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Author:Yolaidy Martinez Ruiz
Awards applied for: In-depth Reporting Award
Title of entry:Belt and Route, Roads Expanding from China
Participating organizations: Personal
Introduction to entry:
The article reflects on the role of China as a promoter of a more interconnected world through projects that not only boost the inclusive and balanced growth, but at the same time lead to shared responsibilities, environmental conservation and the fight against crime and all kinds of illegal activities, especially the protection of intellectual property. It details this nation’s commitments to continue opening its doors, offer a better business environment and increase cultural and people-to-people exchange among Belt and Road countries to realize in-depth cooperation in education, science, culture, sports, tourism, health care, archaeology and other areas. Besides, it highlights the call made by president Xi Jinping while addressing the high-level plenary session, to jointly face challenges, oppose all attempts to impose protectionism and unilateralism, safeguard a multilateral system and a world order based on rules.
Introduction to author:
Chief Correspondent of Latin American News Agency, better known as Prensa Latina, in China.
Belt and Route, Roads Expanding from China
29 April 2019 Prensa Latina

Beijing, (Prensa Latina) The Belt and Road Initiative emerges as a model of international relationship where everyone benefits, moves together towards development and shared responsibilities, against the bad predictions from the West.

This was shown at the Second Forum Belt and Road for International Cooperation, held on April 25th- 27th in Beijing and consolidated as a platform where openness, connectivity and harmonious coexistence will prevail above pressing issues of the global agenda.

Unlike its first edition in 2017, the event attracted a higher number of leaders (37) and foreign participants (5000), and also had more collateral activities (12).

It closed with $64 billion pacts signed during a business meeting and 283 concrete results involving the implementation of financing plans, investments and multilateral cooperation networks.  

In the Joint Declaration issued after its closure, the rulers reaffirmed the importance of strengthening multilateralism, the role of the World Trade Organization and a trade system based on universal, open, transparent and non-discriminatory rules.

They rejected protectionism, unilateralism and all kinds of punitive actions, and agreed to promote peace, development, human rights and win-win cooperation, as well as to respect the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The emphasis was placed on working for the inclusive, sustainable and balanced global growth, where human beings are the key and prevails the environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and the use of clean energy.

China launched several programs and committed to prepare 500 foreign specialists on the issue through the so-called Silk Green Road.

Regarding the Belt&Road, the text highlighted the progress made since its implementation and the opportunities created for trade, innovation and people to people exchanges.

Dignitaries agreed to further promote cooperation based on consultations, transparency, willfulness, respect the global regulations, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national laws.

They decided to expand the interconnection, take advantages of the socio-economic strategies of regional blocs such as the African Union, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Arab League, European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Fulfilling that goal will see more foreign investment and treaties to avoid double taxation, as well as the prevention of illegalities through the Clean Road anti-corruption mechanism, also aimed to protect intellectual property.

Further efforts will be also made to guarantee digital infrastructure and air, sea and land transportation between all territories included in the corridor, especially those without coastal lines.

Among other issues, cultural, scientific, academic, health, archaeology, sport, education, tourism and youth interactions will continue because of their contribution to mutual knowledge, dialogue and rapprochement between different societies around the world.

China in the next five-year period will invite 10,000 think-tanks, members of political parties, non-governmental organizations and 5000 talents to join exchange programs with local counterparts.

Besides, it will increase the scholarships and forums between parliamentarians, media professionals, women and people with disabilities.

--Although the mega project has a well-prepared plan for the future, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed it still faces challenges due to international uncertainties.

That's why he called for concerted efforts to ensure the Belt&Road helps to build a better world, with a promising future and prosperity for all peoples.

"Surely we will face difficulties, there will be advances and setbacks, but no matter how free or challenging be the path, we need to follow the spirit of the partnership, not forget our initial goal and move forward firmly," he emphasized.

Xi also welcomed more nations and companies to join the corridor, pointing out that China is open to work meticulously with all parties and improve each essential aspect.

China, he announced, will negotiate new free trade agreements with more countries, lower tariffs, increase exports, open more free zones and sectors to foreign capital, and prohibit forced technology transfer.

"China will increase the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign owners over intellectual property (...) and create a business environment where the value of knowledge is respected," he said.

The President added his country will continue to improve currency exchange mechanisms for the yuan or renminbi, and will keep its quote at a stable, reasonable and balanced level.  

The Belt&Road is seen as an alternative that will help to revive the global economy at a time when the United States pushes for protectionism and threatens the world development.

It is called to raise productivity in its 129 member states and 29 global groups.

According to official reports, since 2013 trade volume within the project exceeded six trillion dollars, investments reached $80 billion and the establishment of 82 cooperation parks resulted in 300 thousand jobs.

Some voices rumor that China's influence and alleged debt traps with this plan have increased, but Beijing denies any expansionist purposes or interest in harming others.

It has always stressed that it does not impose any cooperation initiative, as those proposed have the support of all partners.

This position is appreciated by world leaders such as UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who defines the Belt&Road as an opportunity to connect different countries, facilitate trade, share information and knowledge, and contribute to equitable globalization.

Gladys Bejerano, Cuba's vice president of the State Council, told Prensa Latina that this is a non-neoliberal globalization and China with its "socialist spirit of cooperating and contributing to the development, brings us very close to the  thought of Fidel Castro, that a better world is possible."

"Everything that seeks better living conditions of human beings, to strengthen independence, interconnection and sharing without subjugation (...), I think is fundamental and it's what many people need", she said.

*Prensa Latina Chief Correspondent in China