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SCIO briefing on development of Belt and Road Initiative

Belt & Road

A press conference was held Monday on the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

China.org.cnUpdated: August 29, 2018

China Central Television:

Mr. Ning, how can the Chinese government better share the opportunities with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative under the framework of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits? Thank you.

Ning Jizhe:

I want to answer this very important question from the following three aspects. China, as the world's second largest economy, now contributes over 30 percent to the world's economic growth. China's extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits with the Belt and Road countries is conducive to creating more opportunities for mutual development.

First, in the past few years, China and the countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative have worked together to promote regional economic development and the recovery of the world economy. As you know, the impact of the global financial crisis, which broke out a decade ago, was still felt five years ago. In this economic situation, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative which has promoted economic growth and improved people's livelihood through cooperative projects with other countries. For example, countries like Kazakhstan, which champions the "Bright Road" Initiative, also seeks alignment with China's proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past years, Kazakhstan's economy has picked up, Chinese enterprises have developed rapidly in Kazakhstan, and the people of the two countries have benefited from the development. This is only one example, the same is true for China and Southeast Asian countries. Under the backdrop of global economic crisis and the intensive development of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, bilateral cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries achieved much progress under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. A large majority of the countries in the region achieved an annual growth rate of around 5 to 7 percent. It has become the region with the most dynamic growth in the world.

Second, joint contribution and shared benefits of the Belt and Road development has expanded two-way trade and investment. The two-way trade between China and the Belt and Road countries has totaled over US$5 trillion, and this rate of growth is faster than the growth rate of trade between China and other regions. Two-way investment between both sides, based on my calculation, is nearly a hundred billion US dollars, which is also growing very quickly. Development opportunities actually lie in two-way investment, trade and personnel exchanges.

Third, joint contribution and shared benefits of the Belt and Road development have also increased complementary advantages and win-win outcomes of all parties. As you know, countries along the Belt and Road, as well as other cooperation partners are mostly developing countries. There are, however, also developed countries, emerging economies and high-income oil-exporting nations. They all have their unique advantages, be it in capital, technology, management, labor, resources or market. Most importantly, the Belt and Road Initiative can utilize their complementarities and share opportunities for development among the countries.

China has long enjoyed a comparative advantage in traditional production and is also now creating new advantages in the areas of capital and management. Other developing countries boast huge markets, while developed countries have clear advantages in the areas of capital and technology. Through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative can combine all the advantages of countries along the Belt and Road to promote economic development and improve people's livelihood along the route. Thank you.

Lianhe Zaobao:

Earlier you mentioned, China's direct overseas investment for the Belt and Road countries reached over US$70 billion. Some wonder if there will be returns on that huge amount of money. How is the effectiveness and returns of these investments so far? Did it achieve the expected results? In addition, regarding the contribution of these countries along the route, we are aware that many of the Belt and Road projects are funded by loans. Some of these countries, however, seem to have no ability to pay the debt. For example, under a new administration, Malaysia's East Coast rail project has been canceled and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor may also face uncertainties. Has China learned a lesson from those cases and will China change the way how the Belt and Road Initiative is implemented in the future? Thank you.

Qian Keming:

Your question involves many aspects.

First of all, let me talk about the debt issue. As you know, finance is the lifeblood of economic activities, especially in the initial development stage. I have read several reports on the matter, one of which is by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It says that a total of US$1.7 trillion of infrastructure spending is needed in Asia every year through 2030. Calculated from the current investment scale, there is still a gap of over US$800 billion investment each year. Another report from the African Development Bank (AfDB) says that a total of US$130 billion to US$170 billion infrastructure investment is needed each year in Africa, and currently only less than one third of the amount is spent. That is to say, Asia is a little better off, it is receiving half of the total investment for infrastructure it needs and missing the other half. Africa is missing two thirds. As is known to all, infrastructure investment plays a very important role in promoting economic growth and increasing people's well-being.

Second, most of China's current investments in the countries under the Belt and Road Initiative are infrastructure related which include the building of railway lines and ports. I believe these infrastructure investments will have a long-term and important role in promoting the economic growth in those countries.

Third, infrastructure investment, mainly on public goods, normally takes a fairly long period of time to show returns. Moreover, after the global financial crisis, international commodity prices dropped significantly. Although they have rebounded slightly, the prices are still far below the pre-crisis level. The price of crude oil reached US$150 per barrel at its peak and then fell back to US$20, US$30 per barrel. Recently, the price rose to around US$70 per barrel, but is still half of the price at its peak. The prices for mineral products have not rebounded much, which hurt the economy in some African and Asian countries. Some of the countries have seen rising debt levels, which is a reality we must face.

Fourth, China has been trying to promote economic development in the host countries through the Belt and Road Initiative and avoid creating too much burden for them. Therefore, we have chosen some projects that can deliver both economic benefits and increase employment, taxes and exports in the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. While embracing bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation, as Mr. Ning mentioned just now, we also welcome involvement from developed countries and multilateral financial organizations to spend and manage the money more efficiently.

Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA):

I have a question about the cooperation between Iran and China. Iran is one of the important countries along the Belt and Road, so how does China plan to cooperate with Iran under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative? Thank you.

Zhang Jun:

Thank you for your question, and thank you for conveying Iran's positive attitude towards jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative focuses on the Eurasian continent and, at the same time, it is open to global partners as well. Historically, Iran has been an important hub along the Silk Road, making significant contributions to promoting economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges between China, Eurasian and European countries.

With the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, both China and Iran are facing important opportunities in infrastructure construction, economic and trade cooperation, and cultural exchanges. There is no doubt about this. Thanks to the joint efforts made by the leaders of the two countries, the current relationship between China and Iran has maintained a sound and steady momentum of development. Both sides have reached many important consensuses on jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative.

Of course, we should be fully aware of the many practical and potential challenges in implementing the specific cooperative projects. On the one hand, we will make an active effort and take solid steps towards the goal; on the other hand, the two sides will work with the international community to create a more favorable environment and conditions for jointly promoting the Sino-Iranian cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Economic Daily:

I would like to ask Mr. Ning a question. Presently, some developed countries and large multinational corporations have shown interest in participating in the Belt and Road Initiative in the form of the third-party market cooperation. What considerations does China have in this regard?

Ning Jizhe:

The tripartite cooperation is very important, so you raised a very good question

First of all, third-party market cooperation is an open, inclusive, pragmatic and effective mode for international cooperation. It also reflects the principle of the Belt and Road Initiative, namely seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution. This will help Chinese enterprises and enterprises in other countries, especially those of developed countries and multinational enterprises, to complement each other and jointly inject new momentum into the economic development of third countries.

Second, China has made good progress in working with relevant countries to promote third-party market cooperation and in recent years, China has actively engaged in third-party market cooperation with relevant countries. Presently, we have formally signed cooperative documents on third-party market cooperation with France, Canada, Japan, Singapore and some other countries and international organizations. We have also contributed to the establishment of third-party market cooperation funds with other countries. The following are some examples.

China's Silk Road Fund established a third-party market fund with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The China Investment Corporation also established funds with relevant French financial institutions. All these are being supported and guided by the governments of both sides. Moreover, the third-party market cooperative projects between China and France have achieved early results, and the two sides will expand their cooperation to new projects in the near future. China and the European Union (EU) have also finalized specific projects for third-party market cooperation.

As you all know, during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Japan, China's National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) reached a memorandum of understanding on the third-party market cooperation between the two sides. In order to implement the consensus and ministerial memorandum reached by the leaders of the two countries, we held a seminar on the Sino-Japanese-Thai tripartite cooperation in Thailand last month, possibly a little bit earlier, to finalize specific cooperative projects. The Eastern Economic Corridor of Thailand is led by the Chia Tai Group of Thailand and the CITIC Group of China, with enterprises from Japan participating in bidding the project.

Currently, some developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, and some emerging economies, including China, also share a sincere desire for third-party market cooperation worldwide in promoting the Belt and Road Initiative. This is not only conducive to China, the developed countries and the new economies who participate in the tripartite cooperation, but also conducive to the third country – the host country of the project.

Third, in the future, China will work with relevant countries and enterprises to expand the scope of third-party market cooperation. We will adhere to the principle of seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution, develop new markets for investment, production and operation, and actively innovate on models for cooperation. We will encourage enterprises to open up new markets by means of joint tendering and joint investment so as to complement each other's strengths and achieve win-win results. Thank you.


I have a question for Mr. Zhang Jun. The Beijing summit of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation is about to be held. We know that the joint development of Belt and Road Initiative is an important topic for China-Africa cooperation. People have talked about Africa as a pilot region for joint efforts to build the "Belt and Road". What do you think of this? What challenges do you think China and Africa face in carrying out the "Belt and Road" cooperation? Thank you.

Zhang Jun:

The construction of the "Belt and Road" is especially targeted at the Asia-Europe-Africa continents, and African countries are one of the key areas for the joint development of the Belt and Road Initiative. As a major group of developing countries, Africa is facing the arduous task of infrastructure construction and economic and social development. Supporting and helping Africa achieve peaceful development and stability has always been one of the priorities of China's diplomacy. For a long time, we have invested a lot in the development of Africa, and have made great achievements.

In recent years, it has been an important part of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to inject vitality and motivation for African development through the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Beijing Summit will be held in Beijing, with China and Africa having agreed to promote the Belt and Road cooperation in Africa, both sides should strengthen integration and docking between China's development strategy and "Belt and Road" joint contribution, and the Africa's Agenda 2063, as well as strengthening the connection and docking between the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African development strategies. Those will be an important part of this year's Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Both sides have great expectations for the outcome of the forum.

As far as I know, at the Beijing Summit of the forum, more than a dozen documents on cooperation between China and African countries will be signed, which will further promote and implement the cooperation between China and Africa in joint contribution for the "Belt and Road." At the same time, China-Africa cooperation also has a broader space. For example, during the meeting of the BRICS leaders not long ago, President Xi Jinping met with African leaders and reached a broad consensus on further deepening China-Africa cooperation. An important achievement of the BRICS Summit Johannesburg was the establishment of a new industrial revolution partnership. We look forward to the advancement of the BRICS Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution, which will not only enable Africa and developing countries to address the issues of food, clothing and basic needs of development, but also enable developing countries to catch up with the new industrial revolution and better seize opportunities for development from the process of scientific and technological development in the current world. Under the complex and changing economic situation, we can better meet the challenges and achieve common development with other countries in the world.


With concerns about the increase in debt from this project, if we can expect to see China be more cautious in choosing Belt and Road projects or providing funding for these projects? Thanks.

Qian Keming:

I have already said about the debt issue just now. We have always been paying attention to the selection of projects. The first is wide consultation, which means, the host countries and China consult with each other to propose projects. The second is joint contribution, which means they participate in construction together. The third principle is shared benefits. We have strict procedures for the evaluation of projects, banks, enterprises, including environmental protection, there are strict evaluation procedures.

In the future, we also welcome developed countries and international institutions to actively participate in and jointly select projects with us to ensure that projects are transparent, high-quality and sustainable.

China Daily:

I have a question for Mr. Zhang Jun. You mentioned that China is promoting the construction of the "Belt and Road" with a high quality approach. Some people may not understand it, or have some doubts; what is "high quality"? Can you please explain how "high quality" is reflected in the Belt and Road cooperation projects?

Zhang Jun:

I think that this issue should be viewed comprehensively. In other words, you should go beyond the quality of a particular project. I think the high quality and high standards of the Belt and Road should be demonstrated at least in the following aspects:

First, high quality drives the growth of the world economy. The world economy is facing the problem of insufficient growth momentum. Infrastructure construction is also a bottleneck problem facing the development of various countries. We are promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to further improve and perfect the global supply chain, value chain and industrial chain by strengthening connectivity and interconnection among countries, so that countries in disadvantaged positions can better participate in the world's division of labor, and will benefit more from the global value chain, thereby create greater impetus for their own development and create greater impetus for world economic growth. This is actually what we often say about building an open world economy and promoting the building of a community of shared future for mankind. Is this a high standard of quality? Of course, it is so high. It is in stark contrast to the unilateralism and protectionism pursued by some countries.

Second, the high quality of the "Belt and Road" is reflected in the high quality of addressing the issues for global development. Nowadays, the world faces a problem of imbalance. We call it a development deficit and development imbalance. How to solve these problems? We adhere to the people-centered development concept for 'domestically. In the process of building the "Belt and Road", we still place the people as the center of cooperation, and we strive to improve the conditions for economic and social development through the joint contribution of the "Belt and Road," and improve people's livelihood, enhance people's welfare. We have signed a "Belt and Road" cooperation agreements with relevant UN agencies, that is, through cooperation with the United Nations, we will better align the Belt and Road Initiative with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and push forward the re-balancing of globalization, so that everyone can benefit from a more inclusive, balanced, universally beneficial, and win-win globalization process. This is surely high quality and high standards.

Third, to build the Belt and Road with high quality and standards, we also call for participants to abide by the laws of different countries, international rules and standards and market rules. President Xi has repeatedly stressed the building of a green Silk Road with high ethical standards. We pursue green, environmental-friendly and fiscally-sustainable development in building the Belt and Road. Through cooperation with the UN Environment, we founded the International Coalition for Green Development on the Belt and Road. We have also worked with some countries to formulate the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road. All of these provide important support for building the Belt and Road with high quality and standards.

Fourth, to build the Belt and Road with high quality and standards, we also uphold the guiding principle of seeking shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution, though some countries have backed down from multilateralism. Under the guiding principle, different countries can participate in the process of building the Belt and Road and benefit from it, which is a quite advanced concept of high standards. To improve the institutional safeguards for the Belt and Road Initiative, we are working on building the Advisory Council for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We will invite international luminaries to join the council and advise us on the initiative. Yesterday, as another sign of pursuing high quality and standards, we set up the International Commercial Expert Committee in a bid to provide legal support for building the Belt and Road.

Of course, our pursuit of high quality and standards in building the Belt and Road is also demonstrated in the building of high quality infrastructure. However, we deem it necessary to make it clear that many of the countries involved in the initiative are developing countries, which means that high-quality and high-standard construction must be in accordance with the basic national conditions and laws of these countries. So, high quality must be achieved at a reasonable price, and should be inclusive, feasible and beneficial to all. It is necessary to keep the balance between high quality and practical use. We hope that the building of the Belt and Road can be both high-standard and practical.

Ta Kung Pao & Wen Wei Po

At the beginning, you mentioned that there are a few countries which have raised questions about the Belt and Road Initiative. Recently, some foreign media reported that the initiative has brought a debt trap for relevant countries, accusing China of attempting to gain controlling interests in projects by providing loans regardless of the host countries' overall liabilities and debt-paying abilities, and thus adding to the countries' debt burden. What are your comments on this?

Ning Jizhe:

First of all, the projects of the Belt and Road Initiative have brought effective investment and valuable assets to relevant countries and contributed to their economic growth and improved livelihood, instead of causing a so-called debt trap. Projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, be they related to connectivity or production capacity cooperation, must go through a sound feasibility study and strict debt approval process. We are the witness, so we are clear on how strict it is to get bank loans. There are requirements about capital contribution, debt-to-asset ratios, and financial returns. If a project doesn't meet the requirements, it will not be allowed to pass. Of course, there are some infrastructure projects that may take a long time to get the investment returns, but the assets are there and they will appreciate in value. 

To our knowledge, the debt issues in some countries as reported by some foreign media are not necessarily connected with the Belt and Road construction and relevant projects. Some countries already have very high levels of debt for many years mainly due to their long-term borrowing from other countries as well as international financial institutions. China is a late comer. It is not the biggest creditor.

Second, for jointly built projects and investment cooperation with relevant countries, China has always attached great importance to debt management. With regard to the investment and financing of the projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, China offers loans to projects based on the conditions of their host countries to avoid increasing the countries' debt risk and fiscal burden. Before offering the loans, Chinese banks will strictly review the borrowers' overall liabilities and debt-paying abilities, and continuously monitor the sovereign risks of relevant countries after offering the loans. For example, the China Development Bank has set up the system of sovereign credit rating and national risk quota management. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation and other financial institutions have also established relevant evaluation, monitoring and management systems.

Developing the economy and improving people's livelihood are the primary goals of developing countries. For these developing countries who are in urgent need of money, Chinese banks will also design financing structures to help them sustainably manage their debt, such as the case of the fiber optic cable projects in Cambodia, and Yamal liquefied natural gas project in Russia, of course Russia is not a developing country, but an emerging economy. In any case, all these projects are supported by a system that combines equity investment and bank loans, and have achieved good results.

I would like to answer the questions of the journalist from Singapore about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Over the past four years, since the CPEC has been put forward, it has been progressing well and has yielded many profits. In November 2017, both sides signed the Long-term Plan for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Among the projects proposed at the early stage, we have already launched 18 projects, including the building of power plants, which solves the problem of energy shortages that has been plaguing Pakistan for many years. Of course, the CPEC also includes projects relating to transportation, industrial cooperation and ports. I will not list them out one by one here. The new leadership of Pakistan has clearly expressed that the CPEC is not built by any one party or people. It is instead a project that involves the cooperation between all Pakistani and Chinese people, which will definitely become a great success.

Separately, on the East Coast Rail Link project, as some of you have mentioned earlier, as you all know, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad has just concluded his visit to China. He has clearly stressed that his support of China's Belt and Road Initiative, and welcomed Chinese enterprises to expand their investment in Malaysia. He also mentioned the financial difficulties that Malaysia is facing, and hopes that China would offer support to solve some of these issues together.

Hindustan Times:

I just want to ask you if China is willing to address India's concern with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), especially on other projects which are passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, because India says it violates its sovereignty. 

Zhang Jun:

I have some points to add to this: Firstly, India is an important neighbor of China. Both of them are developing countries with emerging markets. Guided by the leaders of the two countries, China-India relations have shown good momentum and entered a new stage of development. If we take a moment to recall, we can see that since April this year, in just three months, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have held three important meetings in Wuhan, Qingdao of China and Johannesburg of South Africa to reach a broad consensus. This has injected new impetus into the development of bilateral relations.

Secondly, India is historically an important country along the ancient Silk Road. It is regarded as a natural partner to build the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation. The exchanges between the two countries through history have left many interesting tales. As developing countries and emerging markets, the two countries are facing similar developmental tasks. As such they both have a lot of room and potential for cooperation to strengthen infrastructure construction. In fact, both sides have already cooperated in numerous ways in this aspect. As you know, India is a founding member and the second largest shareholder of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Currently, 20 percent of the investment projects of the AIIB are located in India. 

Thirdly, China has repeatedly emphasized that the CPEC is an economic cooperation project. Its implementation will not change China's long-standing position on the Kashmir dispute.

China News Service & Chinanews.com: 

There is a view that the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative may encounter greater resistance given the current global situation which is undergoing certain changes, especially the rising trade and investment protectionism. Mr. Qian, what measures will the Ministry of Commerce take to further promote the Belt and Road Initiative in this context?

Qian Keming: 

In the next step, we will make solid efforts to promote the Belt and Road Initiative from the following five aspects.

First, making the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) a success. It is known that the expo was planned, announced and promoted by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The expo is by no means an ordinary exposition. Different from the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) which is targeted at boosting the country's exports, the expo is a trade fair focusing on the importation of goods and services. In addition, the expo will be developed into an open cooperation platform for countries in the world to showcase their development achievements and carry out international trade. It will also become an international public product that helps to promote the Belt and Road Initiative and boost economic globalization.

Second, innovating trade and investment cooperation models. In this respect, we will give top priorities to cooperation on key projects and innovative areas. As for key projects, Mr. Ning said just now that we will promote the construction of some important projects along the Belt and Road routes. As for innovative areas, we know that China has been enhancing development in innovative areas such as e-commerce, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence in recent years. In boosting the development of the "Silk-Road E-commerce," we mean to take advantage of e-commerce, big data and the newest modern science and technologies in building the Belt and Road Initiative.

Third, accelerating the construction of platforms for opening up, including pilot free trade zones (FTZs), for example the China (Hainan) Pilot Free Frade Zone, as well as cross-border economic cooperation zones and overseas economic and trade cooperation zones.

Fourth, enhancing regional economic integration, at both regional and sub-regional levels. We are willing to work together with the Belt and Road countries and regions to build high-standard FTZs and develop a large market under the Belt and Road Initiative. 

Last, implementing important opening-up measures announced by President Xi, especially the implementation of an across-the-board management system based on pre-established national treatment plus a negative list. We will enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, promote implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), and deepen cooperation on achieving compatibility in customs clearance procedures along the routes.

China Arab TV:

After President Xi Jinping's visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), what major plans will be introduced to promote the cultural exchanges between China and the UAE as well as other Arab countries? Thank you.

Ning Jizhe:

The UAE is the first stop of President Xi Jinping's first overseas visit after the first session of the 13th National People's Congress. This demonstrates the importance of the cooperation between the two countries. The bilateral cooperation covers a wide range of areas. I have been most involved in the economic exchanges. Many Chinese people have been to Dubai. China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited and Abu Dhabi Ports are enjoying strong cooperation on the development of Port Khalifa in Abu Dhabi. The port, under rapid construction, is expected to become one of the Chinese shipping company's pivot hubs in the Middle East. The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone is also a highlight of the bilateral economic cooperation. Under the guidance of the development and reform commissions in Jiangsu province, related Chinese companies are working well with their UAE counterparts on the demonstration zone project.

In terms of cultural and tourism cooperation, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the UAE has exceeded one million a year. It shows that the UAE and China maintain close people-to-people exchanges. The UAE has granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival treatment to Chinese citizens. A great number of Chinese tourists travel to Dubai during the Spring Festival holiday each year.

The UAE has also taken an active part in global cultural events. In particular, with the UAE set to host the World Expo 2020, more tourists from China and other countries are expected to travel there, thus cementing the friendship between each other. With more coordinated policies, infrastructure connectivity has been enhanced through port cooperation and bilateral ties have been facilitated by the development of industrial zones. In terms of financial integration, the UAE has considerable economic strength, so we are ready to boost trilateral cooperation with the UAE in Africa and embrace more investment from the UAE in China. In addition, the people-to-people ties have also been strengthened. So, China-UAE relationship is an embodiment of "a five-pronged approach" to building the Belt and Road. Thank you.

Zhang Jun:

President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE, which is the first stop of his overseas trip in July, has delivered productive outcomes. President Xi received a warm welcome from people in the UAE and created an unforgettable experience with them. Both economic cooperation and cultural exchanges are important dimensions of the China-UAE relationship. I believe that the "Embrace China" Initiative launched by the UAE will play a significant role in promoting people-to-people and cultural exchanges among people from the countries along the Belt and Road. To boost such exchanges between each other, China and the UAE are negotiating about building Chinese cultural centers in Abu Dhabi. I think those measures by the two sides will improve our bilateral cooperation in all areas under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Qian Keming:

I think China and the UAE also enjoy huge potential for cooperation in innovation. I learnt during my recent visit to the UAE that the country has established foundations for innovation. In the building of one foundation, there is a 3D printed office constructed by a Chinese company. The UAE is a country of great creativity and China boasts a number of universities. Beijing Genomics Institute, a Chinese genome sequencing center, is cooperating with organizations in the UAE. So, I think China and the UAE can strengthen cooperation in innovation.

Hu Kaihong:

This concludes today's briefing. Thank you, Mr. Ning, Mr. Qian and Mr. Zhang. Thank you, friends from the press.

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