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Address by Charge d'affaires Lin Jian at the 4th International Asian Congress

Torun, May 18, 2017

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning! It’s a great pleasure to come once again to the beautiful city of Torun to attend the 4th International Asian Congress. Thanks to the long term devotion of the Society of Asia Pacific and President Marszalka, this annual event has become a good tradition in promoting dialogues between Poland and Asia. I am honored that this year the Congress focuses on China. The organizer proposed a theme topic: How the silk road has changed the world. I would like to take this opportunity to share my views, but from a different perspective: What does the Belt and Road bring to us.     

As we know, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was concluded in Beijing 3 days ago, which was a big event for the Belt and Road cooperation and drew world attention. 29 foreign heads of state and government leaders, including Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, and representatives from 130 countries and 70 international organizations attended the Forum. Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated the Forum with a keynote speech and presided over the Leaders' Roundtable Summit. President Xi proposed to work together to build the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up and innovation and a road connecting different civilizations. He underscored that the Belt and Road is open to all. China is willing to share opportunities of development but has no intention to interfere or impose on others. China hopes to create a big family of harmony but has no intention to form any small group. Remarkable progress has been achieved at this Forum. More than 270 outcomes have been counted. It is widely believed that the 2-day in-depth discussion will lend strong support to the building of the Belt and Road, boost confidence of all parties to advance cooperation and add new impetus to the global growth.  

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As President Xi highlighted in his speech, the ancient silk routes, which spanned thousands of miles and years, embody the spirit of "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit”. Since President Xi put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, over 100 countries and international organizations have made positive response to it. Four years on, the Belt and Road Initiative, inheriting the Silk Road Spirit, has become a global public good and an international platform for cooperation. It has delivered tangible benefits in boosting exchanges and cooperation between China and countries along the routes.

First, it deepens policy connectivity. China has signed cooperation agreements with 68 countries and international organizations. Through policy coordination with various partners, we aim to complement the development strategies of our partners by leveraging their comparative strengths.

Second, it enhances infrastructure connectivity. China has signed more than 130 bilateral and regional transport agreements with countries along the routes. A multi-dimensional infrastructure network is taking shape. The projects of Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, China-Laos railway and Hungary-Serbia railway are picking up speed. Launched in 2011, the China Railway Express has made more than 3,500 trips so far and linked 28 cities of 11 European countries directly with China.

Third, it boosts trade connectivity. From 2014 to 2016, the volume of trade between China and countries along the routes topped 3 trillion U.S. dollars. In the first quarter of 2017, China's combined imports and exports with countries along the routes rose 26.2 percent year-on-year to around 240 billion dollars. China has invested more than 50 billion dollars in countries along the routes. Chinese companies built 56 economic and trade cooperation zones in 20 countries, creating nearly 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue and 180,000 local jobs.

Fourth, it expands financial connectivity. President Xi declared in the Forum that China will contribute an additional 100 billion RMB (around 14 billion dollars) to the Silk Road Fund to finance Belt and Road Projects. The fund has invested 15 projects, and pledged 6 billion dollars investment. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved 20 new applicants this year, expanding its membership to 77 countries. The Bank’s total lending exceeded 2 billion dollars, most projects are in countries along the Belt and Road. The Sino-CEEC Financial Holding Company Limited was inaugurated last year under the framework of 16+1 cooperation.

Last but not least, it draws our people closer. I would like to repeat my previous quote again, people’s friendship is the key to the good relations between states. By the end of 2016, China has signed more than 300 inter-governmental agreements and programs on cultural exchanges and cooperation with Belt and Road partners. Every year, China provides 10,000 government scholarships to the relevant countries. Projects of people-to-people cooperation such as Silk Road culture year, tourism year, art festival, film and TV project, seminar and think tank dialogue are flourishing. These interactions are bringing our people increasingly closer.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past few years, China-Poland relations have seen sound momentum under the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2016, President Xi paid a state visit to Poland, and our bilateral relations was upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership. From 2013 to 2016, the bilateral trade volume increased from 14.8 billion dollars to 17.6 billion dollars, with 6 percent annual growth in average.The stock of the Chinese direct non-financial investment in Poland reaches 370 million dollars, more than doubled. Poland is the first European Country that issued 3 billion yuan worth of “Panda Bonds” in China. Moreover, Poland is the destination or transfer station of 11 China Railway Express trains. Both LOT and Air China now have Warsaw-Beijing direct flights to meet stronger demands from both sides, especially tourists and business people. In 2016, more than 3000 Chinese and Polish students went to study in each other’s country. 2 months ago, the Chinese-Polish University Consortium under the Belt and Road Initiative was established in Beijing.

Looking into the future, advantages for China and Poland to cooperate in the Belt and Road Initiative are obvious. First, Poland is the gateway to Europe, its convenient geographic location makes it naturally important in the blueprint of the Initiative, especially when it comes to infrastructure connectivity. Second, it is mutually beneficial to create a synergy between Poland’s “Responsible Development Plan” and the Belt and Road Initiative. Third, the cooperation is widely supported in Poland. Polish government and business are actively involved in the Belt and Road. Poland is among the first countries that have signed an inter-governmental MOU with China on Jointly Building the Belt and Road Initiative, and also is the only founding member of AIIB from Central and Eastern Europe. With geographical advantage, strategic collaboration and active participation, we shall be confident that Poland will play an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative and the coopertaion under this framework will further enrich the China-Poland strategic partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,     

As the world’s second largest economy, largest trading nation in goods and the biggest trading partner for more than 130 countries around the world, China contributes more than 25 percent to the world economic growth in recent years. In 2017, China’s economy has a good start with GDP growth rate as 6.9% in Q1. It is estimated that in the coming 5 years, China will import eight trillion dollars goods, attract 600 billion dollars of foreign investment and make 750 billion dollars outbound investment. Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits. China is committed to new development concepts that focus on innovation, balanced growth, green economy, opening-up and inclusive development. I am full of confidence that, China will continue to be an anchor of international stability, an engine of global growth, a champion of peace and development and a contributor to global governance. China looks forward to working with all its partners to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative step by step, deliver outcome one by one, and bring true benefit to the world peace, development and prosperity.

Thank you for attention. I wish the Congress a full success!

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