The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) is set to kick off in Beijing this week, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Leaders and envoys from various corners of the world have already convened in China, marking this occasion as a significant milestone in the global diplomatic calendar.
As Beijing gears up for the event, the city is adorned with vibrant floral arrangements, flags, and banners, all proudly showcasing the themes and motifs of the third BRF. Visitors arriving for the forum have expressed to the Global Times their sense of reassurance amidst a world fraught with strife and turmoil. Many believe that China’s unwavering commitment to peace and development remains a guiding beacon for the international community. Their optimism stems from the collective efforts of nations working in unison to combat the multifaceted challenges that confront the world today.
With preparations in full swing, an influx of world leaders streamed into Beijing on Monday. Among them were prominent figures such as Kenyan President William Ruto, Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, as reported by the Xinhua News Agency.
Notably, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also arrived in Beijing, emphasizing President Vladimir Putin’s keen anticipation for a summit with President Xi Jinping. During discussions with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Lavrov expressed his confidence in the success of the forum, as reported by Xinhua.
Meanwhile, the Media Center of the third BRF initiated its first press briefing at the China National Convention Center. Officials from the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and other pertinent departments briefed the press, answering inquiries from journalists representing diverse nations, according to Xinhua.
Chinese analysts underscored the pivotal nature of the BRF, underscoring the turbulence plaguing the contemporary global order and the pressing need for sustainable solutions. China’s unwavering dedication to fostering global development and governance in the face of formidable challenges has positioned it as a key player on the international stage.
Experts have emphasized that the Belt and Road Initiative has set China apart from traditional global powers. Far from a zero-sum confrontation, the BRI represents a departure from the conventional definition of a “national strategy,” transcending the interests of any single country.
Shen Yi, an authority on international relations and professor at Fudan University, expounded on the profound impact of the BRI, highlighting its universal appeal and utility for diverse nations. Despite detractors in some Western political circles and media, the initiative has garnered widespread interest and participation owing to its potential to benefit all parties involved.
A metaphor coined by Chinese netizens resonated strongly, depicting China as a meticulous seamstress mending the worn fabric of the world—a testament to its significant global role in fostering stability and prosperity.
With representatives from over 140 countries and 30-plus international organizations, including heads of state, international organization leaders, ministerial officials, and representatives from the business sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations, the upcoming forum is anticipated to be a platform for robust discourse and fruitful collaboration.
Expectations are running high for the forum, with national leaders, former foreign officials, foreign scholars, and representatives from foreign business communities eager to hear about the significant strides made by the BRI over the past decade. They are keen to explore how this cooperation platform can engender more opportunities and benefits for a broader cross-section of the global population.
Michele Geraci, former undersecretary of state at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, emphasized the forum’s potential to elevate the BRI’s image in the eyes of Western nations, especially through showcasing its extensive project portfolio, valued at over $1 trillion in investments, as well as discussing its role in promoting global peace.
Reflecting on the growing diversity of perspectives and collaboration opportunities, Mario Renduli, President of the Chinese Southeast European Business Association, lauded the expanding participation of countries and organizations in the BRF. He emphasized the forum’s crucial role in shaping the future trajectory of the BRI, with a renewed emphasis on quality and sustainable development.
Rani Jarkas, chairman of the Swiss financial group Cedrus Group, expressed keen interest in the summit’s discussions about the latest investment themes and how these could be leveraged to support global economic development. Having witnessed firsthand the positive impact of Chinese investment in various BRI countries, Jarkas hailed the initiative as a catalyst for global economic advancement.
The forum’s deliberations on the global vision and strategy for BRI development in the coming years have also garnered significant attention. Mansoor Nadeem Lari, CEO of the India-based Silk Route Trade and Industry Development Corp, an active participant in the forum, emphasized the need for concerted efforts to chart a viable post-pandemic course, expediting global economic recovery through collaborative measures among BRI participant countries.
Abid Suleri, executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, shared his anticipation for the opening ceremony and the keynote speech by the Chinese leader, hoping to gain insights into the proposed initiatives for enhancing cooperation and partnership. Suleri emphasized the need for strengthened synergy and coordination between the BRI and other regional and global initiatives, with a focus on fostering South-South and South-North cooperation.
As the world looks toward the 10th anniversary of the BRI, the third BRF stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of international collaboration and the pursuit of common progress and prosperity.