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Jointly Build a High Quality Belt and Road for a Future of Sustainable Development
Keynote Speech by Ambassador Gui Congyou at The Second Belt and Road Forum in Stockholm
2019/05/23

(Stockholm, 22 May 2019)

Excellences, experts, scholars and friends from the business community,

Good morning.

Last month, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, leading the joint efforts to build a high quality Belt and Road into a new stage. Today’s seminar hosted by the BRIX group is very timely and relevant, and will certainly promote China-Sweden “Belt and Road” cooperation.

Over the past six years since President Xi Jinping proposed the “Belt and Road Initiative”, our BRI circle of friends has grown ever bigger, quality of cooperation ever better and prospects for development ever brighter. Over 150 countries and international organizations signed cooperation agreements with China to build the BRI together. Nearly 40 heads of state and government and nearly 5000 foreign participants from over 150 countries and international organizations attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, achieving 283 cooperation outcomes and signing contracts worth over USD 64 billion. These numbers fully demonstrate that the BRI is consistent with the trend of times and meets the need of all parties involved.

The Belt and Road is a road of open cooperation. The BRI is not a geopolitical game, nor is it an exclusive club. Instead, the BRI is based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and is committed to multilateralism and open world economy. The Forum in Beijing saw the signing of over 100 bilateral cooperation documents in areas like transportation, trade, technology, culture and exchanges between think tanks, the establishment of a national standards information platform among the Belt and Road partner countries, and the signing of third party market cooperation documents. The BRI is a joint project that combines our respective strengths into a synergy for shared development.

The Belt and Road is a road of sustainable development. The BRI focuses on the fundamental issue of development, and helps countries along the route to break the bottleneck of development. A World Bank study shows that BRI cooperation helps reduce the cost of global trade and increases the global economic growth by at least 0.1%. The BRI pursues high standard cooperation to improve people’s lives and promotes sustainable development. It adopts widely accepted rules and standards, contributes to job creation and poverty reduction, and ensures commercial and fiscal sustainability. It is a major contribution to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN. The BRI is no “debt trap”, rather it helps many countries to get out of the “trap of underdevelopment”.

The Belt and Road is a road of green and clean cooperation. The BRI pursues open, green and clean cooperation and aims to promote green development. The BRI launches green infrastructure projects, makes green investment and provides green financing to improve the ecological environment, and supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In pursuing Belt and Road cooperation, everything should be done in a transparent way, and we must have zero tolerance for corruption and show strong commitment to clean governance. During the second BRI Forum in Beijing, the BRI International Green Development Coalition was established, the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development was issued and the Beijing Initiative for Clean Silk Road was launched.

The BRI pursues openness, interconnectivity and consensus through consultation. It values integrity and follows rules. This is especially important in a world of surging protectionism and unilateralism. I know people are closely watching the trade war started by the US. The US brandishes the baton of protectionism and uses administrative means to abuse tariffs, which severely damages the norms of international trade, harms the interests of other parties and increases the uncertainties of global economy. The US also abandoned market principles, in total disregard of international rules, used executive powers to suppress Chinese companies, which we firmly oppose. The US is a “rule breaker” and a “faith breaker”. The US bears full responsibility for the trade war, as it is unilaterally started by the US. China does not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one, and we will fight to the end. This is safeguarding our legitimate rights and interests, and also defending an open global economy and the multilateral trading system.

Dear friends,

China and Europe are at the two ends of the Belt and Road. Europe is a natural partner and direct beneficiary of building a high quality Belt and Road. China-Europe freight trains have conducted 14,000 trips, connecting China and 50 cities in 15 European countries. The Joint statement of the 21st EU-China Summit reiterated that the two sides will continue to forge synergies between the EU strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia as well as the EU Trans-European Transport Networks and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road cooperation between China and the EU has bright prospects. It is in our mutual interests and will deliver benefits to hundreds of millions of people.

Sweden has good conditions to participate in jointly building the Belt and Road. As a firm advocate for multilateralism and free trade, Sweden has a pioneering spirit and a long line of achievements in green, innovative, open and sustainable development, which is highly compatible to the joint contribution to Belt and Road. Trade between China and Sweden has been hitting new records year after year, reaching USD 17.15 billion in 2018. China is now the largest trading partner of Sweden outside of the EU, and Sweden continues to maintain a trade surplus with China. This March, the first Nordic-China Smart City Cooperation Conference was held in Stockholm, which established a new effective platform for deepening our cooperation. There are also great prospects for China and Sweden to work together to address climate change and to carry out cooperation in third party markets. Joint contribution to the Belt and Road will undoubtedly provide a broader platform for Sweden to play its strength, and open up greater room for its development. The opportunities for China-Sweden Belt and Road cooperation are here. We welcome all sectors of Sweden to join the Belt and Road circle of friends and build a brighter future of sustainable development.

My wishes for a full success of the seminar. Thank you!

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