(ECNS) -- “The BRI's first decade has been a decade of championing the trend of cooperation and bringing benefits to the people. It is a popular initiative aimed (to make)at making the world a better place. The BRI provides not just a road to prosperity but also hope for humanity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Thursday.
In the recently released White Paper “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future”, the word “development” appeared some 200 times, making it the most used key word in the document.
“Development is a timeless theme for humanity. Breaking development bottlenecks, narrowing the North-South gap, and getting rid of development difficulties are pressing challenges for the world,” Wang said,
He emphasized that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) had paved the way for common development and prosperity for all countries in the world, demonstrating China's sense of responsibility as a major country
According to Wang, over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has followed the principles of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach and focused on connectivity—the lack of which is considered the biggest bottleneck for development.
He exemplified that a large number of landmark projects, such as the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, the Budapest-Belgrade Railway and the Piraeus Port, have been put into operation.
“The China-Europe Railway Express opened up new corridors for land transport on the Eurasian continent. The Maritime Silk Road shipping network provides services around the world. The connectivity framework of “six corridors, six routes, and multiple countries and ports” has basically taken shape,” Wang added.
“New roads, railways and airlines—like blood vessels—have greatly improved transportation, enabling a more efficient trade network and slashing the cost for accessing the global market by Belt and Road partner countries, which has boosted their own development capacity and helped build a path towards a more prosperous future,” he said.
It is also stressed that, over the past decade, the BRI has made hope real for people in participating countries who desire common development.
“The initiative is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and synergized with various countries' development strategies. It has led to over 3,000 cooperation projects, including countries' landmarks, livelihood projects, and milestones of cooperation,” Wang noted.
“Under the initiative, new bridges are built to link up roads for local communities; new schools are set up to provide more education and hope; more wells are dug to meet local need for drinking water; Juncao—a technology for growing mushrooms—has been taught as a way to help the poor better their incomes and lives; industrial parks are established which, by employing people, help lift their entire families out of poverty. And the list goes on,” he added.
It is estimated by the World Bank that by 2030, BRI-related investments could lift 7.6 million out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.
“We look forward to reviewing the experience we've gained and planning the future together with our partners at the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,” he concluded.
He hopes the BRI will serve as wings for the world on a journey towards more peace, growth, cooperation and a better future for all.