Jointly Building “the Belt and Road” and sharing a Brighter Future
Ambassador to Timor-Leste Xiao Jianguo Published a Sighed Article
22 March 2022
In 2013, China proposed “the Belt and Road” Initiative, which aims to enhance policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, and to create new opportunities for the common development of all countries. Over the past nine years, China, together with its partners, including Timor-Leste, has been guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursued open, green and clean cooperation, taken “hard connectivity” in infrastructure as an important direction, “soft connectivity” in rules and standards as an important support, and “heart connectivity” with the people of the partner countries as an important foundation, which have achieved substantial results.
1. Hand in hand, forge ahead and jointly promote high-quality “the Belt and Road” cooperation.
At present, the epidemic and the changes of the century are overlapping, and global issues such as climate change are emerging one after another. In the face of the new situation and new challenges, China has always taken the lead in building a closer “the Belt and Road” partnership, and promoted the steady progress of international cooperation along “the Belt and Road”.
Practical cooperation fruitful. At first, trade connectivity has been raised to a new level: In 2021, the trade volume of goods between China and “the Belt and Road” partner countries hit a new high in eight years, with a year-on-year increase of 23.6%. In 2021, China’s actual use of foreign investment rose by 14.9 per cent year-on-year. Among them, the actual investment from the partner countries increased by 29.4% year-on-year. Secondly, investment cooperation has made new progress: In 2021, China’s direct investment in partner countries increased by 7.9% year-on-year. For the first time, direct investment in China from partner countries exceeded US$10 billion. Thirdly, new breakthroughs in project construction has been made: In 2021, the contracted projects completed by Chinese enterprises in partner countries accounted for 57.9% of the total of all countries, and numbers of major infrastructure projects in partner countries have been completed, accelerating the “hard connectivity” of infrastructure.
The Green Silk Road gaining momentum. China is committed to working with its partners to improve global environmental governance, actively address climate change, and promote the building of a community of life for people and nature. China has proposed the goal of achieving peak carbon and carbon neutrality, providing further guidance and strong impetus for the construction of the Green Silk Road. China strongly supports the green and low-carbon development of energy in developing countries, and a number of large-scale wind power, hydropower and other clean energy projects built in cooperation with relevant countries have been officially put into operation. In 2021, China launched “the Belt and Road” Green Development Partnership Initiative with 31 partner countries, calling for international cooperation to achieve a green and sustainable economic recovery and promote low-carbon, resilient and inclusive economic growth post-epidemic.
A Healthy Silk Road on the rise. In the face of the global pandemic of the COVID-19, China has been providing full assistance to countries fighting against epidemics, sending a steady flow of vaccines, masks and other epidemic prevention materials to foreign countries, with nearly 90% of them going to “the Belt and Road” partner countries. In 2021, China and 31 partner countries jointly launched “the Belt and Road” Vaccine Cooperation Partnership Initiative, advocating to strengthen cooperation in vaccine export, assistance, joint production and technology transfer, and jointly build the “Great Wall” to fight against the epidemic. To date, China has provided 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organizations, and has established 30 overseas centers for Chinese medicine.
The cooperation network increasingly improved. To date, China has signed more than 200 “the Belt and Road” cooperation documents with 148 countries and 32 international organizations, and the circle of friends for the construction of “the Belt and Road” has been expanding. In September last year, China proposed a global development initiative to promote stronger, greener and healthier global development and to guide the way forward for a better world. The multi-bilateral cooperation platforms in green development, energy, finance, disaster reduction, media, culture and arts have been improved and enhanced, and exchanges and cooperation in various fields have blossomed and flourished.
2. Mutual benefits, win-win cooperation, the joint construction of “the Belt and Road” between China and Timor-Leste goes in a thorough and pragmatic way.
Timor-Leste is an important “the Belt and Road” partner country. China and Timor-Leste have always adhered to the concept of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation and carried out in-depth practical cooperation in various fields.
Working together to create a mechanism platform. In 2014, China and Timor-Leste signed the Joint Declaration on Establishing a Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership for Good-Neighborly Friendship, Mutual Trust and Mutual Benefit. In 2017 and 2019, Timor-Leste attended “the Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation twice, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “the Belt and Road” cooperation with China and officially joined “the Belt and Road” Energy Cooperation Partnership. In 2021, Timor-Leste attended the second “the Belt and Road” Energy Ministers’ Meeting.
Cooperating to fight the epidemic and overcome difficulties. In the face of the epidemic, China and Timor-Leste have been supporting and assisting each other through strengthening cooperation in fighting the epidemic. In response to the request of Timor-Leste, China was the first country to send a chartered plane to Timor-Leste to provide large quantities of medical supplies. At present, China has continuously donated 15 batches of medical supplies to the Timor-Leste. The Chinese government has donated 200,000 doses of Chinese-made vaccines to Timor-Leste, to actively implement President Xi Jinping’s important declaration of making China’s COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good.
Jointly planning for common development. The bilateral trade mechanism is working smoothly. China has been one of Timor-Leste’s major trading partners for many years, and the scale of bilateral trade has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2021, China is Timor-Leste’s second largest source of imports. Infrastructure cooperation has been effective. By the end of 2021, nearly 20 Chinese companies are engaged in construction contracting in Timor-Leste. The “one network”, “one expressway” and “one port” projects undertaken by Chinese enterprises are notable: the National grid project has greatly relieved severe power shortage in Timor-Leste, the Suai Expressway has become the first modern expressway in Timor-Leste, and the Tibar Port project, to be delivered this year, will be the first modern international container terminal in Timor-Leste. China’s assistance to Timor-Leste has been fruitful and prominent. The Chinese-aided Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building and the Ministry of Defence office building are the landmarks of Dili. Last year, the China-aided Projects of Grain Processing and Storage Facilities and Digital Terrestrial Television Transmission System were completed and handed over to Timor-Leste for official operation and maintenance, which continuously improved the sense of happiness and achievement of people in Timor-Leste.
Practice over the years proves that “the Belt and Road” Initiative has became a road of hope for all parties to convey confidence, a road of opportunity for mutual benefit, a road of development to promote the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and common prosperity, and a green road for low carbon and environmental protection to combat climate change. As a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order and a provider of public goods, China will continue to firmly promote “the Belt and Road” Initiative, work hand in hand with the partner countries including Timor-Leste, produce more practical cooperation results to benefit more partners, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind for a brighter future!