2017 Media Forum sets high tone for Belt & Road success

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Over 300 media persons from 126 countries support China’s vision of entire region’s uplift
Gauhar Zahid Malik

Dunhuang (China)

Expressing complete support and solidarity with the Chinese government’s multi-billion rather trillions of dollars development initiative Belt & Road in Asia and Europe, representatives from some 265 media organizations, think tanks and enterprises from 126 countries of the world rallied behind Chinese leadership’s vision and reiterated that it would entirely change the economic landscape of more than 60 countries located along the B&R. They were attending the 2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt & Road Initiative held in the historic city of Dunhuang in Gansu province. Senior leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), provincial and city governments, Chinese enterprises and foreign media houses took part in the opening session and highlighted various aspects and salient features of the B&R Initiative. They termed it a unique vision to promote and exchange both economic ties and cultural cooperation. They said the dividends of the B&R Initiative are not limited to one country or region rather it would have positive impact on the lives of the people of all the respective countries.
Pakistan’s representation in the B&R Cooperation Forum 2017 was prominent as representatives of Pakistan Observer, state-owned news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) and a private news agency Independent News participated in inaugural session.
The media cooperation forum was jointly organized by People’s Daily (PD) of China which is China’s largest newspaper and the provincial government of Gansu. In his welcome address, Vice Chairman Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress Mr Zhang Ping said B&R Initiative aimed at peace, cooperation, openness and inclusiveness. He hoped the media persons and representatives from world’s top media houses would realize the significance of this game changer and promote it in their reports, articles and discussions as an initiative with global outlook. “The B&R Initiative will ensure prosperity, peace and progress in the world and last year, United Nations passed a resolution terming it a global vision.”
According to Mr Zhang, in pursuance of the Belt & Road Initiative, 69 countries and international organizations have signed agreements of cooperation with China. B&R Initiative was envisioned by President Xi Jinping in 2013 when the president in an address outlined its broad contours that it would benefit people and governments of more than 60 countries, said Mr Zhang. He quoted the President further saying it would bring people of different civilizations together.
About the media representatives’ enthusiasm and increasing number of attendance in the PD’s 4th annual cooperation forum he said foreign & Chinese media cooperation has already been achieved in many areas and new technologies are being introduced by foreign media as result of the annual gathering of media persons. Belt & Road Initiative in fact aims at reviving ancient Silk Road that is spanning over hundreds and thousands of miles, he said. “Media,” he said, “should disseminate spirit of Silk Road i.e. friendship, inclusiveness and openness.”
President of People’s Daily, Mr Yang Zhenwu said, PD was feeling honored to host the Media cooperation forum for the 4th consecutive year. It is our collective responsibility as representatives from the B&R countries to enhance people-to-people cooperation, he said. We are here to discuss challenges confronting B&R Initiative and to reach their solution. Fruit of media cooperation are already visibly in forms of database information, its cataloguing, enhancement in people-to-people exchange, said Mr Yang.
Secretary, CPC Gansu Provincial Committee and Director of Gansu Provincial People’s Congress, Mr Lin Duo said Gansu being in the West was somewhat overlooked in the past with the country’s emphasis on the east in the past. However, with the revival of Silk Road under the B&R Initiative city of Dunhuang and province of Gansu would get an enormous economic boost as they are at the cross-section of the ancient historic road. B&R Initiative, he said promoted cultural communication. And there are tremendous opportunities in industry, minerals, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
According to Mr Zheng Bijian, Chairman of China Institute of Innovation and Development (CIIDS), in the changing times now maritime economic cooperation or globalization has shifted to overland and Belt & Road Initiative ideally suited that vision.
He dismissed the impression of Chinese Marshal Plan through B&R Initiative and called the critics to have a positive approach as it was, in President Xi Jinping’s vision, all about five fundamental goals namely, peace, prosperity, innovation, civilization and openness.
At the end of the media cooperation forum, Deputy Secretary CPC Hainan Provincial Committee Mr Li Jun wishing the 2017 B&R Media Cooperation Forum announced to host the next year (2018) forum in his province.

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