October 12, 2023
BEIJING – Presence of partners at upcoming event speaks volumes for level of global support
President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, a global gathering that will help outline a road map for the future growth of the landmark vision and build up consensus for cooperation between China and its BRI partners.
Xi will deliver a keynote speech at the opening of the forum, which will be held in Beijing on Oct 17 and 18, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday. The president will also hold a welcoming banquet and bilateral events for the guests attending the forum.
Themed “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity”, the forum, to be held on the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, is set to bring together representatives from over 130 countries and more than 30 international organizations.
Qu Bo, director of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, said that the gathering next week, the largest diplomatic event hosted by China this year, could be monumental as it will outline a new road map for the high-quality development of BRI in the coming decade.
Xi’s speech at the opening ceremony is expected to be a policy address of major global significance, with the global community looking for clues on how Beijing will integrate the BRI with other major initiatives also put forward by Xi, such as the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative.
“The fact that representatives from so many countries and international organizations will be present at the forum speaks volumes about the level of global support for the BRI,” Qu said.
“What is more important is that it shows that so many countries have benefited from the initiative,” he added.
Beijing had signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations as of June, according to a white paper released on Tuesday. From 2013 to 2022, the cumulative value of imports and exports between China and its BRI partner countries reached $19.1 trillion.
In addition to the opening ceremony and bilateral meetings, the forum will feature a wide range of side events, including a CEO conference. Three high-level forums on connectivity, green development and the digital economy will be held. There will also be six thematic forums on trade connectivity, people-to-people connectivity, think tank exchanges, a clean Silk Road, subnational cooperation and maritime cooperation.
Zhou Taidong, vice-president of the Center for International Knowledge on Development, said the forum’s agenda reflects the principles upheld in BRI cooperation and offers clues for its future development.
“The BRI has always been committed to open, green and clean cooperation toward inclusive and sustainable development,” he said. “In the future, the BRI will continue to prioritize connectivity and the growth of the digital economy, further advance green development, and ensure the stability and smooth operation of industrial and supply chains.”