Xi vows open, inclusive and transparent BRI
Keynote speech clears false statements in the West, boosts confidence: expert
Published: Apr 26, 2019 11:13 PM

Chinese President Xi Jinping (front center) walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin (front second from right) and other world leaders on Friday to attend the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

Photo: GT

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday pledged transparency and zero-tolerance of corruption for the implementation of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a commitment hailed by the international society as further boosting confidence in cooperation.

In his speech at the opening of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) on Friday, Xi called for building an open, green and clean initiative.   

He stressed that "everything should be done in a transparent way," and called for a zero tolerance attitude against corruption. 

Every country has a corruption problem, and the promise in Xi's speech shows that the BRI is following the correct direction, José Picasso Salinas, chairman of the Peru-based Volcan Compania Minera S.A.A, a mining company, told the Global Times.   

Jorge Chediek, director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, said that he was impressed by the commitment to green development and financial sustainability.  

BRI is a fantastic initiative and a great contribution to world development. More importantly, the open partnerships under the initiative are in the process of being perfected and improved through new dimensions such as green development, said Chediek.  

He noted that the next focus of the initiative is to deepen and expand the quality and scope of the collaborations.    

Xi also said China upholds multilateralism, prohibits forced technology transfer, will increase imports and allow foreign businesses in more sectors with controlling or full stake.

"China's pledge to further open up its market means opportunities for countries involved in the BRI, including Finland. Finnish companies, which have a competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing and the modern services industries such as network security and automation, look to expand in China under the measures," said Zhu Bin, director of Invest in Finland Greater China.

Around 570 Chinese and foreign companies attended an event for business cooperation on Thursday, with 217 agreements signed so far, according to data provided by BRF organizers on Friday.

George Tzogopoulos, director of EU-China Programmes at the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), a European university and think tank, said at the forum that Xi's speech was "significant." "It outlines China's continuity in developing BRI," he said.

At a time when some Western countries criticize China for its alleged geopolitical motivations, President Xi talked about the need for cooperation, green development, common prosperity, win-win results and multilateralism, Tzogopoulos said. 

"China says no to protectionism and supports free trade at a time of economic uncertainty. It also wants to import more, and Western countries should explore how they can better access the Chinese market," Tzogopoulos added. 

"The world needs to better understand China and opportunities raised for closer collaboration," he said.  After the initiative was proposed in 2013, 126 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.  

The three-day BRF, which includes 12 thematic forums, an opening ceremony and a leaders' roundtable, has drawn 5,000 participants from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations in Beijing, said that Xi's speech, which addressed criticism and challenges the initiative faces, clears the obvious false statements about the initiative and helps boost confidence in BRI's future development.   

Those measures are necessary to ensure that the BRI is not flawed during implementation or derailed, said Li.

While expounding on the fruits and mission of the initiative, Xi also reiterated China's diplomatic philosophy on the initiative: An inclusive and mutually beneficial platform, contrary to the Western narrative of China's geopolitical tool for global hegemony, Li explained.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told the Global Times after the opening that it's not about taking over whose role, but about China fulfilling its responsibility as a global power to help those less endowed or with a weaker financial situation.  The initiative shows China cares about the world and its commitment to connectivity, Aziz said. 

China will support 5,000 people from the innovation sector in Belt and Road countries in exchanges, training programs and joint research in the next five years. It will also invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks and non-governmental organizations from countries participating in the BRI to China, Xi said. 

In introducing China's efforts to further open up to the world, the Chinese president also called for fair and friendly treatment of Chinese enterprises, students and scholars abroad as equals.