Jorge Chediek, the UN secretary-general's envoy on South-South cooperation, speaks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency in New York, the United States, on March 3, 2017. The UN office in charge of promoting South-South cooperation is seeking a stronger partnership with developing countries, including China, Jorge Chediek told Xinhua in a recent interview. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
by Xinhua writer Gu Zhenqiu
UNITED NATIONS, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China is playing a leading role in promoting South-South cooperation as the world's largest developing country will host two important diplomatic events this year, a senior UN official has said.
The two high-level events -- the first international cooperation summit forum on the Belt and Road Initiative and the 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) summit -- are closely associated with South-South cooperation, said Jorge Chediek, the UN secretary-general's envoy on South-South cooperation.
"China is now one of the main actors in South-South cooperation," he said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Chediek, who is from Argentina, was appointed as the UN secretary-general's envoy on South-South cooperation in March 2016. Since October 2015, he has been the director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) leading United Nations system-wide promotion and coordination of South-South cooperation for development.
CHINESE INITIATIVE IS A MODEL FOR WORLD
The high-level forum on the Belt and Road initiative is to be held in Beijing, the Chinese capital, in May to brainstorm about interconnected development.
"We consider the Belt and Road Initiative, one of the most important, a partnership that has been developed in the world in the last few years," said Chediek.
The Chinese initiative "is basically attempted to reshape the economic geography of the world and to really integrate the South and also some parts of the North through access of the road into a new economic space that we bring prosperity and friendship throughout that region."
"So really it is a model on how the South-South cooperation can be conducted on a massive scale," he said.
China proposed in 2013 the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, collectively known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and developed European economic circle at the other, and encompassing countries with huge potential for economic development.
Some 60 countries are along the Belt and Road, accounting for 60 percent of the world population, 30 percent of the world gross product, 40 percent of the world trade, and more than 50 percent of the population under the extreme poverty line.
"By definition, the Belt and Road Initiative is a really South-South cooperation initiative," Chediek said. "So we would like to work in partnership with the government of China and other governments in the region to facilitate a mechanism for the South-South cooperation to materialize."
At present, UNOSSC has a partnership with the government of cities along the Chinese part of the Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road to promote their engagement, he said.
"This partnership should not be limited to the central government, but to involve the local governments, local authorities, civil society and private sectors because this is an initiative that is decided on the concept that we bring prosperity and sustainable development to a very important part of the world," he said.
The Chinese initiative can not only increase trade and investment in the countries along the Belt and Road, which is conducive to economic growth in these nations, but also help these countries expand their trade with other countries far away from the Belt and Road, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese initiative can also play a very positive role in helping countries along the Belt and Road in their efforts to reduce poverty and boost infrastructure construction.
"We really commend the commitment of the government of the People's Republic of China in leading this initiative," he said. "We are very confident that this will offer a lot of opportunities to re-launch and obtain even more commitments of other countries and other partners with this great initiative."
CHINESE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE ESSENTIAL
"BRICS countries are very important partners in the South," Chediek said. "Their collective work is very important in developing the multiple world that we are aspired to."
BRICS represents 40 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of global GDP.
China is scheduled to convene the summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS in September in eastern China's Xiamen City. China voices its hope that the 9th summit will help BRICS countries forge a stronger partnership for a brighter future.
The BRIC cooperative mechanism was established in 2006, with the first BRIC summit held in Russia's Yekaterinburg in 2009. South Africa was admitted in 2010, adding the "S" to the original grouping.
"The work that China is doing both in cooperation and economic collaboration with many countries of the South is an example for the world and also becomes a source of prosperity for many countries," Chediek said.
"The contributions of China in terms of South-South cooperation are essential, we really welcome the engagement that has been made so far, and we look forward to continuing the engagement and from our part to continue the partnership to show that China has too much to contribute."
Apart from resources and technology, China has also provided an alternative vision of development, like different ways of administrating economy and administrating the development process, that it is also helping many countries to bypass different stages of development, he said.
"It is really essential that China remains engaged in South-South cooperation," he said. "So we express our gratitude to the people and government of China for engaging in this activity in building a better world."