Interview: UN chief says Belt and Road Initiative "very important opportunity"

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-24 22:05:38|Editor: mingmei
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by Xinhua writer Ma Jianguo

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a "very important opportunity" to the world.

With such a huge volume of investment for international cooperation brought about by the BRI, it is a "very important opportunity for enhancing the capacity to implement the sustainable development goals and an important opportunity to launch green perspectives in the years to come," Guterres told journalists at the UN headquarters before leaving for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

"When we look at the sustainable development goals, when we look at the 2030 agenda, we see that we are not making enough progress," the UN chief said. "Financing for development is not enough. There is not enough money. There is not enough support to developing countries in order to be able to reach the sustainable development goals," he added.

Meanwhile, "the climate change is running faster, and we are not able to fulfil the promises that were made in Paris," Guterres said, expressing his worries over the lack of political will around the world to reverse this negative trend.

According to Guterres, lots of countries could take advantage of the huge volume of investment brought by the initiative to narrow their development gap with others.

Noting that the BRI can have a stronger impact on the concerned countries, he said that the UN will give full support to them and make sure the investment and projects could be honestly integrated into their economies and societies, so as to produce a best effect for the development.

As for the climate change, Guterres said the BRI can be an extremely important tool to tackle the global issue and reverse the trend.

"We need a lot of investments in sustainable development, in renewable energy, and a lot of investments in infrastructure that respect the future, and truly sustainable," he added.

He said he is glad to host a seminar about green growth during the upcoming Belt and Road forum, in which he will make a call for more concrete actions, instead of words, to deal with the common challenge.

Commenting on China's development over the past 70 years, from one of the poorest countries in the world to the second largest economy in the world, the UN chief said that the extraordinary success of China's economic growth in the past decades is "probably a unique example in the world," if one looks at what has been in the history of development.

Speaking highly of China's strong commitment to multilateralism and closer cooperation with the world body in such areas as promoting sustainable development and global security, he said he is "very appreciative of the very meaningful increase of Chinese support to peacekeeping."

Anything that contributes to connecting different countries would make trade easier, Guterres said.

"That is exactly the opportunity that I believe the Belt and Road represents," he said, adding that it is very important to discuss and maximize the positive impacts of the BRI at this forum.

Talking about the cultural differences along the Belt and Road, Guterres said that "one of the most important things is to respect diversity, if you want to have peace and harmony."

"Diversity is richness, not a threat," he said.