China News Service, Beijing, December 12 (Xinhua) -- How to promote the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" in the next "golden decade"?

The author is Zhai Kun, professor at the School of International Studies and vice president of the Institute of Regional and Country Studies at Peking University

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Where does the future hold?

The 10rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held in mid-October, gave an answer and put forward the goal of "running towards the next golden decade". In the next decade, the Belt and Road Initiative will be given a new mission and a more forward-looking overall design.

The opening ceremony of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. Photo by Jiang Qiming

First, it answers the question of how and under what mode the Belt and Road Initiative will be continued.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, with the joint efforts of all parties, the Belt and Road Initiative has made remarkable achievements, but it has also encountered two major challenges in the past few years. One is the systemic resistance from the United States and the West, and the other is the impact of the new crown epidemic. Under the influence of these two major obstacles, the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" is facing some difficulties and uncertainties.

How can the Belt and Road Initiative continue? What should be the mode of progress? This is a matter of concern to both the policy community and the academic community. The forum answered these questions, and the answer is that the Belt and Road Initiative should not only be continuously promoted, but also high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in the next 10 years to create a new golden decade.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation not only summed up past experience, explained the problems encountered, but also put forward a new and specific development plan for the Belt and Road Initiative, namely the eight actions announced by Xi Jinping in his keynote speech to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

Citizens take photos in front of an element installation of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. Photo by Zhao Wenyu

In addition, there is another important indicator to observe - representatives of more than 150 countries and more than 40 international organizations participated in the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and reached a broad consensus. During the forum, 458 outcomes were produced, including 369 practical cooperation projects and 89 multilateral cooperation results. On the whole, the forum has systematically improved the Belt and Road Initiative, and has received more international recognition and reached a broader consensus.

Second, it gives the mission and meaning of jointly building the "Belt and Road" and "common modernization".

At the forum, the Chinese leader sent a strong signal of China's large-scale opening up to the outside world, and proposed that China is not pursuing modernization alone, but looking forward to working with developing countries, including other countries, to jointly achieve modernization, and contribute to the modernization of all countries in the world by promoting the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China is following the path of Chinese-style modernization, and is willing to work with other countries to promote modernization, and to jointly promote the modernization of the world - the "other countries" here include not only developing countries, but also developed countries; At the same time, it also puts forward new goals and hopes for the modernization of the world, including openness, inclusiveness, connectivity, and common development. Therefore, this forum has released an important signal, that is, the proposition of "common modernization" has been put forward.

It is worth noting that when understanding the Belt and Road Initiative, the previous term was to solve the problem of common development between China and the world through the Belt and Road Initiative. From now on, in the next decade, China will give the meaning of "joint construction" and "common modernization" to the Belt and Road Initiative. China is willing to work with developing countries, Belt and Road countries and all countries in the world to promote modernization.

This also puts new demands on China. For example, from the perspective of talent training, in the future, we need not only talents to promote Chinese-style modernization, but also talents to promote common modernization. From the perspective of China and its neighboring countries, whether it is Southeast Asia, South Asia or Northeast Asia, China has the mission of jointly realizing modernization through the Belt and Road Initiative, so it needs more international talents with internal and external integration in the future.

Third, we need to make an overall design for the Belt and Road Initiative in the next decade.

At the forum, Chinese leaders announced China's support for eight high-quality Belt and Road initiatives, which can be summarized as a grand pattern, a large network, a major artery, a great leadership, a great convergence and a great development. This is also the overall design of the future Belt and Road Initiative.

The "big picture" means that China is not only focusing on working with more than 150 countries to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative, but also on the common development of the world and improving global governance.

"Big network" refers to the focus on promoting three-dimensional interconnection network. Connectivity has always been the main line of the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi Jinping pointed out at the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that "infrastructure connectivity is the foundation of cooperation and development"; At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, he proposed that "we should build a global connectivity partnership to achieve common development and prosperity"; At the third forum, it was proposed to "build a three-dimensional interconnection network of the 'Belt and Road'", which is one step forward and more three-dimensional than in the past.

A China-Europe train loaded with auto parts and other goods departed from the China-Kazakhstan (Lianyungang) Logistics Cooperation Base. Photo by Wang Jianmin

The "main artery" refers to the further construction of a "new logistics channel in Eurasia" on the basis of the China-Europe train. The new logistics channel is not only a transportation channel, but also the development of logistics to further promote the development of the economic belt. At the forum, it was also proposed to "promote the integrated development of 'Silk Road Shipping' ports, shipping and trade, and accelerate the construction of new land-sea corridors and air Silk Road". In this way, the main artery connecting China and the world will be further built, including a major artery that runs through the Eurasian continent from east to west, and a new land-sea corridor connecting the world from north to south, that is, the new land-sea corridor in the west. In the process of opening up the main artery, it will gather multiple elements in multiple fields such as logistics, finance, energy, digital city construction and green development, which is a strong driving force for development.

The smart tea art robot at the site of the first "Belt and Road" Science and Technology Exchange Conference attracted guests to watch. Photo by He Penglei

"Great leadership" refers to the forward-looking and leading cooperation areas proposed by China at this forum, such as the Global Artificial Intelligence Governance Initiative, the "Global Digital Trade Expo", the first "Belt and Road" Science and Technology Exchange Conference, and the "Belt and Road" Green Innovation Conference.

The "Great Confluence" refers to the modernization of China and other countries.

"Great development" refers to promoting new development of higher quality and higher level in the post-pandemic world. The Belt and Road Initiative is consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and China's Global Development Initiative (GDI), and is a pillar of international legitimacy. In the post-pandemic world, the need for countries to develop their national economies and infrastructure is the main driving force for the sustainability of the Belt and Road Initiative. China's steady economic recovery is also an important guarantee for the continuous advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative. At the forum, representatives of more than 150 countries and more than 40 international organizations gathered to jointly solve a difficult problem, that is, to solve the problem of world development after the epidemic. Everyone talked together, and the consensus was to move forward together and find a new direction for economic development in accordance with some new areas of cooperation proposed by the Belt and Road Initiative. (ENDS)

Expert Profile:

Zhai Kun, Professor, Doctoral Supervisor, Professor of the School of International Studies, Vice Dean of the Institute of Regional and Country Studies, and Special Research Fellow of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University. His research interests include Southeast Asia, World Politics, International Strategy, Belt and Road, Global Digital Governance, and International Youth Development. He is also the vice president of the China Association of Southeast Asian Studies, the vice president of the Emerging Economies Research Association, and the vice chairman of the Belt and Road Branch of the China Association of Higher Education. He used to be the director of the Institute of Southeast Asia, South Asia and Oceania and the Institute of World Politics of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.