Commentary: Belt and Road Initiative drives non-gov't cooperation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-23 21:45:32|Editor: liuxin
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BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative has proved to be an effective agent for boosting cooperation among the non-governmental sectors of countries along the routes.

Since it was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the initiative has been successful in terms of facilitating non-governmental projects, notably in infrastructure including transportation.

In 2011, there were only 17 China-Europe freight train trips, and the figure has exceeded 3,000 so far this year, according to the China Railway Corp.

As of the end of 2016, Chinese companies had built 56 zones for economic and trade cooperation in more than 20 countries along the Belt and Road routes, with a total investment of over 18.5 billion U.S. dollars, creating almost 180,000 jobs for host countries.

In Pakistan, for example, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has witnessed the construction of expressways, railways, oil and gas as well as cable projects by Chinese companies.

Non-governmental cooperation between Belt and Road countries has the potential to grow more now that there is an official network, the Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network, construction of which was announced by Xi at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May.

As the network's first forum concluded in Beijing on Wednesday, delegates agreed to set up a steering committee and a secretariat and announced plans for non-governmental cooperation among the countries in the next three years, marking a new stage for the network.

Xi sent a congratulatory letter to the forum, urging NGOs in countries along the Silk Road to contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between people of different countries, promoting common development, and building a community of shared future for mankind.

At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was held last month, the Belt and Road Initiative was written into the CPC Constitution, a move cementing the initiative's strategic position in China's future development.

These reassuring moves will boost the confidence of countries along the Belt and Road routes to participate in the initiative and open up more opportunities for non-governmental bodies.