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"Dnevnik" publishes article on "the Belt and Road" written by Ambassador Wen Zhenshun

2015-04-27

 

On 25th April, Macedonian "Dnevnik" publishes article  on "the Belt and Road" written by Mr. Wen Zhenshun, Ambassador of People's Republic of China to the Republic of Macedonia.

 

 

The English translation of the article is as follows:

 

The Belt and Road:New Opportunity for Cooperation Between China and Macedonia

With the review of human history, the Silk Road on land which started more than two thousand years ago and the Maritime Silk Road built afterwards together provided a great communication channel in economic & trade and culture field between China and the Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa and Europe. In the past thousand years, the Silk Road promoted the progress of human civilization, and became an important belt to contribute greatly to the prosperity and development of the countries along the Silk Road.

Today, undertaking the mission and call of the new century, the ancient Silk Road is endowed with the new content and topics, which once again instills vigor and vitality. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the Belt and Road), which have attracted close attention and support from nearly 60 countries and many international organizations along the route. On 28th March 2015, the Chinese government drafted and published the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road to promote the implementation of the Initiative, which considered as a white paper that would guideline the construction of the Belt and Road and attract lots of attention from the international society.

Complex and profound changes are taking place in the world. The world economy is recovering slowly, and global development is diversified. Countries still face big challenges in their development. To make a prosperous economy, to create more jobs and to improve people's living conditions have been the priorities for all the countries. The Belt and Road aims at encouraging the countries along the route to achieve economic policy coordination and carry out broader and deeper regional cooperation of higher standards, and jointly creating an open, inclusive and balanced regional economic cooperation architecture that benefits all. The Belt and Road will meet the requirements and help align and coordinate the development strategies of the countries along the Belt and Road, tap market potential in this region, promote investment and consumption, create demands and job opportunities, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and mutual learning among the peoples of the relevant countries, and enable them to understand, trust and respect each other and live in harmony, peace and prosperity.

The Belt and Road Initiative is in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It insists mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity without seeking dominance in regional affairs and sphere of influence. The Initiative adheres to the principle of being open for cooperation, harmonious and inclusive, market operation and mutual benefit. Its conception is to develop commonly together with the target to win-win cooperation. The initiative will not be dominated by one country but engaged in all the countries along the Belt and Road, which will be the biggest beneficiaries.

The Belt and Road mainly includes "five actions". Based on their own resource advantages of countries along the Belt and Road, the actions, namely, Policy Coordination, Facilities Connectivity, Unimpeded Trade, Financial Integration, People-to-People Bond, will be taken by mutual cooperation and complementary, especially concentrated on pragmatic and specific project cooperation. Related countries will harvest the pragmatic benefit.

First, Enhancing policy coordination is an important guarantee for implementing the Initiative. Countries along the Belt and Road may fully coordinate their economic development strategies and policies, work out plans and measures for regional cooperation, negotiate to solve cooperation-related issues, and jointly provide policy support for the implementation of practical cooperation and large-scale projects.

Second, Facilities connectivity is a priority area for implementing the Initiative. Countries along the Belt and Road should improve the connectivity of their infrastructure construction plans and technical standard systems, jointly push forward the construction of international trunk passageways, strengthen the cooperation in infrastructure fields such as road, energy, telecommunication etc, and form an infrastructure network connecting all sub-regions in Asia and between Asia, Europe and Africa step by step.

Third, Investment and trade cooperation is a major task in building the Belt and Road. We should strive to improve investment and trade facilitation, and remove investment and trade barriers. We will discuss with countries and regions along the Belt and Road on opening free trade areas so as to make a bigger and better cake.

Fourth, Financial integration is an important support for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. We should expand the scope and scale of bilateral currency swap and settlement with other countries along the Belt and Road, make joint efforts to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. We will support the efforts of governments of countries along the Belt and Road their financial institutions and companies to issue Renminbi bonds in China.

Fifth, People-to-people bond provides the public support for implementing the Initiative. We should promote extensive cultural and academic exchanges, personnel exchanges and cooperation, media cooperation, youth and women exchanges and volunteer services, so as to win public support for deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Macedonia, locating at the gate of southeast Europe, which has an obvious geographical advantage, is an important partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. Now the bilateral relationship between China and Macedonia is at its best period ever with the promotion of the mechanism of, "16+1", China-CEEC in recent years. High-level government officials and ordinary people from both countries pay visit to each other frequently. Fruitful economic and trade cooperation has been built. Notably, the two highways, which are being built by Sinohydro and financed with the preferential loan from EXIM Bank, have created many jobs in Macedonia. The two highways will promote the production and consumption alongside their location, and put through the Macedonian transportation network. Macedonia will more widely engage into the regional and international connection passages, and more business and fortune will be attracted.

Both China and Macedonia have the extensive common interests. People of the two countries share the same great characteristics of peace loving, friendliness, honesty and kind heart. Both countries have broad prospect cooperation on the Belt and Road construction. Last December, the four countries, China, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary, unanimously agreed to jointly build a land-sea express passage in Belgrade Meeting. This land-sea express passage extends from the Piraeus Port of Greece to Budapest of Hungary via Skopje of Macedonia and Belgrade of Serbia, which will improve the transportation efficiency from Aegean Sea to European heart. Meanwhile, the four countries made a Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Customs Facilitation , which will advance the construction of the land-sea express passage and create a pre-condition in transportation. Now Chinese and Macedonian sides have initiated the feasibility study on this project, and further work will be started when a win-win cooperation model is found. Besides, both sides are exchanging ideas on the cooperation in fields of investment, energy, agriculture, tourism, culture and others, especially in the sectors such as road, power station, building materials, animal husbandry and winery export, etc.

It is worth appreciation that Macedonian government responds and supports positively to the Belt and Road Initiative. I believe that the Belt and Road will provide a broader platform for both countries' mutual beneficial cooperation. Let's seize the new opportunities to compose a new chapter of the Silk Road, and promote bilateral relations to a new level.

( Wen Zhenshun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Macedoina)

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