As its annual Two Sessions are underway, China has once again renewed its pledge to the rest of the world that it will always take the path of peaceful development and stay committed to promoting common prosperity for all countries.
The Two Sessions refer to the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, and that of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is China’s top political advisory body.
In the government work report delivered at the opening of the second session of the 13th NPC on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reiterated China’s stance on peaceful development, saying that China is ready to participate actively in reforming and improving the global governance system, and to join all other countries in making new contributions to promoting lasting peace and common development across the world.
DRIVING FORCE FOR GROWTH
Holding high the spirit of peaceful development, China has achieved remarkable economic growth over the recent decades. More importantly, China’s development has contributed a lot to world peace, stability and prosperity.
Wayne Huang, principal of the East Auckland-based Institute of Commercial Education New Zealand, said China’s peaceful development has become an anchor of stability and an engine of world growth.
“In the 40 years of reform and opening-up, I have witnessed that China has rapidly grown into the world’s second largest economy, and its ability to absorb foreign goods and foreign investment is increasing,” Huang said.
After decades of rapid development, China has become the world’s second largest economy, and its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 1.8 percent to 15.2 percent, contributing more than 30 percent of global growth for years.
In Tuesday’s government work report, Beijing sets its growth target for 2019 at 6-6.5 percent. Experts said its resolve to continue promoting open and high-quality development will provide a much-needed stimulus to global economic growth.
“The practice in the past 40 years proves that China’s peaceful development is not a threat to the world, but an anchor of stability and a driving force for growth,” Huang said. “It has increasingly become an important force for safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.”
PARTNER FOR PEACE, PROSPERITY
By words and deeds, China has repeatedly reassured the world that China’s peaceful development will yield win-win outcomes and whatever stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.
On Friday, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing Two Sessions that China will continue to follow a peaceful development path, uphold the existing international system, favor cooperation over confrontation while shouldering more responsibilities, as the country moves closer to the world’s center stage.
Petr Bystron, a member on the German Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, said, “China’s peaceful policy is a major factor of stability in the world and a haven of peace in Asia.”
“We are recording China’s steadily growing weight in international relations since the end of the bi-polar world. The rise of China’s economic importance is accompanied by an increase in political responsibility,” Bystron said.
China is assuming more global responsibilities as it develops, such as safeguarding global peace and security through UN peacekeeping missions.
In December, China’s share of the UN peacekeeping budget was raised from 10.24 percent to 15.22 percent, making it the second largest contributor only after the United States.
Meanwhile, China has been trying to promote common development by inviting nations around the world to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The BRI, first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
The initiative has become the world’s largest platform for international cooperation and the most welcomed global public goods, Wang said at Friday’s press conference.
He noted that a total of 123 countries and 29 international organizations have signed BRI agreements with China.
Such kind of cooperation has brought development opportunities for countries along the Belt and Road.
Take the Mombasa-Nairobi railway for example. The railway, which was built with assistance of Chinese companies and launched in 2017, has provided 50,000 jobs for local people and is estimated to have boosted Kenya’s GDP by 1.5 percent annually, according to official figures.
NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME
As Beijing is promoting cooperation within the BRI framework, some Western politicians and media accuse China of setting up a debt trap.
Such accusations are groundless, said Zhang Shuibo, a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and head of School of International Project Management in China’s Tianjin University.
By building infrastructure in countries along the Belt and Road, China is providing public goods for the international community in areas where Western countries are not interested in investing because of low project returns, he said.
“However, it (BRI) helps improve people’s livelihood and enhance sustainable development of those countries. China eyes mutual benefits so it is willing to invest in infrastructure to promote connectivity,” Zhang added.
Keith Bennett, vice chairman of Britain’s 48 Group Club, said the BRI “is inclusive and offers the greatest opportunity for both investment and development in decades.”
“Its emphasis on infrastructure and connectivity lays the best possible foundations for promoting all-round, comprehensive economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood in the future,” he said.
As regards the future, Xi’s ideas of building a community of shared interest and a community with a shared future for mankind strike a chord with many around the world.
“What President Xi has done with the concept of the community of shared interest was to put on the table an operating platform for how nations would work together without going to war, without ending up in conflict, and resolve their differences amicably through negotiation, through give-and-take, through win-win solution,” said William Jones, Washington bureau chief of the U.S. publication Executive Intelligence Review.
“That has to be the wave of the future. More and more of the world is understanding now this is what we should be doing,” he added. Enditem