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Transformative achievements mark Belt, Road's first decade

Through enhanced cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, the initiative has built on the vision of a global community with a shared future

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-12 09:47

A comprehensive inspection train (right) enters Halim railway station while a high-speed electric multiple unit (left) stops on the platform in Jakarta, Indonesia, in December. XU QIN/XINHUA

HONG KONG — The Belt and Road Initiative, which marked its 10th year in 2023, has become a key international public good and added new growth drivers to the global economy at a time when the world is facing tremendous changes.

By building railways, highways, power plants and dams, the cooperation platform has helped local people in the Asia-Pacific region lead better lives. By enhancing cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, it has popularized the vision of a global community with a shared future.

Drawing a blueprint for the next decade in a recently released document, China has committed to encouraging all parties to strive toward equal cooperation and mutual benefit, propelling Belt and Road cooperation into a new phase characterized by high-quality development.

Fruitful progress

Data show that from 2013 to October 2023, the total imports and exports between China and BRI-participating economies surpassed $21 trillion, and China's direct investment in BRI partner economies topped $270 billion.

An example of the robust and unimpeded trade shown by BRI, the 1,035-km China-Laos Railway that began operations in December 2021 has generated more benefits since it launched cross-border passenger services in April.

Linking the Lao capital Vientiane with Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, the railway has quickly become the preferred option for a growing number of international travelers.

"The BRI has played a critical role in building connectivity within ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and between China and ASEAN," said Thong Mengdavid, a research supervisor at the Asian Vision Institute, a Phnom Penh-based independent think tank.

In Bangladesh, the first train of the Padma Bridge Rail Link Project departed from a new station on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka on Oct 10, marking a dream coming true "to cross the Padma river by train," the country's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said.

The entire 172-km project, which will eventually lead to Jashore in the southwestern region of Bangladesh, is scheduled for completion in 2024.

It will serve as a vital channel that connects Dhaka and more than 20 districts in the southern area of Bangladesh and will also be an important part of the trans-Asian railway network to promote regional connectivity and economic development of Bangladesh.

In Cambodia, the China-funded Siem Reap Angkor International Airport in northwest Cambodia's Siem Reap province was officially inaugurated on Nov 16, carrying a hope to link Cambodia to the world, said Prime Minister Hun Manet, and will give a big boost to the tourism sector in Siem Reap with the local residents directly benefiting from it.

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