China to continue strategic relations with BRI members

Beijing, Mar. 8: China has announced that it would continue to deepen people-to-people and strategic relations with the countries that are partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

While the world’s second largest economy is applying measures to ‘tighten up financial and economic discipline’ in the possible challenges of resource management, speaking at a press conference organised in Beijing at the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body, of China on Thursday, Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, said that push to achieve shared prosperity through inclusive development, his country would promote ‘high quality development’ across the regions. 

BRI is an infrastructure development project conceptualised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 that aims at improving land, water and air connectivity, trade and technology across continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

However, FM Wang did not announce any specific support or projects for South Asia. Nepal had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on BRI in 2017 and expects Chinese financial and technical support in developing large infrastructure projects such as airports, cross-border railways and hydroelectricity. 

The signing of the MoU has intensified the high-level as well as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries on various fronts. For example, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal in 2019 crossed the 169,000 mark. The two countries have signed various agreements in the following years to develop connectivity projects under the framework of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, a part of the BRI, which is expected to open new vistas for development, mobility and trade between them.

Addressing a press conference organised at the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), the top legislative body of China, on Thursday, FM Wang reiterated that China promotes the upgrading of the existing physical infrastructure and developing new ones. 

“It’s not only about the sustainable and high-quality land, water and air connectivity but also about institutional connectivity among the governments and institutions. We hope that it will serve as the engine of high-quality development around the globe for shared prosperity,” he said. 

FM Wang also pledged to make the BRI a sustained opportunity for all partners of the initiative. 

Meanwhile, he also maintained that China would continue the dialogues – under its age-old neighbourhood policy – with the neighbouring countries to tackle the existing and upcoming challenges and boost economic interaction and cooperation among them. 

Speaking on the occasion, FM Wang stated that China was for multipolar world with inclusive globalization that facilitates support to the countries in adopting nationally-suited development modalities. 

“But multi-polarity doesn’t mean multiple blocks and segments. It should be understood as equal rights, opportunities and rules for every nation. China wants to increase the size of the economic pie and distribute it fairly,” he said. 

Likewise, commenting on China-US relations, he said that China wants consistent and stable US policy.

“Peaceful coexistence is the best option for both the nations. If we work together, we can do wonders. But the USA denies the legitimate development of other countries,” FM Wang said while adding that the US has been devising various tactics to suppress China but it would eventually harm the former. 

He termed China-Russia relations ‘strategic’ and said that it was growing in strides at the choice of the two sides. Bilateral trade between the two countries reached a record level last year with a primary support of the petroleum products and automobiles. “President Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have termed it a new era of trust and benefit. The two countries have forged a new paradigm of relationship,” he said. 

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