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Belt and Road Initiative can help defuse regional tension

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

10-25-2016 21:38 BJT

BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Development driven by China's Belt and Road Initiative will help the reconciliation of ethnic divisions and the calming in regional conflicts of countries involved in the initiative, observers have said.

"The role that the Belt and Road Initiative has played in promoting regional peace is likely to be a brand new one and is contrary to the palliative approach that the West has traditionally proposed," said Ding Yifan, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.


The initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has brought together over 100 countries and international organizations in Asia, Europe and Africa, via land and maritime networks.

The move is also part of China's efforts to provide public goods and honor international responsibilities that are commensurate with its status as a global power.

"Although the Belt and Road Initiative was not a political initiative, promoting close economic and trade cooperation among the (participating) countries will definitely help enhance mutual political trust," said Chen Xiaochen, a researcher with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University.

The initiative's results have exceeded expectations as over 30 countries have since 2013 inked agreements with China to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative and more than 20 countries along the routes have conducted industrial cooperation with China.

However, threats posed by conflicts and upheavals remain, and hinder global peace and economic sustainable development. Some 50 million people worldwide have been displaced due to rising regional conflicts in recent years. Among the participating countries, there are still considerable political and military confrontations.

Since the end of the Cold War, the international security situation has become more complex amid mounting hotspot issues, and traditional security threats have intertwined with non-traditional threats in East and West Asia.

"Under the Belt and Road Initiative, it is possible to change the state of conflicts through economic means in the background of economic globalization," said Xue Li, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


China is committed to building a new type of international relations featuring mutually beneficial cooperation. In June 2014, President Xi proposed the "Silk Road Spirit" featuring "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit" at the sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

"The initiative has not only provided an opportunity to address regional tensions, but also can help gather organizations that love peace," said Tao Jian, president of the Beijing-based University of International Relations.

Aside from religious reasons, the concentration of poverty and high unemployment among youth have led to growing calls for national secession, as well as increasing religious extremism and violent terrorism in countries along the routes, Ding said.

As the world's second biggest economy, China has played an important role in global trade, investment and development, moreover, it plays an increasingly significant role in foreign aid, regional security and international relations.

As China develops, boosting economic development will be a priority of the initiative, which should help alleviate poverty and eradicate the fertile soil that breeds extremism and terrorism.

A communique, issued at a G20 summit held in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou last month, noted that the benefits of economic growth should be shared equally. The communique also pledged to eradicate poverty, solve inequality of economic development and make sure no country falls behind.

"As a long-term plan, the Belt and Road Initiative will be a promising way to help promote regional reconciliation gradually by boosting development," Chen added.

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