UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday spoke highly of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, saying “China plays a very central role” through it in uniting the world in addressing today’s global development challenges.
The UN chief, in an interview with several UN-based Chinese media outlets, made the remarks prior to his attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, scheduled for May 14-15 in Beijing.
“When we look at a the Belt and Road Initiative, we see a very important contribution to this solidarity in addressing global problems with international cooperation, where China plays a very central role,” the UN chief said. “So I am very happy that I have the chance to participate in the Belt and Road summit.”
STRONG PILLAR OF MULTILATERALISM: “China has been a strong pillar of multilateralism,” which serves as a sound basis for solving global problems, he said.
“We live in a globalized world, we face enormous problems — climate change, population growth, food insecurity, water scarcity in many parts of the world,” he said. “We understand there is no solution for this problem at the country level, the solution must be at the global level.”
“So we need globalization, but we need the globalization (which) is more fair than the globalization in the past,” he said. “So we need multilateral governance institutions. Multilateralism is the solution for the global problems, and China has been a strong pillar of multilateralism.”
Asked to use just one sentence to describe the most important feature of the Chinese initiative, he said: “I think what it demonstrates is a vision of how important it is not only to connect the countries, but also to connect the peoples to address the global challenges of today.”
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network along ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
The initiative has so far gained the support of more than 100 countries and international organizations, and more than 40 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China.
Guterres knows why it has won wide world attention. “Because we felt that in the moment in which many people doubt about globalization, in the moment in which many people doubt about free trade… We need the initiatives of international solidarity” to “make people believe that free trade can benefit all, to make people believe that’s possible not to leave anyone behind.”
IMPORTANT INSTRUMENT: The Chinese initiative can also be an important instrument for the global undertaking to carry out the Agenda 2030, a blueprint for the worldwide efforts to achieve sustainable development in the next 15 years starting from 2016.—Xinhua