The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that took place in Beijing on April 25-27 was a resounding success. It consolidated what has become the largest initiative for infrastructure and connectivity in modern history. Some 150 countries, including 37 heads of state or government, and 90 international organizations attended the event, in addition to thousands of entrepreneurs. New economic deals of one kind or another amounting to some $64 billion were signed, and new plans laid for the future, amid a refreshing atmosphere of optimism.
The China International Import Expo (CIIE), which was held Nov 5-10 in Shanghai, brought together some 3,600 foreign firms from some 150 countries, as well as 18 heads of state. It was a clear signal that China is taking a further step in its “reform and opening up” process and welcomes non-Chinese companies firms to come and sell their goods or set up businesses in China.
French President Emmanuel Macron began his three-day visit to China on Jan. 8 in Xian, a symbolic city representing the departure point of the ancient Silk Roads toward the West. In his speech on that occasion at the Daminggong Palace, he outlined his views of Franco-Chinese cooperation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which imply a definite break with the currently dominant geopolitical doctrine in the EU.
In some ways, Donald Trump’s Nov. 5-14 visit to Asia was truly historic. After the U.S. President had consolidated good working relations with Japan’s Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on the first part of his journey, his “state visit plus” to China was a high point, followed by attendance at the APEC, ASEAN and East Asia summits, coupled with state visits to the two host countries, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The most important strategic intervention at this point in time is undoubtedly Donald Trump’s trip to Asia, which takes him to five countries in Asia, and includes attendance at three summits, over the period Nov. 5-14. The most momentous event should be the talks between the U.S. President and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who just united the Communist Party of China behind his Belt and Road Initiative at the 19th Congress of the party.
On Oct. 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China Jinping by presenting an optimistic view of the future not only for China, but for the world, based on China’s recent achievements and on the course that has been charted for the next 30 years. Pointing to the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the role of science and innovation as the motor of real economic development, Xi emphasized that China is striving for “the common destiny for mankind and enduring peace and stability.”
On the eve of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China which began on Oct. 18 in Beijing, People’s Daily prepared a fast-moving four minute video giving the answers of 60 young Americans to what they think of China and its future prospects. The video features the assessment of Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the Schiller Institute, presenting her as the authority among those interviewed.
Outside of a trans-Atlantic world still dominated by geopolitics and “survival of the fittest”, another dynamic for mutual economic growth is gaining strength, as was seen at the Sept. 3-5 BRICS summit in Xiamen, China. Over the past ten years, the combined GDP of the five BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) has grown by 179% and their trade by 94%, while the group’s New Development Bank, founded in 2014, is funding important projects. All that, as Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out, has helped stabilize the global economy.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, upon his arrival in Germany on July 4, released a signed article, carried in the mainstream media, titled “To Make the World a Better Place“. In it, he notes that the “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, recently held in Beijing, is aimed at stepping up the synergy of development strategies and connectivity” among nations, and that it “chimes with the theme of this year’s Hamburg [G20] Summit.” He suggested that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and G-20 cooperation “could complement and reinforce each other…”
On May 14-15 in Beijing, the Chinese government hosted the first international high-level conference specifically called to discuss the largest development project of all times, the Belt and Road Initiative, and its international ramifications. Over 130 nations were represented at the event, including 29 heads of state and government.