Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to expand opening-up and promote global prosperity in a keynote speech on Tuesday at this year’s Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference, winning praise from world leaders in attendance.
The four-day annual meeting, which opened on Sunday in Boao, a resort in China’s southern island province of Hainan, is themed “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.”
As this year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, Xi stressed that “China’s reform and opening-up meets its people’s aspiration for development, innovation and a better life. It also meets the global trend toward development, cooperation and peace.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the past four decades saw changes not only in China but also in its active relations with the world.
The Belt and Road Initiative, he said, “can contribute significantly to a more fair, peaceful and prosperous world.” He also said that he agreed with Xi on the irreversible trend of globalization, saying “our destination must be a fair globalization that leaves no one behind as the best way to peaceful and sustainable development for peoples, communities and countries.” “But one thing must be very clear: we won’t make globalization fair by isolationism, protectionism or exclusion,” he added.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes, thus building a platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of growth.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said the past 40 years witnessed “the success of the Chinese policy of economic reform and opening-up,” adding that “my talks with the leadership, the government and circles of China confirmed my impression that China is committed to continue along this road and this would be in interests of both China and global partners.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said “President Xi’s historic Belt and Road Initiative has become a global public good, beneficial to all and bringing equality to an unequal world. This strategic initiative is a win-win proposition and brings shared prosperity for all.”
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is very glad to hear President Xi to announce further steps to open the financial sector, protecting intellectual property rights and increasing imports, in order for China to go further in the direction. Lee also said the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road Initiative are “two major efforts by China to contribute to the regional structure and regional prosperity.”
Since 2013, more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. The Belt and Road Initiative may be China’s idea, but its opportunities and outcomes will benefit the world, Xi said in his speech, adding that China has no geopolitical calculations, seeks no exclusionary blocs and imposes no business deals on others.