One Belt One Road--A Platform of Opportunities
Speech by Consul General ZHAO Jian at the Belt and Road Luncheon
2017/06/05

 

(May 30, 2017, Melbourne)

 

Honorable Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria

Honorable Andrew Robb, former Minister for Trade and Investment

Mr Malcolm Broomhead, Chairman of Orica, and Director of BHP

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends, 

Good Afternoon.

It gives me great pleasure to attend this forum. Let me first congratulate and thank the organizers of this event, the Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative, the Business Council of Australia and KPMG, for their great efforts.

The Belt and Road Initiative was put forwarded by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It aims to promote infrastructure development and greater connectivity, synergize the development policies and strategies of individual countries, deepen practical cooperation, encourage coordinated and interconnected development, and bring about common prosperity.

Two weeks ago, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. Premier Daniel Andrews attended this forum at the invitation of the Chinese government and also held fruitful meetings with China's senior officials. Just now the Premier delivered a wonderful speech and we can feel the enthusiasm of Victoria toward the Initiative.

At the forum, President Xi elaborated the Silk Road Spirit, the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. He also envisioned that we should build the Belt and Road into a road for peace, a road of prosperity, a road of opening up, a road of innovation, and a road connecting different civilizations, by increasing the connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, financing and between peoples. The forum was a great success, with a long list of cooperation outcomes released afterwards. The Initiative has won extensive support from the international community.

The success of the Initiative lies in that it is in line with world trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation. It meets the development needs of our countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a platform for open and inclusive cooperation. It originates from China, but belongs to the world. The pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative is not meant to reinvent the wheel. Rather, it aims to complement the development strategies of countries involved by leveraging their comparative strengths. It aims to create a big family of harmonious co-existence, leading us to a new model of win-win cooperation, instead of the outdated geopolitical maneuvering. China is ready to share practices of development with other countries, but will never impose its own will on others.

The basic principles of the Initiative are extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. The Initiative is open to all countries, and all countries participate, contribute and benefit as equals.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a platform focusing on development. We live in a world fraught with challenges, faced with all kinds of problems. Development holds the master key to solving all problems. The Belt and Road Initiative focuses on the fundamental issue of development and stressed on deepening of industrial cooperation. It aims to release the growth potential of various countries and achieve economic integration and interconnected development and deliver benefits to all. It aims to promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, so as to achieve both economic growth and balanced development.

In the coming 5 years, China is expected to import US$8 trillion of goods, attract US$ 600 billion of foreign investment and make a total of US$750 billion of outbound investment. As President Xi announced at the forum, China will contribute an additional RMB 100 billion to the Silk Road Fund, and will encourage financial institutions to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of about RMB 300 billion. The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing. China will also host the China International Import Expo starting from next year. All these will contribute more to the global economic growth and cooperation.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a platform focusing on people to people exchange and friendship. Friendship, which derives from close contact between the people, holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. The Initiative aims to connect different civilizations, to have exchange replacing estrangement, mutual learning replacing clashes, and coexistence replacing a sense of superiority. To this end, China proposes to boost cultural and educational cooperation, to establish think tank networks and partnerships, to strengthen exchanges between parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organizations of different countries. With more and more people-to-people exchange, there will certainly be deeper understanding, more mutual trust and respect among different countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Australia and China are both located in the Asia-Pacific region, both are committed to peace, development and cooperation, both advocate free trade and harmonious multicultural development. The Belt and Road Initiative presents tremendous opportunities for cooperation between Australia and China. China stands ready to join hands with Australia to deepen mutual understanding and trust between our two peoples, and to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and common development of our two countries. Together, we can make more contribution to the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific Region.

Firstly, both sides could seize the historic opportunity and enhance connectivity of policy and development strategy. The establishment of China-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the implementation of ChAFTA have laid sound political and economic groundwork for our two countries to promote wide-spectrum cooperation. All states of Australia attach great importance to the development of infrastructure, to innovation and to fostering new growth points of the economy. This perfectly matches the Belt and Road Initiative.

Victoria has been playing a leading role in this regard. Last year, the Victorian government introduced its latest version of China Strategy. This Strategy connected Victoria's development blue-print to China's thirteenth Five-Year Plan, and presented a vision of cooperation with China. In recent years, Chinese enterprises participated in a series of infrastructure development projects in Victoria. Not long ago, the Victorian government signed an MOU with the NDRC of China on PPP cooperation for infrastructure development. We hope and believe that there will be more cooperation in the future.

Secondly, we could fully utilize ChAFTA and further expand two-way investment and trade. China has good experience in such areas as infrastructure development and equipment manufacturing, and Australia has great advantage in agriculture, mining, hi-tech, financing and services sectors. Our two economies are highly complementary. China and Australia will be in a better position to magnify the effect and dividend of ChAFTA when we collaborate on the Belt and Road Initiative. Especially, we could accomplish more in investment promotion and trade facilitation, in removal of invisible barriers to investment and trade, and in creation of fair business environment.

Third, we could set up a model for Eastern and Western Civilization exchanges. China and Australia are culturally very different, but this difference gives us good reason to develop people-to-people exchanges. I fully agree with the Premier Andrews in forging a relationship with China that is beyond commercial transaction and focusing on people-to-people exchanges. Victoria has always taken the lead in developing cultural, sport and educational cooperation with China. Over 60,000 Chinese students are studying in Victoria right now, and over 600,000 Chinese tourists visited Victoria last year alone. The Victorian government has, for many years, been sponsoring young leaders' study tours in China. I can proudly say that Victoria has set a good example of people-to-people connectivity. The China Strategy and the vision of Premier Andrews on the Belt and Road Initiative will help bring new vigor to the already strong ties between Victoria and China.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Belt and Road Initiative is a vision of development and an open platform of cooperation. It is an idea that is gradually and steadily materializing. It offers great potential for extensive and substantial cooperation. Let's join our hands together to build the road for peace, prosperity and friendship, and deliver benefits to all people of our two great countries.

Once again, I wish today's event a great success!

Thank you.

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