Humanity faces a huge challenge in ensuring security and economic growth, given the COVID-19 pandemic. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has played an important role in helping the countries involved to combat COVID-19 and stabilize the economies, has stood out against this background.
Since its conception in 2013, the BRI has grown to be the largest international platform for cooperation. 140 countries have signed cooperation agreements with China over the past eight year. China committed to making the BRI a model for health, well-being and recovery, as well as a model for growth and development, in June 2020. BRI international cooperation will play an even more important role in addressing global crises, and achieving long-term success.
We are reminded once more by the COVID-19 pandemic that all countries are interdependent and intricately interconnected. When it comes to containing the virus and restoring the economy, working together is the only way to get out. The BRI has enabled countries to increase their efforts to foster policy synergies, boost trade and overcome the negative effects of the pandemic on finance, taxation and energy. These efforts have boosted trade and confidence, which has in turn contributed to the global economic recovery.
China has been working together with other countries to contain the virus, providing medical material and sharing experiences. It has provided over 700 million COVID-19 vaccinations to more than 90 countries. China and 28 other countries launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership for COVID-19 Vaccines Collaboration in June to make COVID-19 vaccines more affordable and accessible in BRI and other developing nations.
The key is to contain the virus quickly and restart production so that people can return to normal as soon possible. Despite these headwinds, many BRI cooperation projects have been able to continue without interruption, even though strict pandemic control and prevention measures were taken. Some new BRI projects have also been launched. International cooperation within the BRI framework has been a great shield for many countries and regions in the aftermath of the pandemic. In the days ahead, this cooperation will play an even greater role in stabilizing supply chains and industrial value chains.
On the contrary, economic transformation is being driven by the pandemic. The “digital economy” as well as “green development” are likely to be new drivers in order for BRI cooperation to move forward in a sustainable way. China places great importance on the development of digital economy and green-growth. Many countries have taken advantage of opportunities to work with China in areas like digital industry, green finance and green infrastructure to help them tap their potential growth and increase global economic growth.
China is now in a new era of development, while reaching its first centenary goal to create a moderately wealthy society in all aspects. China’s market will continue to grow. China’s view of high-quality BRI cooperation will open up more opportunities for countries to cooperate in pragmatic ways. More people will be able to benefit from its vision of closer partnerships for cooperation in the areas of health, connectivity and green development.