt and Road Initiative can be transformed into reality at an early date to benefit the two peoples and the countries in the South Pacific region.