China-Grenada Cooperation Embraces New Opportunity
By Dr. Zhao Yongchen
On April 25-27, 2019, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was successfully held in Beijing. The major events of the forum include opening ceremony, leaders’ roundtable, high-level meeting, 12 sub-forums and entrepreneur conference.
The forum was attended by over 6,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 92 international organizations. Leaders including heads of state and government of 37 countries, as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund attended the roundtable.
As for Grenada, Hon. Gregory Bowen, Minister for Infrastructure Development, Public Utilities, Energy, Transport & Implementation, Hon. Peter David, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Tafawa Pierre, Head of Financial Intelligence Unit were invited to attend the opening ceremony and the high-level meeting and delivered speeches at the thematic forum “Digital Silk Road”, “Policy Connectivity” and “Clean Silk Road” thematic forum respectively.
The BRF established the goal of jointly promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. President Xi Jinping emphasised that the Belt and Road cooperation should be a high-quality one that is guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. An open, green, clean and high-standard cooperation has to be pursued to improve people’s lives as well as to promote sustainable development.
The forum achieved fruitful and practical results and reflected mutual benefit and win-win spirit. China took the lead in summarising the concrete results achieved by the parties and formed a list of 283 results.
China took the opportunity to sign a number of intergovernmental cooperation agreements with the participating countries, including China-Myanmar Economic Corridor Cooperation Plan and China-Thailand Railway. Some participating countries have jointly initiated various cooperation mechanisms such as the establishment of a national standards information platform among the Belt and Road partner countries, the Belt and Road South-South Cooperation Initiative on Climate Change etc. Enterprises in various countries reached numerous agreements on capacity and investment cooperation.
The Chinese side issued the Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Contributions and Prospects, which gives a comprehensive review of the journey of building the Belt and Road Initiative over the past five years and puts forward the opinions and suggestions for the next step of high-quality development. Together with other parties, China has formed and published the Debt Sustainability Framework for participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, which provides a useful tool for preventing and controlling risks in financing cooperation and ensuring the sustainable development of Belt and Road cooperation.
The BRF Advisory Council, composed of international celebrities, submitted a policy proposal report to the Forum, which analyses the positive effects of the Belt and Road cooperation on improving connectivity, promoting world economic growth and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and puts forward policy recommendations on the future Belt and Road cooperation priorities and the development direction of the forum.
Some relevant parties also jointly launched the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road, the Cooperation Initiative on Silk Road of Innovation and signed up to the Green Investment Principles for Belt and Road Development.
While continuing bilateral and tripartite cooperation, all relevant parties have also initiated the establishment of more than 20 Belt and Road multilateral dialogue cooperation platforms in the fields of China-European trains, ports, finance, customs, accounting, taxation, energy, environmental protection, culture, think tanks and media, including the establishment of the Maritime Silk Road Port Cooperation Mechanism, the BRI International Green Development Coalition, the Alliance of International Science Organisations and the Belt and Road Studies Network (BRSN).
A Belt and Road international cooperation framework led by the BRF and supported by multilateral and bilateral cooperation in various fields has basically taken shape. These achievements reflect the trend of development and progress of the times and the characteristics of Belt and Road and win-win cooperation.
The implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative in the past five years proves that the Belt and Road Initiative is in line with the general trend of global development, conforms to the inherent requirements of the reform of the global governance system, demonstrates the concept of a community with shared future, and showcases the characteristics of jointly sharing rights and responsibilities. Thus, it grew from success to success.
Jointly promoting the Belt and Road to achieve high quality development has become the common wish of many countries. It should be pointed out that the Belt and Road Initiative is not for possessing the resources of a certain country, neither for the needs of geopolitics, nor for competing for world hegemony. On the contrary, it provides public goods for global governance, including both material aspects such as infrastructure construction and governance concepts and solutions sharing.
The Belt and Road is not China’s “solo show”, but a “big chorus” that advocates mutually beneficial and win-win outcomes for all participating countries, providing a good opportunity for development and prosperity around the world.
China and Grenada signed the Memorandum of Understanding on joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2018, which opened a new chapter in practical and friendly cooperation between our two countries. Now we are stepping up our implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative memorandum and we will adhere to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and open a series of sustainable development cooperation.
In terms of infrastructure, we may promote cooperation in building high-quality, sustainable, risk-resistant, affordable and inclusive infrastructure, so that Grenada shall make full use of its resource endowment and better integrate into global supply chain, industry chain and value chain. Our two sides may also strengthen new energy cooperation and promote Pure Grenada to a more environmentally friendly one.
China and Grenada enjoyed very good friendship and close cooperation since resumption of diplomatic relations, which witnesses remarkable fruits in various fields.
I believe that with joint efforts, connecting effectively Belt and Road with Grenada National Sustainable Development Plan 2035, our relationship will not only be the model between big developing country and small developing island country, but also the model of the Belt and Road cooperation, so as to better benefit our peoples.
(Dr. Zhao Yongchen is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Grenada)