The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, is not a scheme by China to exert its influence globally. Facts prove that it has become part of international efforts to pursue common development and common prosperity for the human community with shared destiny.
Wang Guoqing, spokesperson for the Fifth Session of the 12th CPPCC National Committee, at a press conference in Beijing on March 2 (SHI GANG)
This was the message Wang Guoqing, spokesperson for the Fifth Session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, conveyed at the press conference in Beijing on March 2, a curtain-raiser to the annual "two sessions" that will kick off on March 3.
Wang spoke in response to a question raised by a journalist from the Singaporean media on the objectives of the initiative. Some foreign media have commented that China's intention in investing in the initiative is to increase its sphere of influence.
Wang stressed that though the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by China, its fruit would benefit the world.
The figures bear it out. Over 100 countries, regions and international organizations have joined the initiative. Forty of them have signed cooperation agreements with China. Also, 56 economic and trade zones have been established in 20 countries along the Silk Road routes.
Wang said Chinese enterprises, encouraged by the initiative, are showing more energy to invest overseas.
Since the initiative was proposed in 2013, China's investment in countries along the Silk Road routes has exceeded $18 billion. This has created tax incomes of over $1 billion and 160,000 jobs in these countries.
The progress last year was remarkable. Wang said China's direct investment in the countries along the Silk Road routes reached $14.53 billion.
Last year also saw China and its partners reap early harvests from the initiative. Chinese companies completed building expressways and railways in Pakistan, Turkey and Hungary, improving local infrastructure and boosting the local economy and social development.
As the top political advisory body of China, the CPPCC National Committee has been working to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, Wang said.
"This year, the CPPCC National Committee will continue to carry out in-depth research and offer proposals to deepen cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and countries along the Silk Road routes," Wang said.
Wang is also vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, which begins its annual session from March 3. The other session is the annual gathering of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, which will start from March 5.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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