By Deng Wentao, iChongqing
Chongqing-The Belt and Road Forum for Interconnected Land-Sea Development kicked off in Chongqing City’s YuZhong District, with a round of interviews with former leaders from Tanzania, and Slovenia, June 2. The forum took place from June 2 to 4.
Leaders discussed the Belt and Road Initiative, specifically how countries intended on increasing connectivity by land and sea through the spirit of mutual cooperation.
Mr. Danilo Tuerk spoke first taking questions from journalists on a number of issues concerning the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), international relations, and on his thoughts concerning trending anti-globalism pressures. In the past, some countries benefited from globalization and others did not, said Tuerk the former president of Slovenia, adding that the BRI is more mutually beneficial than the predatory practpast predatory practices.
Tuerk also commented on the evolving interest in the BRI by European countries. “Western Europe did not have a big need for the Belt and Road Initiative initially, it started with Greece a few years ago and now it is continuing with Italy” adding that he suspected interest in the initiative would only increase in the near future.
Commenting briefly on the U.S.—China trade war, Tuerk showed a sense of humor. “Trade wars are smart and easy to win, said Trump. The European Union says that trade wars are stupid and easy to lose. The problem is that everyone is loosing— the American customers the European and Japanese car makers. We have to get together and figure out a way forward. We must have a system where everyone wins.” He also shared his opinion on China’s recently issued white paper, calling the Chinese reaction “expected.” “The principals that China emphasizes are very important for everyone in the world, said Tuerk, “Those principals are equal rights, equality, [and] respect. Those are basic principals for the economic corporation. So here I would like to say that the solution is not only about China and the United States it’s about everyone,” he stated highlighting the interconnected nature of modern economics.
The forum marks an important opportunity for countries to come together for a better future, he said. “Destiny is something that we can develop together. Destiny is not necessarily good or bad. It can be bad if we do the wrong things, and it can be good if we do the right things.”
[This forum and] “Chongqing has an important role to play. The vast manufacturing areas of China are not always in the picture so it’s important that conferences on the Belt and Road are taking place inland and obviously Chongqing is a very important example of that. I’m looking forward to this conference,” he said.
The last speaker to speak during the opening round of interviews with former government leaders was Mr. Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, form Prime Minister of Tanzania from 2008 to 2015.
“China is a huge country,” said Pinda, “the second largest economy of the world. Tanzania is small and China is big, but there is still much to talk about” he said, speaking of the spirit of negotiations between the two countries, “I have high respect for president Xi Jinping and his philosophy. All nations are equal and he comes to negotiations with a win-win perspective.”
Another development in recent years that was particular visionary noted Pinda was how the initiative that once sought to recreate the old silk road across Asian and into Europe had expanded to include the whole world and Africa. “Africa is a huge continent but so unconnected. In cooperation with China, we could open up Africa as a continent to the international community. China is pioneering the way to create an increasingly connected international community.”
When asked to comment on the usefulness of trade wars, tariffs, and protectionism Pinda said that when the countries of the world will sit down with mutual respect and equality that there is no need for protectionism, “the win-win system is the best system.”
Pinda made quick work at exemplifying what a win-win situation looks like. “I have a fairly good idea what China has contributed [to Tanzania] as Tanzania’s Prime Minister. There are numerous good examples of what our cooperation and friendship have produced,” stating that the average Tanzania citizen appreciates the rising quality of life, medical standards and education standards that has accompanied the country’s Chinese infrastructure fueled development.
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