In 1662, at the wedding of Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza and Charles II, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, two items in the dowries, exquisite porcelain and mellow tea from China, caused a sensation in the whole of Europe. Porcelain and tea entered the Portuguese upper class through bilateral trade between China and Portugal.
In 2018, Portugal and China signed an agreement on cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, making Portugal the first country in Western Europe to participate in the initiative.
Such stories continue to emerge. Since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the initiative in 2013, China’s “circle of friends” has continued to expand. By the end of October 2019, China had concluded cooperation agreements with 137 countries and 30 international organizations.
As a Chinese saying goes, “To know whether a policy is good or not, you should see if it makes people frown or smile.”
In Uzbekistan, Chinese personnel worked closely with locals, building a 19-kilometer tunnel in just 900 days. The tunnel, which is the longest in Central Asia allows Uzbeks living in remote areas to travel through mountains and ranges in 900 seconds or just 15 minutes.
Thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative, fishermen who catch crayfish along the banks of the Nile in Egypt can now see their crayfish on Chinese people’s dining tables. The high demand from China also puts more money in their pockets. For them, the initiative is a path to wealth.
In Serbia, Chinese companies helped revive a near-bankrupt steel plant, securing jobs and stable incomes for 5,000 workers.
Joint construction with participating countries allows Belt and Road countries to align their development strategies and match their strengths, thus releasing the development potential of these countries and bringing tangible benefits to their peoples.
Our world today is a “disordered world.” Against the backdrop of profound changes, development is the master key to solving all problems.
The reason why the BRI has attracted so many participants is that it conforms to the desire of countries, especially developing ones, to seek development.
Belt and Road construction is successful because it focuses on economic development rather than promoting political output; promotes openness and cooperation rather than protectionism; aims to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results rather than to play zero-sum games; adheres to international rules rather than separate rules; and offers the world a path to opportunities and prosperity.
The Belt and Road is China’s solution for win-win cooperation.