The Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia recently organised an essay competition for government officials who have undergone training in China. Below is an edited version of the first of two essays which were provided by the embassy for publication.
A study visit to China was one of my most valuable experiences in my life as I had the chance to know first-hand about most populous country in the world.
China is also the world’s second largest economy and third largest country with the second biggest armed forces.
From June 26 to July 16, 2018, I attended a seminar in Beijing on the One Belt One Road Initiative cooperation between China and Asean.
The initiative is part of a global project by China, called One Belt, and One Road or Maritime Silk Road, to provide CPECs (Connection, Peace, Economic and Cooperation) to people all over the world.
I focused on four factors when attending the meeting there:
First, was the connection related to people around the world and I strongly believe the “One Belt and One Road (OBOR)” initiative project is part of a new market era in the 21st century. This massive project was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and focuses on roads, railways, seaports, airports and other infrastructures.
The Chinese Government’s OBOR can enhance connectivity and economic interactions to sixty-five countries and five regions namely, Asia, Europe, Africa, South Africa and Russia.
According to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asia needs $8.2 trillion in financial aid for infrastructure investment from 2010 to 2020. Through the OBOR project, each country in Asia can take advantage of the building of infrastructures, contractions, investment and financial cooperation with the world. Although the project is a historical initiative of China, it can help to improve regional growth.
I personally think that this project will succeed and make President Xi’s China Dream come true. The initiative focuses on both physical and spiritual connections to people and governments of countries. In reality, the physical and spiritual connection or relations between China and Cambodia started on July 19, 1958. Since then, both countries became historical, strong and strategic friends. For physical connections, China has provided aid to Cambodia to build roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. For spiritual connections, China has supported the Kingdom through training, strategies, and scholarships.
This is line with a phrase “Keeping connection means keeping friendship.”
Naturally the One Belt, and One Road initiative is not only connection or alliance with rich countries but also with the poor ones without discrimination on account of skin colour, race or religion.
Secondly the initiative focus on peaceful cooperation, which it means no war and no violence. Obviously the OBOR wants people to live, travel and trade through secure and peaceful means. If business is done without following the rule of law, there will be conflict.
The OBOR project can surely help people live harmony and peacefully in the region and lead to global integration. In today’s world, there are many varieties of crises tha threaten to people’s survival, livelihoods, and dignity. These include war, violence, conflicts, natural disasters, diseases, and poverty. Furthermore, the China Dream project can keep human security and sustainable peace in face of imminent threats, poverty, injustice; it also attempts to stay aloof from these crises and wait for a time to respond.
The OBOR project tries its best to reduce insecurity and poverty in order to promote people’s lifestyles through six peaceful categories: Peace of Mind, Peace of Body, Peace of Family, Peace at Workplace, Peace of Country and Peace of World.
The significant progress in Asean-China relations has been playing a strategic and critical role in maintaining peace, stability, prosperity and sustainability in the region. I remember visiting the Great Wall of China on July14, 2018.
The Great Wall of China has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
I asked myself why China built this Great Wall? I found that it was built to defend against invasions. As a result, no one lived in insecurity or feared aggression from other nations and were able to live in peace. There is a saying, “Building peace by yourself.”
Thirdly, the economic factor. Opening up the One Belt, and One Road, brings in new markets and ensure benefits for the future. OBOR can also help the world to create and promote a wider global market. It is a golden opportunity for investments in exports and imports of goods and services. The massive project allows for ease in doing business as well as transportation. I visited JSTI International Co Ltd on July 5, 2018 at Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China.
I was extremely surprised by the scope of China’s biggest company that builds highways and railways. Thus, China has a stronger potential for low-cost transportation.
However, some nations are still worried about law, human rights, the environment and social factors related to the OBOR. They might think OBOR projects only focus on profits or benefits.
On the contrary, studies have been carefully done to evaluate the both positive and negative points of the One Belt, and One Road projects in order to respect national and international laws, human rights, the environment as well as social factors. Actually, while travelling in Beijing, China, I noticed 12 Chinese slogans for the development of China being displayed on billboards along the way. These are Prosperity, Democracy, Civility, Harmony, Freedom, Equality, Justice, Rule of Law, Patriotism, Dedication, Integrity and Friendship.
These are part of China’s efforts to prove that it is a country that abides by the rule of law.
Therefore, other nations should not be worried too much about the negative effects of future development under the projects. Taking into consideration these factors, it is clear that the One Belt, and One Road will create a large market for each country and the world.
Fourthly, it is cooperation. It is now the 21st Century and neither individuals nor governments can live in isolation. They need to cooperate with other nations in order to promote culture, politics, diplomacy, economics and trade.
Why do we need to have cooperation? It is because cooperation can strengthen and support individual to individual, people to people, group to group and government to government interactions. Frankly speaking, if there was no good cooperation between China and Cambodia, we and other government officials would not have chances to study and visit China. I wish to express my profound gratitude to the Chinese Government and its people; especially, the Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Kingdom of Cambodia that established the “Chinese Foreign Aid Training Program” to provide opportunity for the Royal Government of Cambodia and Government officials of other countries to participate the Special Training Course.
One slogan says, “Right cooperation upgrades the country, wrong cooperation declines the country.” Moreover, cooperation has been classified into two parts namely private and public. Private cooperation is generally called primary cooperation which means to cooperate or collaborate with individuals such as in a family or group. Public cooperation is secondary cooperation which means to tie up governments with governments or institutions with institutions.
In conclusion, the One Belt, and One Road initiative has great potential to boost global economic development.
My study and research on the positive and negative aspects of One Belt, and One Road projects find that OBOR does not threaten regions or other nations. Instead, it brings about prosperity, harmony and sustainable development all over the world. The The One Belt, and One Road is key to making the China Dream come true. There are now no other countries, or powerful nations to block China from building up this smart and massive initiative.
Mr Kong Lee
Ministry of Commerce