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Our PM At China’s Global Meeting

The following is Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping’s essay leading up to the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing.   This week, China will host the
14 May 2017 11:13
Our PM At China’s Global Meeting

The following is Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping’s essay leading up to the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing.

 

This week, China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation (BRF) in Beijing. At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama will visit China to join the other 28 heads of state and government and over 1500 senior officials and representatives from 130 countries and 70 major international organizations in this major international conference.

The BRF will be the highest level forum under the Belt and Road Initiative since its launching over three years ago. The forum’s programme consists of an Opening Ceremony, a Leaders’ Round-table and a High-Level Dialogue. With the theme of “Strengthening International Co-operation and Co-building the Belt and Road for Win-win Development”, the forum aims to discuss ways to boost co-operation, build co-operation platforms, share co-operation outcomes and explore ways to address problems facing global and regional economy, create fresh energy for pursuing interconnected development and make the Belt and Road Initiative deliver greater benefits to the people of all countries. As the major outcome of the forum, a Leader’s Joint Communique will be published after the Round-table and more specific outcomes will be announced at the conclusion of the forum.

The Prime Minister Bainimarama is one of the 29 heads of States and Governments that are invited to the BRF. He will deliver two statements, one on “Connectivity Co-operation for Interconnected Development” and the other on “People to People Bond”.

The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which were put forward by President Xi Jinping in the autumn of 2013. The former is a gigantic economic belt across Asia, Africa and Europe that stretches over 7,000 km and encompasses 3 billion people.

The latter is an important maritime passage connecting China’s coast with Europe through the South China Sea and from China’s coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific. The Belt and Road Initiative carries forward the spirit of the ancient Silk Road featuring peace and co-operation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, and adheres to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It promotes policy co-ordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade and people-to-people bond with the aim to enhance complementarity and synergy of development strategies and promote common progress of participating countries through closer international and regional co-operation.

Since its launching, the Belt and Road Initiative has received warm responses and support from the international community. More than 100 countries and international organizations have joined this Initiative. A number of important early harvests have been made. Over 50 trade co-operation zones have been established within more than 20 countries along the Belt and Road, which has driven a total investment of 18 billion USD, creating a tax revenue of surpassing 1 billion USD and more than 160,000 jobs for the hosting countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is generating new development opportunities and delivering benefits to the whole world.

Fiji is located on the natural extension of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. As the second largest economy among the South Pacific island countries and the regional hub, Fiji is well positioned in the Belt and Road co-operation.

China and Fiji have long been partners of co-operation. We face similar development tasks and share common aspirations for betterment of our people’s lives. At the moment, Fiji is in the stage of continuous economic and social development. It is experiencing a consecutive growth over the last seven years and further growth is expected in the coming years. Development needs in various sectors are enormous. A closer co-operation under the Belt and Road framework between our two countries will enable us to tap the great potentials to benefit the country’s economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood. We need to enhance synergy of each other’s policies and development strategies to provide robust policy support and better planning for practical co-operation and the implementation of major projects, so as to make our bilateral co-operation better serve our long term development goals and promote all around development of our bilateral partnership.

China is committed to green, low-carbon development and realization of the goal of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Belt and Road Initiative also emphasizes on building up a “green, intellectual and healthy” silk road which corresponds to the Fijian Government’s Green Growth Framework. The Belt and Road Initiative provides a platform for our two countries to enhance bilateral co-operation in areas of climate change adaptation, sustainable development, ocean protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, medical care and public health.

Promoting people to people exchange is one of the priority areas of the Belt and Road Initiative. Ties and exchanges between our two peoples remain close and frequent. China has become the fastest growing market for Fijian tourism industry. Given the strong performance of Fiji’s tourism industry, an improved transportation connection between our two countries will further promote the people to people exchanges. Apart from the tourism, exchange and co-operation in the areas of culture, education, sports, science and technology, media will also flourish under the Belt and Road co-operation.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a significant public product that China provides to the international community. It was proposed by China but shared by the whole international community. It is harmonious and inclusive, open to all counties and international and regional organizations for engagement. It is a pluralistic process of co-operation which can be highly flexible, and does not seek conformity.

China is willing to work with Fiji to explore more effective co-operation patterns and methods that fit the realities and needs of Fiji and other small island developing states (SIDS) so as to make good use of the opportunities the Belt and Road Initiative brings to further promote common development and prosperity of SIDS.

The BRF will inject new impetus to the development of China-Fiji relations. I believe under the guidance of the Initiative and with the joint efforts of both sides, the strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development between our two countries will achieve new progress in the years to come.

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