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Australian expert praises ‘Belt and Road,’ emphasizing China’s leading role

By Du Mingming (People's Daily Online)    13:23, May 15, 2017

Steve Howard, secretary general of The Global Foundation (TGF) in Australia, highly praised China’s Belt and Road Initiative during an interview with the People’s Daily Online, expressing his expectation that China will play "a more active part" in finding new methods of globalization.

Howard pointed out that China and Australia are reliable economic partners and already have an informal “Belt and Road” connection.

“I would like Australia to formally join the Belt and Road Initiative. I think Australia becoming part of the “Belt and Road” will be good for Australia, will be good for our region, but also be good for China,” Howard said in an exclusive interview on May 14. He also participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), which opened the same day.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the BRF opening ceremony, in addition to chairing the leaders’ roundtable the following day. Howard opined that President Xi’s speech gave a clear vision of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Before, we were not quite sure, because it sounded like infrastructure linking China and Europe on the Silk Road – which is true, but “Belt and Road” is much bigger than that. It’s actually China playing a leading role in globalization,” Howard said. He stressed that The Global Foundation will strongly advocate for Australian politicians and communities to support a role for Australia in the initiative.

Having worked with China as an international advisor for the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Howard has witnessed the country’s internal and external progress over the past 20 years, watching China become “more accountable with leadership.” He regards the initiative as a “holistic vision that really is about cooperative globalization,” saying that TGF is a strong advocate for a new globalization with China in a leading role.

Howard stressed that he is working with world leaders to find new ways of working together on globalization, saying: “I want China to be a leader in this think-tank work at a global level.”

The TGF secretary general additionally called for China and Australia to strengthen the “scientific Silk Road.” He noted that universities in Australia are working with Chinese universities and academies of science, and he affirmed China’s shift to become a world leader on climate change and green technology.

“This is a very significant shift. I congratulate China for taking this leadership role,” he stated.

Bringing up a soccer match that had been played the day before, Howard said he attaches great importance to public involvement. The game had been between two football teams in Shanghai, and it was broadcast on Chinese television.

“This is the kind of exchange we need, people-to-people at a fundamental level, at a practical level, so people can understand each other better,” said Howard.

Steve Howard (L), secretary general of The Global Foundation (TGF) in Australia, granted an exclusive interview to the People’s Daily Online on May 14, 2017. He participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), which opened the same day. (Photo/Weng Qiyu) 

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(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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