From April 25 to 27, 2019, the Second BRF was successfully held in Beijing. The Forum includes the opening ceremony, the Leaders' Round-table, the high-level meeting, 12 thematic forums, and a CEO conference. 40 leaders attended the round-table, including heads of state and government from 38 countries including China and Nepal, United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Managing Director the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Over 6,000 foreign guests from 150 countries and 92 international organizations participated in the forum. the participating parties had an in-depth exchange of views on the Belt and Road cooperation and widely saw the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a great opportunity. They reached broad consensus on high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, delivering substantial results. The consensus and outcomes are reflected in the Joint Communique adopted unanimously at the Leaders’ Roundtable and in the List of Deliverables compiled and released by the Chinese side as the host country. The list includes 283 concrete results in six categories, namely, initiatives proposed or launched by the Chinese side, bilateral and multilateral documents signed during or immediately before the second BRF, multilateral cooperation mechanisms under the BRF framework, investment projects and project lists, financing projects, and projects by local authorities and enterprises.
In general, six major outcome highlights can be summarized from the Second BRF, First, set the goal of jointly promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation as the direction of cooperation. Second, promote a global partnership of connectivity to promote interconnected development. Third, achieve substantial and practical outcomes to reflect mutual benefit and win-win results. Fourth, build new platforms for the match-up of local governments and the industrial and commercial communities to broaden cooperation opportunities. Fifth, improve the Belt and Road cooperation architecture to build supporting mechanisms. Sixth, give play to the leading role of head-of-state diplomacy to deepen bilateral relations.Such tangible outcomes show that the Belt and Road cooperation has attracted more and more friends and partners, and witnessed more and more in-depth cooperation. With the vision, mechanisms and measures, the Belt and Road cooperation will be stable and sustainable. Widely supported by the participating parties with their wisdom and efforts, the BRF will continue to contribute more to the Belt and Road cooperation and to promoting our major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
On the BRI, I would like to explain other two points. The first one is so called “debt trap”. Some countries raise the questions whether the BRI adds to the debt of some countries and creates a “debt trap”, our answer is no. Businesses, as the main players in BRI cooperation, will naturally act according to the law of the market so that they don’t end up losing money. For most developing countries, they need funds and investments in order to achieve development. China, as other international financial institutions do, offer help in the form of funds based on equal consultation and without any additional political condition. All parties involved are equal participants, they have all contributed to the BRI and benefited from it. The BRI is open, inclusive and transparent. It does not harbor any hidden geopolitical agenda, nor is it designed to form an exclusive circle or impose discriminatory trade terms on others.The debt problem of developing countries has a much longer history, so it would be unfair to blame the BRI or China for their debt problem. As a matter of fact, no country has got trapped in a debt crisis since its participation in the BRI. Quite on the contrary, it is through participating in BRI cooperation that many countries have got out of the trap of “no development”.
The second one is that some countries regard the BRI as non-reimbursable assistance. As per this, since a country joins the BRI, China should help them to develop projects in the form of non-reimbursable assistance. This isn’t the truth of BRI. The BRI follows the sound principle of consultation and cooperation for mutual benefits and has become the largest platform for international cooperation, which means that the participants involved consult together, work together, and enjoy the benefits together. As for specific cooperation, the BRI adheres to a government-led, enterprise-operated, and market-based pattern. All projects have been examined by a feasibility study and market-based argumentation to ensure due economic and social benefits. China is not only the initiator, but also an equal collaborator in the projects. China always provides assistance for related cooperation within its capacity, and encourages common support from other sides. The Belt and Road cooperation has depicted the picture of the times featuring win-win cooperation between China and Nepal , and the world. We are willing to, together with cooperative partners, sow the seeds and reap the fruits. We wish people of all countries a happier life and wish the world a better place, and hope that various parties will jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations was held from May 15 to 22 in Beijing. At the CDAC opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the theory that different civilizations are bound to clash. “Various civilizations are not destined to clash,” he said. “It is foolish to believe that one’s race and civilization are superior to others’ and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations.”
Xi made a four-point proposal to consolidate the culture foundation of jointly building a community with a shared future for Asia and humanity: treating each other with respect and as equals; appreciating the beauty of all civilizations; adhering to openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning; and keeping pace with the times.
At the invitation of H.E. Xi Jinping, President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari attended the Second BRF, and delivered a keynote speech, which fully shows that Nepal supports the BRI and attaches importance to China-Nepal relations. President Bhandari’s attendance makes great contribution to the success of the BRF and the China-Nepal Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, including China-Nepal cross-border railway has been written in the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Round-table at the Second BRF.
Besides attending the BRF, President Bhandari also paid a state visit to China. This is the first state visit to China by Nepali President. During the visit, H.E. President Xi Jinping held a welcome ceremony for President Bhandari and held talks. During the talks, President Bhandari reaffirmed that Nepal sticks to the one-China Policy and will not allow any forces to use its territory to conduct any anti-China activities. President Bhandari also invited President Xi Jinping to visit Nepal. President Xi Jinping expressed that he was willing to visit Nepal at the convenient and suitable time for both sides. President Bhandari also visited Xi’an, Shanxi Province and Tibet Autonomous Region, and has extensive talks with the leaders of local government of China.
President Bhandari’s state visit is successful and fruitful, which is the milestone of China and Nepal relations and has far-reaching significance. Many bilateral cooperation documents such as the Protocol on Implementing Agreement on Transit and Transport between China and Nepal, the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters, Agreement on Preventing Theft, Clandestine Excavation and Illicit Export Import of Cultural Property and Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Standardization, were signed by the two sides. In the Protocol on Implementing Agreement on Transit and Transport between China and Nepal, China allows Nepal to use open sea ports and dry ports for handling its traffic-in-transit. Under the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, the Government of China will provide the Government of Nepal a grant assistance of RMB 1 billion (about one hundred and forty million US dollars) for the implementation of mutually agreed projects in the fields of livelihood improvement, post-disaster reconstruction and infrastructure.
China and Nepal, linked by mountains and rivers, have enjoyed ever-lasting friendship. The two peoples have close bonds and have gone through thick and thin together. The Chinese side highly values the development of bilateral relations, and supports the Nepali side’s efforts in safeguarding national independence, sovereign and territorial integrity, and in exploring a development path suited to Nepal’s own conditions.
Since China and Nepal signed the MOU on the BRI, the traditional friendly cooperation between China and Nepal has faced new historic opportunities and we stand at the historical starting point. The leaders of the two countries have reached important consensus on jointly building the trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. In the days coming, the two sides will work together to implement the consensus and outcomes of visit. According to Nepal’s statistics, in the 2017/2018 fiscal year of Nepal, the trade volume between the two countries was 1.767 billion U.S. dollars, up 39.6% on a yearly basis. China has become Nepal’s biggest FDI country, the second largest trading partner.
Currently, the projects of the two countries such as Nine-storeyed Basantapur Tower Restoration at Durbar Square of Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar High School,International Sports Center Reconstruction, Rehabilitation of Runway and Taxiways of Tribhuvan International Airport, Pokhara Regional International Airport are under the smooth progress. Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project has injected 30 MW into the Nepali national grid. Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose project’s TBM Tunnel has got its breakthrough and Zhangmu-Tatopani border port, temporarily closed due to the earthquake in 2015, will be re-opened soon. In my view, our two countries shall further strengthen policy coordination and infrastructure connectivity, steadily push forward the construction and research of infrastructure development such as roads, ports, railways, and airports,and strengthen the cooperation in tourism, finance, culture and people’s livelihood. As you know, the people-to people and cultural exchanges between the two countries keep a strong momentum. China is Nepal’s biggest source of foreign tourists. In 2018, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Nepal exceeded 150 thousand, and in the four months of this year, the number reaches more 60 thousand. We are willing to encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Nepal in order to cooperate with the plan of Visit Nepal 2020.
At present, China has entered a new era by following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and Nepal also has opened a new chapter of stable development. China and Nepal should further intensify exchanges of all the levels and strengthen win-win cooperation in all the fields under the framework of BRI.The Chinese side is willing to continue to support Nepal’s economic and social development. The two sides work together to combine the “Chinese Dream”of realizing national rejuvenation with the development goal of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali” and advance China-Nepal friendly cooperative relations to a new level and join hands to embark on a new journey to benefit two peoples of the two countries and build a community with shared future for China and Nepal.
I wish Nepali media friends, as the main promulgators of information, can focus on them and do the objective reports in order to make more contribution to the further development of China-Nepal relations.
During our preparation of the briefing, some friends show their interests on the trade friction between China and US recently. I would like to take this opportunity to cast some lights on the issue.
Based on the China-US trade deficit, the US side has repeatedly imposed tariffs on Chinese goods since March 2018. From then on ,the two sides have held 11 rounds of trade talks to find the solution, during which the Chinese side has shown sufficient sincerity and constructive attitude. The spokespersons of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China have explained and showed Chinese stance on this, welcome Nepali media friends to browse the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China .
The economic and social development of countries in the world is increasingly interconnected. The reform of the global governance system and the international order is picking up speed. History and reality have shown that as two major countries, China and the US will both benefit from cooperation and lose from conflicts. We believe that raising tariffs won’t solve any problem, and starting a trade war will harm not only others, but also oneself. Cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries. The two sides should follow the direction set by the two heads of state, manage their differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, and work together in pushing forward China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.
China will firmly stick to its own pace and steadily advance reform and opening up. In addition, we will work with the majority of countries to stay committed to the multilateral trading system, promoting economic globalization and trade and investment facilitation to jointly build a community of shared future for mankind. China will further enhance mutually beneficial economic cooperation with our neighboring friends including Nepal in order to promote the economic and social development in the region.
(The speech delivered at the press conference in Kathmandu on 24 May, 2019)