One Belt One Road Health Initiative | By Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan


 Belt One Road Health Initiative

GLOBAL health has been under siege due to out burst of the COVID-19 since its beginning. Regional as well as global health capacity building systems have collapsed.

Moreover, discriminatory and apartheid policies of the so called advanced countries have made human survival even more difficult.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping led the world towards harmony and hope in which his global vaccine diplomacy has played tremendous job. Now struggling humanity and people look China as angle of god.

Most recently the State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi presided over a high-level video conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific which vividly reflected Chinese superior state policies of services and integrated mechanism of human survival.

On the launch of this initiative, Chinese President Xi pinpointed Chinese holistic policies which has been supporting and assisting each other in the most difficult times and pushed forward the construction of the BRI, conveying confidence and strength to the international community and making an important contribution to global cooperation against the pandemic and economic recovery since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

During the said conference Chinese Foreign Minister delivered a key note speech highlighting aims, objectives, actions, plans, policies and holistic humanitarian spirits of China to launch this noble initiative which has direct correlation with social development, economic recovery and, of course, healthier world.

He suggested deepening international cooperation on vaccines under newly proposed Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation.

It will promote fair international distribution of vaccines and build a global shield against the virus.

China will actively implement the important measures announced by President Xi Jinping at the Global Health Summit.

He assured that China would provide more vaccines and other urgently needed medical supplies to BRI partners and other countries to the best of its ability, support its vaccine companies in transferring technologies to other developing countries and carrying out joint production with them, and support waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, all in an effort to help all countries defeat COVID-19.

He suggested to strengthen cooperation on connectivity through synergize infrastructure development plans and work together on transport infrastructure, economic corridors and economic and trade and industrial cooperation zones.

He proposed to promote cooperation on green development through jointly put forth the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development to inject new impetus into building the green silk road.

Green infrastructure, green energy and green finance, and develop more environment-friendly projects with a high standard and high quality is the need of the hour.

He proposed to advance free trade in our region and the world through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), faster regional economic integration, global industrial and supply chains open, secure and stable.

During his speech he highlighted strategic importance of the BRI which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping during 2013.

Since then, with the participation and joint efforts of all parties, this important initiative has shown strong vigor and vitality and yielded good results and progress.

Chinese foreign minister Wang showcased that during the past eight years; the BRI has evolved from a concept into real actions and received warm response and support from the international community. So far more than 140 partner countries have signed documents of the BRI with China.

The BRI has truly become the world’s broadest-based and largest platform for international cooperation.

He narrated that BRI has now become reality which promotes shared prosperity and brought about enormous opportunities and benefits to countries around the world. Trade between China and BRI partners has exceeded 9.2 trillion US dollars.

Direct investment by Chinese companies in countries along the Belt and Road has surpassed 130 billion US dollars.

A World Bank report suggests that when fully implemented, the BRI could increase global trade by 6.2 percent and global real income by 2.9 percent, and give a significant boost to global growth.

Chinese Foreign Minister shared that BRI partners have put up an international firewall of cooperation against COVID-19.

China and BRI partners have held over 100 meetings to share experience on COVID prevention and control.

He highlighted that by mid-June, China has provided more than 290 billion masks, 3.5 billion protective suits and 4.5 billion testing kits to the world, and helped many countries build testing labs.

China is engaged in extensive vaccine cooperation with many countries, and has donated and exported more than 400 million doses of finished and bulk vaccines to more than 90 countries, most of which are BRI partners. Wang further shared that BRI partners have built new bridges for global connectivity.

China has carried out Silk Road e-commerce cooperation with 22 partner countries. It has helped sustain international trade flows throughout the pandemic.

He termed the fast-growing and fruitful Belt and Road cooperation as a result of the solidarity and cooperation among BRI partners.

It practices the concept of open, green and clean development. And it is aimed at high-standard, people-centred and sustainable growth.

He showed his country commitments to equal consultation and termed partners regardless of economic size, equal members of the BRI family. He assured that BRI has no political strings.

We never impose our will on others from a so-called position of strength. Neither do we pose a threat to any country.

He shared that BRI has strengthened policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity to pursue economic integration, achieve interconnected development, and deliver benefits to all.

These efforts have brought closer the Chinese dream and the dreams of countries around the world.

He labelled the BRI open and inclusive. It is open to all kinds of systems and civilizations, and is not ideologically biased. It promoted innovation and progress.

He briefed that in the wake of COVID-19, China has launched the Silk Road of health. To achieve low-carbon transition, China is cultivating a green Silk Road. To harness the trend of digitalization, China is building a digital Silk Road

To address development gaps BRI partners are working to build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation.

Belt and Road cooperation began in the economic sector, but it does not end there. It is becoming a new platform for better global governance.

Wang also spoke high of numerous achievements of the Communist Party of China, under whose leadership, the Chinese people will soon complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and on that basis, embark on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country.

Being a prominent regional expert of China, BRI & CPEC, I am confident that China’s new holistic BRI Health Initiative will be a game & fate changer for the humanity suffering from deadly COVID-19.

It is indeed a new historical starting point and hopefully China will work with all other parties to continue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and build closer partnerships for heath cooperation, connectivity, green development and openness and inclusiveness.

—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics Member Board of Experts, CGSS.

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