Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made new progress and demonstrated a strong resilience under the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi .
Wang said the year 2020 witnessed BRI partners supporting each other and forging a “bond of solidarity” to control the coronavirus and pursue common development.
“The China-Europe Railway Express has completed more than 10,000 services, transporting more freight in the first 10 months of 2020 than the whole of 2019.” Hailed as a “steel camel fleet”, it has helped countries with their COVID-19 response, he said.
The Silk Road in the Air has enabled shipments of over 1,700 tons of medical supplies from China, opening up a lifeline in the air, Wang said. In the first three quarters of 2020, China’s non-financial direct investment in countries along the Belt and Road reached 13 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of nearly 30 percent year-on-year.
Noting that most BRI projects have continued uninterrupted and without layoffs and a number of new projects have been launched as scheduled, the foreign minister said this has brought much-needed warmth to this harsh winter in the world economy and contributed to the efforts of partner countries in fighting the coronavirus, stabilizing the economy, and protecting livelihoods.T
According to Wang the pandemic has not shaken the commitment of participating countries. Instead, it has highlighted the role of Belt and Road cooperation in powering global development in a post-COVID era. In fact China will work with all parties to deepen the synergy between the BRI and the development strategies of other countries, keeping in mind their needs for COVID-19 response and economic recovery.
“We believe that by bolstering connectivity and economic reopening and by tapping into the potential of new growth drivers such as health care, digital economy and green development, we will be able to achieve higher-quality Belt and Road cooperation,” he added.
Over in Malaysia, the multi billion BRI project includes the East Coast Rail Link which will connect the ports along the coast to Port Klang and eventually link to countries like Thailand, Vietnam and China. A major ground logistics undertaking that will transform commerce within the region.