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Keynote Speech by His Excellency Geng Wenbing, Ambassador of the P. R. China to Switzerland at the Opening Ceremony of the Third International Parliamentary Conference of the OSCE PA Silk Road Support Group (SRG)
2019/09/06
 
Your Excellency Mr. Cassis, Federal Councilor, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland,

Your Excellency Mr. Tsereteli, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,

Your Excellency Mr. Guliyev, Chair of the SRG of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,

Honorable Mr. Lombardi, Member of Swiss Parliament,

Honorable Mme Nellen, Member of Swiss Parliament,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,
 
It gives me great pleasure to attend the Third International Parliamentary Conference of the OSCE PA Silk Road Support Group and to exchange views with all sides regarding the sustainability agenda of the One Belt One Road Initiative. I would like to begin with my appreciation for inviting me here to attend this event as Chinese representative. I am glad to deliver the statement to all of you .
 
We meet today in Andermatt, situated next to the famous St. Gottard Pass in Switzerland. Throughout the centuries, the Swiss and the early Europeans have developed various means of transport to cross the path above the clouds, from pack horses to stagecoaches, from roads to the highways and railways of today. All these endeavors are driven by one vision, that is, to build connectivity across Europe. Logically speaking, connectivity has ever since been a pursuit of the human society and served as a benchmark of the level of civilizations from the very beginning. Indeed,connectivity enables not only economic growth and social development, but also enhances exchange and mutual-learning among nations and peoples.
 
Based on the vision of connectivity, President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China put forward the "Belt and Road" Initiative (BRI) in 2013. Over the past six years, China and the BRI participating countries have jointly launched a large number of collaboration projects. Following the Silk Road spirit featuring peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefits,  and delivering win-win outcomes, a general connectivity framework has been put in place. The ancient Silk Road has been reinvigorated in the new era. By participating the "Belt and Road" Initiative, many countries and regions are turning the vision of connectivity into reality. Thanks to the BRI, East Africa now has its first motorway, the Maldives has built its first inter-island bridge, for the first time Belarus has its own automobile industry, for the first time Kazakhstan is connected to the sea, and the Eurasian continent is benefiting from the longest-distance freight train service: the CHINA RAILWAY Express. Improved infrastructure connectivity have demonstrated prominent effects on successfully facilitating economic and trade, and  generating jobs. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has generated up to 50,000 local jobs and boosted the GDP growth of Kenya by 1.5 percentage points. Thanks to implementation of the China-Pakistan Industrial Corridor, Pakistan's GDP growth has increased by 2.5 percentage points.
 
"Belt and Road" focuses on connectivity. To achieve common development and prosperity, we need to adhere to the path of sustainable development and to make joint efforts through generations, even a dozen or more. And we will share the fruits together as well.  In the  joint communique of the leaders' roundtable meeting of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) held in Beijing this April, "sustainability" is mentioned 26 times. The communique reaffirms the commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reiterates the common goal of achieving sustainable economic growth worldwide, and calls to promote green development and sustainable blue economy. It also calls to promote sustainable marine and coastal ecosystem management, to set up high-quality, reliable, risk-resistant and sustainable infrastructure, and to support the development of clean energy, just to mention a few.
 
To achieve the sustainable development goals within the framework of the "Belt and Road" initiative, we need to adhere to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We need to act in the spirit of multilateralism, pursue cooperation through consultation, and keep all participants motivated. We may, by engaging in bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation, fully tap into the strengths of all participants. BRI is not China's "one-man show", nor a 'China club', but rather an open, transparent and inclusive international cooperation platform. More than 150 countries and international organizations have signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation with China.
 
To achieve sustainable development, we need to adopt international standards and international regulations in order to pursue high standard development. China actively encourages and supports the companies to follow general international rules and standards at the project stages of development, operation, procurement, and tendering and bidding. The laws and regulations of participating countries should also be respected. China is committed to enhance international cooperation in intellectual property protection jointly with the participating countries. We will spare no effort to foster a business environment that respects the value of knowledge and promotes innovation.
 
China has made the same mistakes as the Western countries did in early industrialization by following the  'pollute first and clean up later' approach. Therefore, China attaches great importance to ecological harmony and environmental protection. China has proposed Green Silk Road Program and implemented BRI Environmental Big Data Platform services jointly with relevant countries. In addition, China has launched the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road to jointly combat corruption, and has taken various measures to achieve balanced and inclusive sustainable development in water resources, food security, agriculture, forestry, ecology, energy, finance and debt.
 
Sustainable development is focused on people. Many countries located along BRI regions are developing countries. Infrastructure bottleneck has restricted these countries to develop economy and improve people's lives. Therefore, we have prioritized poverty alleviation, job creation and improving the people's well-being as major objectives of the BRI projects. As a result, the coal power plant in Sri Lanka developed by the Chinese contractors provides about 40 percent of the nation's electricity supply, accounting the power supply for more than 20 million Sri Lanka people.  In Malawi, Africa, the boreholes China has helped to drill are now providing clean drinking water to 150,000 local people. According to the World Bank report, once the transport corridors of "the Belt and Road" are fully completed, travel time in participating countries along the corridors will shrink by 12 percent, trade will be up by 2.8 to 9.7 percent, people's real income will increase by 1.2 to 3.4 percent, and 7.6 million people will be lifted out of extreme poverty. We attach great importance to safeguarding people's rights and interests while implement the "Belt and Road" projects jointly with the participating countries. We are committed to the full extent of promoting peace and development in order to safeguard human rights. In addition, we must lay emphasis on respecting the different development stages and realities of each country; we need to give all our efforts to be anchored in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international laws; we need to base all our work on scientific planning to benefit the local economy and people's livelihood. The acceptance of and benefits to the local people are the only criterion to judge and justify these efforts.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, friends, the "Belt and Road" Initiative is originated in China, but its fruits belong to the whole world. The realization of the "Belt and Road" requires all parties concerned to participate and collaborate and to make joint and individual efforts. To this end, it will benefit the people and countries alike, achieving sustainability and prosperity, and contributing to the common progress and development of mankind.
 
Thank you!
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