Speech by Mr. Zhang Baowen, Vice-Chairperson of the Standing Committee of NPC
at the China-France NGO Roundtable Discussion on the ¡°Belt and Road¡± Initiative and
its Influence on China-France, China-EU Relations
April 7, 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends, I¡¯m delighted to attend the roundtable discussion jointly held by the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU) and Jean
Jaur¨¨s Foundation of France, and have exchanges with you in person who have been supportive of China-France relations. I would like to start by extending my sincere gratitude, on behalf of the National People¡¯s Congress, CAFIU and in my own name, to all of you who are present today. Please feel free to speak out to jointly contribute
to mutual understanding and cooperation between China and France.
The contemporary world is undergoing profound changes, with accelerated development in economic globalization and social informatization. The global village is gradually taking shape, and the world is increasingly flattened. Meanwhile, the world also witnesses the undercurrent of anti-globalization as well as rising populism, with more
uncertainty as a result of the Trump administration and Brexit. People of various countries show both expectations and perplexity for the future. In this scenario, many countries look to China, in the hope that China can play an active and stable role in the uncertain world. In fact, China does assume such a role. In January this year, President Xi made two keynote speeches in the World Economic Forum in Davos and the UN headquarter in Geneva, elaborating on major issues for mankind such as economic globalization and building a community of shared future. According to many statesmen and commentators, President Xi¡¯s speeches reassured the whole world and gave a powerful counter-blow
against trade protectionism. It led the world to have a more balanced view of economic globalization, and boosted the confidence of the whole world.
Nowadays, France, Europe and the rest of the world all follow China closely, in the hope of better understanding China and sharing more opportunities from China¡¯s development. Where can we find more opportunities? My suggestion is that we should strengthen China-France and China-EU cooperation and jointly contribute to the ¡°Belt
and Road¡± initiative.
The ¡°Belt and Road¡± initiative is a great undertaking promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and common development of countries. In the past over three years, it has
received considerable support and positive feedback from over 100 countries and international organizations. The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank has been set up and gone into operation, the Silk Road Fund has been formed, several bilateral and multi-lateral major projects have been pushed forward, and the Chinese enterprises
have invested over 50 billion USD in the Belt and Road partner countries. Last year alone, the ¡°Belt and Road¡± initiative has created 1.1 billion USD of tax revenue and 180,000 jobs for the host country. Next month, China will stage the ¡°Belt and Road¡± Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, for which the elites from the government,
business, academia and other walks of life will conduct extensive consultation for cooperation, jointly contribute to the cooperation platform and share the benefits of cooperation. The forum is expected to seek solutions for global and regional economic problems, and invigorate the connected development. It will surely boost opening-up,
exchanges and integration to a broader, higher and deeper extent.
It is quite natural that some people do not understand the ¡°Belt and Road¡± since it is new, and some people even think that it is created for China¡¯s own interest. In fact, the ¡°Belt and Road¡± is initiated by China but benefits the world. At the very beginning since its adoption, China proposed the principles of ¡°extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits¡±. It is not a ¡°solo¡± for China but a ¡°symphony¡± of countries, an international public good that can benefit the world. Instead of an empty slogan, it provides
tangible and substantive measures. Focusing on connectivity, it lays great emphasis on economic cooperation especially infrastructure construction, and fits the demand of the partner countries and the region. It will not only boost globalization towards a balanced and tolerant way, but also the global governance system towards a more just
and reasonable way. In other words, the ¡°Belt and Road¡± is a road of connectivity, cooperation, win-win progress and common prosperity. China is ready to make concerted efforts with the partner countries and jointly share the opportunities and seek development.
The ¡°Belt and Road¡± development also offers great opportunities for China-France and China-EU cooperation. France and Europe used to be the end of the ancient Silk Road, and China-France and China-EU exchanges have greatly pushed the communication between eastern and western civilizations. Nowadays, the ¡°Belt and Road¡± once again invigorates China-France and China-EU cooperation. In 2016, the first China-Europe rail to L¨¦on was officially opened up. China and France have conducted effective cooperation in civil nuclear power, aviation and other areas. The cooperation of China and France concerning the ¡°Belt and Road¡± not only improves the connectivity between the Chinese and French markets but also inside the Euro-Asia continent, and will benefit the people of the two countries. The cooperation of China and France in the Hinkley Point plant of the UK is a typical example.
Rome is not built in one day, and neither can the ¡°Belt and Road¡± development be accomplished in a short term. The ¡°Belt and Road¡± initiative not only calls for the support of the government and statesmen, but also the extensive participation of the social organizations, enterprises and ordinary people of both countries. People-to-people connectivity lays a solid foundation for the ¡°Belt and Road¡± initiative. We are willing to strengthen the cooperation with French organizations such as the Jean Jaur¨¨s Foundation, promote the cultural and people-to-people exchanges with France, and enhance the understanding and trust between the two peoples.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends, Boasting ancient and unique civilizations, both China and France are countries of significant influence in the world. I firmly believe that the
exchanges and cooperation between China and France will strongly push forward the development of both countries, as well as the development of four partnerships between China and Europe ¨C peace, growth, reform and civilization, and contribute to the community of shared future of mankind.
Let us make concerted efforts to a better future of China-France and China-EU relations!
Thank you all.
(Translated by Ma Jingjing)