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Op-ed: Belt and Road Forum to add energy to peaceful development

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)    12:18, April 20, 2019

“As a bond bringing countries closer to each other, the Belt and Road Initiative will encourage solidarity, mutual respect and mutual trust between countries and inspire our people to work together to build a harmonious and peaceful world,” Chinese President Xi Jinping shared his sagacious insights for peaceful development in the toast at the welcoming banquet of the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) two years ago.

The initiative embodies the yearning for peace and stability, added Xi, whose words also represent a common aspiration of all parties to build the Belt and Road into a road of peace.

Two years later, the second BRF will soon be kicked off in Beijing, during which thousands of representatives from over a hundred countries will gather to map out the blueprint of peaceful development and discuss peaceful cooperation.

The event that gathers worldwide attention will make the voice calling for peace heard by more people, and offer major opportunity for the path of peaceful development.

The pursuit of peace is eternal for mankind. It has been repeatedly proved in the past and the present that peaceful development and friendly cooperation are the only way that leads to win-win and multi-win results.

The ancient Silk Road that linked together countries and civilizations scored huge prosperity, not by wars and violence, but camel trains, treasure ships, goodwill and friendship.

Over a thousand years later, the Silk Road is still carrying the important spirit of peace and cooperation. Inheriting such a spirit, China-proposed BRI and relevant international cooperation envision are to build the world into a place of harmonious development.

The joint construction of the Belt and Road promotes peace through cooperation. The international landscape is going through profound and complicated changes characterized by uprising Cold War mentality, zero-sum game and unilateralism, as well as intertwined traditional and non-traditional security threats.

The international society is in urgent need of concerted efforts to cope with security challenges and safeguard peace and development, and such endeavor will be stronger when all sides are striving for a shared undertaking.

The co-construction of the Belt and Road blazes a new trail in relations between countries that favor dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance, and mutual learning and enrichment. By aligning development strategies, it facilitates interest integration and builds close relations among countries, so as to reduce the risk of confrontation.

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz noted that to establish a long-lasting connectivity and interdependence is the real impetus for long-term peace.

A co-construction of the Belt and Road can help realize peace through development. Peace and development rely on and promote each other, while imbalanced and inadequate development, which still threatens today’s world, breeds conflicts, segregation and chaos.

Nothing is more important for world peace and prosperity than building much-needed infrastructure in the developing world, especially in the poorest countries, said Robert Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation.

The joint construction of the Belt and Road brings opportunities for the countries and regions in need to build roads, conduct trades, and embrace development, which is conducive to reducing wealth gap and North-South divide and lowering the risks of instability brought by poverty and isolation.

Donald Ramotar, former President of Guyana believes that the BRI should be viewed more as an initiative that promotes common prosperity and world peace if the world attributes most of its conflicts and disputes to poverty and inequality.

The joint construction of the Belt and Road safeguards peace through extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

Disparities and disputes are natural in cooperation. It’s important to properly handle them based on mutual respect according to mutually accepted principles. The BRI offers an open cooperation platform where geopolitical maneuvering, isolation and forced deals are all opposed.

In essence, the Belt and Road that emphasizes extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits is a reflection of multilateralism and a practice of democracy in international relations. By building global partnerships, it can bring more sense of security to the international society threatened by unilateralism.

Carrying the common aspiration for the future, the second BRF will keep playing its role to promote peaceful cooperation. If all parties can join hands, build consensus and take actions along the road of peace to build the Belt and Road, they will definitely bring more benefits to the people.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China”, is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.) 

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

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