The 2023 Belt and Road Forum for Land-sea Interconnected Development kicked off in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on May 17.
Chongqing welcomed political dignitaries, scholars from think tanks, industrial professionals, and business people from partner countries of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), who came to seek development plans, share development opportunities, and shape a new future for land-sea interconnected development.
In his speech, Yuan Jiajun, a Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Secretary of CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee said that over the past decade, under the strong leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and with the active participation and support of all parties, China has achieved substantial achievements in promoting the high-quality development of the Belt and Road cooperation. For instance, the country has opened more fields to the outside world, promoted institutional opening-up, made more friends, explored new ways to stimulate joint development, and realized shared benefits and win-win results with partner countries.
Yuan noted that Chongqing is the only municipality directly under the central government administration in western and central China and a strategic stronghold of the Western Development Strategy; it sits at the intersection of the Belt and Road routes and the Yangtze River Economic Zone and sees New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC), China-Europe freight trains, Yangtze River Golden Waterway, and Chongqing-Manzhouli-Russia International Railway Logistics Channel meet here. It plays a unique and crucial role in the Belt and Road land-sea interconnected development. The Forum has built an important platform for in-depth exchanges, mutual learning, opening up, and cooperation among all parties. He hoped that guests could share their ideas to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, co-initiate a new journey for the land-sea interconnected development, facilitate further progress in the Belt and Road cooperation, and contribute to building a community with a shared future for humanity.
Sounthone Xayachack, Secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of Lao People's Revolutionary Party and Vice President of the National Assembly of Lao People's Democratic Republic said that countries in the region had achieved a lot in cooperation in various fields, and the number of countries supporting and participating in BRI is also increasing. Together with Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub, China's BRI is bringing tangible benefits to both countries social and economic development, creating employment opportunities for the people, and alleviating poverty in Laos to some extent. All countries should respond to the complicated and volatile international situation, work more closely, intensify experience exchanges, improve liaison mechanisms, and cooperate mutually beneficial to achieve more significant results and promote human development.
China's BRI has obtained remarkable results in cooperation with Asian and African countries in recent years, said Agung Laksono Soemono, Chairman of the Expert Council of the Golkar Party and former Speaker of the People's Representative Council of Indonesia. Indonesia is located along the Belt and Road on a crucial strategic channel. It actively gives full play to its advantages, seizes opportunities to cooperate with others, and enjoys a broad prospect in maritime trade, port construction, shipping safety, and other areas.
During the 2022 Group of 20 (G20) Bali summit, Indonesia and China signed several cooperation agreements, advancing relevant action plans under the BRI framework and cooperating more closely in medicinal plant innovation, industrial vocational training, digital economy, and bilateral economy and trade. It is believed that with such efforts, the two countries' relationship will continue to grow and become a driver, stabilizer, and engine for regional development, contributing to the well-being of all humanity, equity and justice, and regional peace and stability.
After the opening ceremony, a friendly cooperation agreement between Chongqing and foreign think tanks and other documents were signed, and the ILSTC International Exchanges and Cooperation Center and ILSTC Think Tank Alliance were established.
The year 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI. Under the theme of Shaping a New Shared Future for Interconnected Land-Sea Development, the Forum comprises a plenary session, parallel meetings, achievement releases, visits and inspections, and symposiums. Chinese and foreign guests will also closely examine Chongqing's economic and social development and share opinions with experts and scholars from Chongqing think tanks.
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