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Belt and Road Forum to discuss future directions

Beijing -- China will host the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing next month to discuss future cooperative efforts, connectivity, investment and exchanges while seeking to address regional economic problems.

Boten International Checkpoint at the Laos-China border in Luang Namtha province, Laos.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website last week, the forum is already drawing wide attention and will cover three main areas.

Firstly, it will bring together over 1,000 high-ranking political and business representatives to discuss and make plans for future cooperation.

Secondly, there will be in-depth discussions on infrastructure connectivity, business cooperation, industrial investment, resources and energy, financial support, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, ecological preservation and maritime cooperation.

Thirdly, the forum will seek to solve global and regional economic problems and will endeavour to advance the process of economic globalisation that is more dynamic and sustainable.

Premier of the State Council, Li Keqiang, speaking at the Fifth Session of the 12th National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China last month, said China would make solid efforts to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative.

“ We will strengthen personal and cultural exchanges and cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, healthcare, and tourism,” Li said.

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation offered a meeting of real quality, opening the page on a great new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation, he added. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister of Laos Sonexay Siphandone told the Xinhua News Agency at the 13th China-Asean Expo in Nanning, Guangxi province last year, that Laos hoped to speed up its transformation from a landlocked country into a land link within the region, in line with the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China.

The alignment of the two strategies would facilitate the connectivity of Laos and build the nation as an important gateway between China and Asean and contribute to sustainable socio-economic development, Mr Sonexay added.

The Belt and Road Initiative was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Since then cooperation under the Belt and Road framework has achieved steady progress and global influence.

For countries along the Belt and Road routes this initiative provides great opportunities.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, known as the “Belt and Road” initiative, was proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

So far, more than 100 countries and international organisations have responded actively and expressed their support. More than 40 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China .

Working together with host countries along the routes, China has so far built more than 50 cooperation zones and created nearly 200,000 jobs locally.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update April 11, 2017)

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