‘Belt and Road’ is a major initiative on common development in the world put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan and Indonesia in 2013 respectively, which has soon aroused positive responses in the international community. A large number of developing countries and some developed countries, as well as some important international organizations actively participate in the ‘Belt and Road’ international cooperation.
The world today is in an important period of political and economic transition and a profound change not seen in a century. The deficits in peace, development and governance have become grave challenges facing all mankind. All countries in the world are exploring ways to solve the common problems facing mankind, and various schemes and measures are learning from and complementing each other in competition and comparison.
‘Belt and Road’ enriches the concept of international economic cooperation and the connotation of multilateralism, and provides an important program and approach for promoting world economic growth and achieving common development. The world needs a new platform for common development, and development is an eternal topic.
Noting that, in the development history of the post-war world, very few developing countries have actually been able to join the ranks of the developed countries, although this is due to a number of factors, but the structural and conditional limitations of the international economic order are undoubtedly an important external cause. If only a few countries in the world have been doing well, and most countries have been poor and lagging behind, something must be wrong with the world development system.
In the development history of the world since the end of the war, there is another lesson to be drawn. That is, some countries have forcibly exported their own development models to some newly independent countries, thus undermining their independent development paths. Some developing countries due to their lack of political experience have blindly copied and transplanted foreign development models. As a result, they have encountered setbacks and setbacks in development issues.
The world needs a new common development platform to add new impetus to international relations in the 21st century. It was against this background that the Belt and Road Initiative was launched. The great wisdom of the “Belt and Road” common development platform, as a new common development platform in the world, is that the “Belt and Road” should be “established”, not “broken”. It is not intended to negate or replace some of the development initiatives and programmes that already exist in the world, but rather to lead and promote the balanced development of international relations by proposing new and viable plans and programmes.
To advance the ‘Belt and Road’ construction, we must focus on the fundamental issue of development, release the development potential of all countries, achieve economic integration, link development and share achievements. BRI strives to maintain cooperative and dialogue relations with established regional cooperation mechanisms in major countries and regions, and to exchange and communicate with established developmental international organizations
China’s pursuit of ‘Belt and Road’ international cooperation is based on the concept of “joint consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit”, which is determined by China’s deep understanding of the history and logic of international relations. The Chinese nation has always been a peace-loving and exchange-oriented nation.
Logically speaking, the existence of the development deficit problem in the world is related to the thinking and practice of zero-sum confrontation, sphere of influence, power politics and exclusive monopoly in the continuation of old international relations.
In a new international relationship, the development of individual countries should not be based on the failure of other countries to develop, nor should their own development be based on the sacrifice of the rights and interests of others.
Therefore, the ‘Belt and Road’ is to avoid some of the shortcomings of the past system, to strive to create a balanced, sustained and conducive to the common development of all countries in the international cooperation system, and to promote the construction of a new type of international relations.
On the issue of development paths, countries should respect each other and should not impose their own development paths on others. At the same time, they should keep an open mind and actively learn from the knowledge and experience of other countries in the field of development.
The ‘Belt and Road’ proposed by China is not an export of China’s development path, but a call for extensive dialogue and exchanges among countries in all aspects of development and governance, which is also a new area of contemporary international relations and cooperation.
In the course of its own development, China has accumulated rich knowledge and experience in the fields of politics, economy, society, culture, ecology and so on. The knowledge system of China’s development path is of great significance to the development of the world.
The knowledge and experience contained in China’s independent development path, which is explored through internal reform and innovation as well as cooperation with the outside world, for most of the countries in the world that want to develop while preserving their own independence, achieve development without sacrificing the interests of others, promote their own development while striving to develop together with others, is of great referential value.
This is precisely the important enlightenment that the Belt and Road Initiative brings to the common development of the world.
Su Changhe is executive director of Fudan University.