BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang on Wednesday said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China aimed to promote connectivity, advance international cooperation and achieve the common development of all relevant countries.
“Many participants of the BRI are developing countries with underdeveloped economies, a huge gap in and a great demand for infrastructure construction,” Geng Shuang said during his regular press briefing.
He said that the following the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI had provided those countries with new opportunities and possibilities for shoring up weak links, breaking the bottleneck, improving the livelihood and developing their economies.
“This is one of the important reasons why this initiative is welcomed by a large number of developing countries,” he said.
The spokesperson said that when advancing the international cooperation on the BRI, China always followed the market principles and common international practices and attached importance to debt sustainability.
“In May last year, the Joint Communiqué of the Leaders Roundtable and the Belt and Road Financing Guiding Principle released at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation underlined that the Belt and Road projects should give equal consideration to the sustainability of economy, society, finance, environment, and debt,” he said.
He said that since its inception five years ago, the BRI had been echoed and endorsed by over 100 countries and international organisations.
“Now it has become the largest platform for international cooperation and the most welcomed international public good,” he said.
Gen Shuang said, “If it really will bring about so many risks, as certain people said, then I believe it will be impossible for this initiative to win widespread popularity and achieve so much progress.”
As to whether the BRI was good and whether its projects could deliver tangible benefits, no one could know better than the participating countries and their people.
He believed that the participating countries would bear their own interests in mind to make the choice and decision that could best meet their own developmental needs. When asked to comment on reports that the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank recently issued a study, saying that the loans provided under China’s Belt and Road Initiative would significantly elevate debt risks in some countries, including Pakistan, Montenegro and Djibouti, he said, “In principle, we usually do not make specific comments on the viewpoints of media, think tanks, experts and scholars.”