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BRI has become a platform of international collaboration

George N. Tzogopoulos | 2022-11-03 | Hits:
Chinese Social Sciences Today

China’s 1978 reform and opening-up is a key pillar for the country’s success in the previous decades. This policy has allowed cooperation with the West and has contributed to China’s internal transformation. 

China’s modernization 

Against this backdrop, China has managed to become the second biggest economy in the world and deal with difficult problems such as poverty. In the aftermath of the 20th CPC National Congress, reform and opening-up will continuously operate as a policy to guarantee progress. China, however, needs to carefully look at and respond to some concerns of Western companies in order to safeguard a mutually accepted way forward for the years to come. Concerns are rising during the pandemic due to the lack of people -to-people exchanges. 

China’s modernization is leading the improvement of the quality of life of its own citizens. In parallel with the elimination of poverty, another example is the realization of infrastructure works which have facilitated conditions for ordinary life in several regions of China. Additionally, China is making steps in reducing pollution, a critical priority. The more China grows the more it contributes to world growth and trade. Responsibilities are thus becoming bigger because the international community expects from China to stabilize the world economy in times of crises and function as an engine for development. 

Belt and Road Initiative 

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a Chinese flagship project contributing to interconnectivity and win-win synergies. Several works had started before the pandemic and are currently progressing. The world needs growth and the Belt and Road Initiative can play a role towards this direction. Perhaps the organization of an international conference to assess the Belt and Road Initiative ten years after its launch will be a good idea. 

Greece and China have agreed to jointly construct the “Belt and Road” Initiative. The investment of the Chinese company COSCO Shipping in the port of Piraeus has been successful linking Asia and Europe via Greece. This investment will have a long duration as the contract will expire in the 2050s. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and China and this has been an opportunity for the two countries to celebrate and discuss new perspectives as well as challenges in the bilateral partnership. 

The Belt and Road Initiative has indeed become a platform of international collaboration. Within this context, collaboration is necessary for the future. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine are rather shaping the debate now at the world stage. The Belt and Road Initiative, for example, can foster interconnectivity in Eurasia though the conflict in Ukraine makes its realization there difficult for security and safety reasons. What is required is a new debate about how the “Belt and Road” Initiative might better function under the new circumstances. The success of the past is critical but the adjustment in the new conditions the next necessary step. 

George N. Tzogopoulos is director and senior research fellow of EU-China Programmes, Centre International de Formation européenne (CIFE). This article was edited based on an exclusive interview on Hemant Adlakha by CSST. 

Edited by BAI LE