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U.S. is welcome to join ‘symphony’ of the Belt and Road initiative

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    14:09, April 28, 2017

China says the U.S. is welcome to join the “symphony” performed by all participating countries in the Belt and Road initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

China is trying to expand mutual and beneficial cooperation and realize common development through open, transparent, and inclusive projects, including the Belt and Road and the AIIB. The Belt and Road initiative is a hugely ambitious set of infrastructure development plans aimed at boosting free trade and people-to-people exchanges across Asia, Africa, and Europe. The AIIB is a multilateral lending institution aimed at promoting economic development in Asia. It was established to finance Belt and Road projects.

China hopes to see more countries get on board with these initiatives and actively participate in them. At a joint press conference with former U.S. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping in the Rose Garden at the White House in September 2015, President Xi said that these initiatives are consistent in serving American interests and the interests of other countries. In addition, China has said that these initiatives are platforms for collaboration with the U.S. rather than points of divergence.

In an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post in November 2016, Former CIA Director James Woolsey, who at the time served as a senior advisor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on national security and intelligence, said that the U.S. made a “strategic mistake” by not joining the AIIB. He encouraged the next administration to get on board with the Beijing-proposed Belt and Road initiative.

China continues to welcome the U.S. to join the “symphony” of cooperation and common development with open arms. At a seminar by the Atlantic Council on April 24, AIIB President Jin Liqun said that America’s private sector is welcome to bid for its projects. On the same day at a forum on international finance and infrastructure cooperation in New York, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., invited Washington to join the Belt and Road initiative.

The Belt and Road is a huge opportunity for China and the world. Ambassador Cui said that the U.S. has “nothing to lose” by joining the initiative; and by doing so, will be able to secure much-needed investment to improve its own outdated infrastructure. In his first speech to a joint session of Congress in March, Trump vowed to repair the nation’s “crumbling” infrastructure. But Washington is still struggling to find a way to pay for the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

Beijing is gearing up to host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next month. In his speech at the opening plenary at Davos, Switzerland, President Xi said that the forum aims to discuss ways to boost cooperation, build cooperation platforms, and share cooperation outcomes. He said the forum will also explore ways to address global and regional economic challenges, create fresh energy for inclusive and interconnected development, and make the initiative deliver greater benefits to the countries involved in it.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Wu Chengliang)

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