Global Insights on BRI丨Former Vice President of German Bundestag: BRI has brought Asia and Europe even closer

2023-10-11 Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

By Peng Dawei, Wu Xinru

(ECNS) -- The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has brought Asia and Europe even closer and provided crucial momentum for various regions around the world, said Hans-Peter Friedrich, chairman of the German-Chinese parliamentary group and former vice president of German Bundestag, in a recent exclusive interview with China News Network.

He praised the initiative for its unique scale and benefiting all participating countries. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its proposal, he looks forward to all parties continuing to push it forward. 

A Particularly Successful Initiative

In the interview, he talked about the achievements of the BRI in the past decade and pointed out that its scale is unique because it covers so many dimensions. “In fact, many countries worldwide have already joined this global network of the BRI,” he said.

In his opinion, the initiative is particularly successful from China's perspective. Through the joint building of the Belt and Road, the channels of sales, procurement and interconnectivity between China and countries within the BRI have been refined. He considers this to be a significant advantage of the initiative.

“I also believe that the countries within the initiative will benefit to some extent. International trade will be upgraded. Communication will be strengthened,” said Friedrich. “The initiative will provide crucial momentum for various regions around the world,” he added.

On expectations for the future development of the BRI, Friedrich shared his idea that the initiative has been a driving force for global economy and the key now is how to continue advancing collaborative efforts.

“It is a process of building infrastructure on a global scale. And I believe the BRI has the potential to boost growth worldwide,” Friedrich expressed his optimism about the prospect. 

A China-Europe freight train was launched. (File photo/China News Service)

Great Potential for People-to-people Exchanges

How has the BRI enhanced mutual understanding between two countries over the past decade? How can the two countries better exploit the potential of people-to-people exchanges under the framework of the BRI?

In response to the above questions, Friedrich suggests that building infrastructure can facilitate trade in goods and exchanges in services but “more importantly, it can improve communication between people.”

“The BRI has already brought about this effect and it will do more,” stated Friedrich. He also commented that more interaction between people has certainly created positive momentum for Germany-China relations.

Friedrich noted that when people look at Duisburg, the German end of the China-Europe freight train, they can see local jobs the initiative has created. He thinks the mainstay is to make people understand the importance of global trade and the fundamental role played by the international division of labor. The same is true for Germany. 

Bilateral Cooperation Can Create A Bright Future

After more than 50 years since the diplomatic relations were established, Sino-German relations have made significant strides, with extensive exchanges and cooperation carried out in numerous fields. Thousands of German enterprises and institutions are active in the Chinese market, and China has consistently been Germany's largest global trading partner for several years.

In the view of Friedrich, the BRI will further promote the development of trade and investment between Germany and China.

He claimed that the BRI has brought Asia and Europe even closer, followed by intensified transportation of more goods -- fresh food and other goods that require prompt delivery. “In a word, the BRI has indeed brought about positive impacts,” he remarked.

He also referred to some unsettling factors in German-China and EU-China relations due to crises and disturbances in the world and stressed that the key now is to get back to the heart of the matter: What kind of benefits have been created by interaction and exchanges, partnership and competition between Germany and China over the past 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations?

He stressed that, “What we have to admit is these 50 years have been 50 years of success.”

Interactions, exchanges and partnerships between the two sides have laid the foundation for prosperity in China and Europe, he said. “If we can clearly deliver these stories to people and the media, I believe there will be an opportunity for us to further improve this positive relation and create a bright future,” concluded Friedrich.


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