23.10.2023 Author: Vladimir Terehov

Results of the 3rd BRI Forum

Results of the 3rd BRI Forum

On 17 October, the 3rd Forum was held in Beijing, where the results of the ten-year implementation of the global Belt and Road Initiative project were summed up, and ways of its further development were outlined. The special significance of this grandiose international event was given by the large-scale representation of other states at it.

This allowed the countries to discuss some important aspects of the difficult international situation, as well as bilateral relations. As, however, it has been happening in recent years at other international venues.

In this regard, the three-hour meeting of the Presidents of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, was of particular importance. During the negotiations, the process of coordinating the positions of both countries in all aspects of Russian-Chinese relations and connection with the most pressing issues on the international agenda.

Among all the many events that happened during the Forum under discussion, it was this meeting that first of all drew attention to the main geopolitical opponents of Moscow and Beijing. In particular, the words of the Russian president highlighted that the multiplying “external factors and common threats strengthen Russian-Chinese relations.”

Although this cooperation is acquiring the most versatile character, its most important element remains the energy sector. It is this area that is becoming particularly significant against the background of attempts initiated by Western countries to cause serious damage to the Russian economy by severing ties in the energy field. That is why the West reacted so cautiously to the expansion of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the energy field. They did not enthusiastically evaluate the next Sino-Russian summit in Japan, considering it as a challenge to the “world order” that has developed under the auspices of the United States.

All other bilateral meetings, as well as the actions and statements made on the margins of this Forum, were important in their own way. Let us only draw attention to the activity shown here by Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan, who once again reaffirmed his country’s unchanged course of continuing the implementation of one of the key branches of BRI, which is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

These words take on special significance against the background of the recently announced project, apparently an alternative to BRI, to build the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) during the G20 summit. However, due to the unexpectedly and sharply aggravated situation in the Middle East, IMEC can now be forgotten. And, apparently, for quite a long time.

For these and other reasons, in particular, due to recent speculations about the supply of Pakistani ammunition to Ukraine, the meeting of A. Kakar with V. Putin seems noteworthy, during which the parties expressed their intention to develop all aspects, primarily in the field of energy, but also defence, of bilateral relations.

As for the content of the Forum, the main event was the speech of the Chinese leader. The Global Times cites eight main theses of this speech. They are all important, but in the author’s opinion, the essence of the whole project is reflected in the second thesis: “Cooperation in the BRI format is based on the principle of “joint planning, joint implementation and joint benefit”. The project provides for overcoming differences between civilisations, cultures, social systems and levels of development. It opens up new ways of exchange between countries and creates a new framework for international cooperation. BRI is an opportunity for all humanity to develop together.

In general, the above thesis reflects the semantic content of the political and philosophical concept of building a “Community of Common Destiny” put forward by the same Xi Jinping back in 2015 at the then 70th UN General Assembly. In fact, eight years later, this concept was reproduced by one of the world’s most authoritative politicians today.

It seems extremely important that this global positive is voiced at a time of increasing pessimism in the world. Especially when the information space is more and more clearly marked by propaganda that creates an atmosphere of hopelessness and predetermination of global catastrophe. And nuclear weapons are emphasised as almost “the only universal remedy” for the multiplying problems.

This positivity and the feeling that mankind is not doomed is due to a factor that is one of the main elements of this concept. The same geopolitical opponents of China have labelled it in recent years with the term “inclusiveness”. That is, everyone without exception can participate in the construction of the “Community of Common Destiny” through the implementation of the BRI project. That is, the same geopolitical opponents. Inclusiveness” explains the popularity of BRI in the “Global South”, the struggle for influence which is moving into the focus of the current stage of the “Great World Game”.

Once again, we note the extremely important point of the willingness of American businesses to develop bilateral economic relations with Beijing. Such signals come, for example, from such an industrial giant as Boeing, a significant part of which, incidentally, works for the Pentagon. This is very much welcomed by Beijing, which in the course of the Forum under discussion once again confirmed the course of openness of its economy, as well as the removal of all restrictions on the inflow of foreign investment in the country’s industry.

But a significant part of the American political community, as they call it, has “other plans”, which are obviously counterproductive for the US itself. As always, the Global Times has successfully expressed this in its recent articles. One of the latest acts of Washington’s anti-Chinese positioning with its closest allies was a report by experts of the Five Eyes intelligence organisation on the topic of China “stealing” some important technological achievements in artificial intelligence systems that are becoming increasingly important. The news of this report hardly appeared by chance during the BRI Forum.

Just as it was hardly coincidental that the Pentagon’s statement accusing China of “centralised and concentrated harassment” of US reconnaissance aircraft in the airspace of the East and South China Seas was timed to coincide with the start of its work. That is, in the zone located 10-15 thousand kilometres from the American territory and hundreds of kilometres from the PRC coast.

In other words, the Forum held in honour of the tenth anniversary of the announcement and implementation of the BRI project, which contains nothing but obvious positives, provoked a rather “sour” reaction in the camp of Beijing’s geopolitical opponents.

Although it would seem that China is one of the main pulling forces in the cradle of the modern world economy, as they say, “more power to you” and “we’ll do our best to help”. But no, not everyone likes it.

I wonder why?


Vladimir Terekhov, an expert on the problems of the Asia-Pacific region, especially for the online magazine «New Eastern Outlook».

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