The Third Forum of the Belt and Road Initiative: Another Step Towards a Multipolar World
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) brought together heads of government and senior officials from more than 140 countries and more than 30 international organizations.
The BRI Forum confirmed that the new model of interstate relations is based on the principles of “openness”, “mutually beneficial”, “mutual consultations”, and “win-win”. The principled position of all participants of the Forum is that the development of other countries should not be perceived as a threat, and economic interdependence is not a risk, but an opportunity for development.
The forum summed up 10 years of experience in implementing BRI projects and outlined a program for further cooperation within the framework of this Initiative with an emphasis on scientific and technical cooperation, digitalization of the economy, green development and humanitarian projects.
In the context of the desire of the United States to restore the hegemony of the West in the world, even at the cost of the collapse of world trade and the risk of a new world war, the BRI, in fact, is an alternative version of globalization, which is based on principles that are fairer than the Western option and, therefore, excludes artificial obstacles such as sanctions and trade wars.
Based on the principles of division, confrontation, isolation and a zero-sum game, the West imposed its leadership in the world through colonial wars, plundering other people’s resources and imposing its values by force. At the Forum, the Chinese side drew attention to the fact that China will not follow this path, which, indeed, is evidenced by the entire experience of cooperation in BRI projects.
Ready to work with other projects
The constructive position of the Chinese side implies its readiness to work, among other things, on the integration of the Belt and Road project with the EAEU within the framework of the Greater Eurasian Partnership, which can really unite the countries of Eurasia in all the diversity of their cultures, political and economic models and national interests. This is in Russia’s interests.
The Chinese side stresses at all levels that the Belt and Road project is always consistent with the development objectives of each country, so as not to contradict its national interests, since infrastructure projects are determined by the recipient country, not China. This is also evidenced by experts from the BRI countries. Sri Lankan economist Kasun Kariyawasam confirms that “Chinese loans are more flexible and do not include any non-lending conditions,” and the funds are usually channeled into “real assets that add value to the real economy.”
The BRI project is seen in China as an opportunity to dismantle neocolonialism and address the main and urgent challenge on the global governance agenda – bridging the gap between North and South. In this regard, developing countries, in particular those from Africa, were well represented at the Forum.
According to Huang Renwei, executive director of the Fudan Institute of Belt and Road and Global Governance, the Belt and Road provides an economic foundation for the Global South, connecting related countries and forming new and larger markets, and therefore developing countries are the main participants in the Forum.
Economic and humanitarian cooperation
The new model of interstate relations that will be developed within the framework of the BRI includes economic and humanitarian cooperation. Xi Jinping outlined the relevant areas of work within the framework of the BRI in eight points.
Among them, it is worth highlighting the continuation of work on the expansion of the China-Europe trade route, within the framework of which it is planned to develop the relevant railway line and organize the China-Europe Cooperation Forum on the Express Railway. China will also participate in the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor.
China will maintain an open world economy, and its total trade in goods and services is expected to exceed $32 trillion. Usd. and $5 trillion. Usd. respectively in the period 2024-2028.
What is interesting is China’s emphasis in the future not only on landmark projects, but also on “small but smart” livelihood programs.
China will also continue to implement the BRI Action Plan for Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation, which involves the exchange of diverse experiences in this field. For this purpose, the first BRI conference on scientific and technical exchange will be held.