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Turning a New Page in World History
Giovanni Andornino, associate professor at the University of Turin in Italy
President Xi’s speech at the opening ceremony contained extensive references to an oft-forgotten past that already bound the Eurasian space together across the ages. China’s desire to reinforce other countries’ regional strategies for connectivity is a potential game-changer for growth in Asia and for the advancement of agendas that can foster human development from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
I was happy to note Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s presence at the forum. It is a moment of great responsibility. It is an exciting new phase in world history. Even though transitions occur gradually, the Belt and Road Forum was one of those moments when you perceive the shifting shape of global order.
The previous Silk Roads existed at times of peace and stability, but today flashpoints and structural fissures in the global order are clearly visible. The Belt and Road Initiative will have to mitigate and contribute to overcoming these challenges in order to be implemented successfully.
The foundation of the Belt and Road Initiative is China’s wisdom, and its capacity to generate opportunities for win-win growth. If China can lead processes that spur human development, peace and stability across Eurasia, she will have gained others’ trust and contributed immensely to her own future and that of the world.
A New Model for Global Economic Cooperation
Mushahid Hussain Sayed, chairman of the Pakistan Parliamentary Committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
President Xi made a brilliant and comprehensive speech, which was very scientific and well-organized. Containing abundant information, his speech not only gave a historical context for the Silk Road including both land and sea routes, but also talked about how connectivity was achieved in the past.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a new model for global economic cooperation that aims to include everybody, and President Xi gave concrete steps to turn that vision into reality. This Initiative is probably the most important diplomatic and development initiative of the 21st Century.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the biggest cooperative project in the history of international relations between any two countries. It is a success story, and the Belt and Road Initiative is also a success story.
Respecting Other Civilizations Is Important
Sameh El-Shahat, president of China-I Ltd.
President Xi called the spirit of the Silk Road part of the “great heritage” of human civilization and said that the Belt and Road should be a “road of civilization,” along which different countries understand, respect and trust each other.
The idea of respecting other countries’ civilizations is very new. If you put it together with investment, it offers a different way of thinking. If you don’t respect another country’s civilization, you cannot invest there in the long term. To achieve sustained investment, a country must respect the target country’s civilization. You cannot do it any other way. This is important and should be understood by other countries.
China treats other countries as friends under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a new idea. Not everything is about money, but about contribution.