Commentary: Belt and Road Initiative focuses on regional public service, not geo-political tool

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by Xinhua writers Peng Tianxiao, Jin Minmin

BEIJING,   (Xinhua) — The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China is a visionary cross-continental development and cooperation mechanism that focuses on providing regional public service, rather than a geo-political tool as some worry about.

The fast progress of the initiative, with over 70 countries and international organizations joining in the past three years, is a result that reflects the regions’ desire for fair cooperation and falls in line with the rules of market economy.

Early speculations and doubts about the initiative being driven by the government will or being politicized now have little ground.

Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China and regional countries have been steadily constructing a multilateral platform with the principle of joint consultation, joint construction and sharing benefits.

Dovetailing each other’s development strategies to form an integrated regional system of public services, the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming more compatible and complimentary with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, Vietnam’s “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle” plan, Poland’s Amber Road and so on.

According to Agris Preimanis, lead economist for Central Asia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, people are changing their first impression of the Chinese initiative, as some even had described it as an “imperialistic act.”

Preimanis noted in an interview in September that the Belt and Road has been smoothly pushed forward, to some extent thanks to the special approaches contemplated by the Chinese side amid current economic situations.

The most important rule in constructing the Belt and Road is to follow the market principles and international standards, as the initiative aims at providing financing support and risk insurance besides simply creating a system of transport infrastructure and security.

With the government leading the direction, the market would play its decisive role in resource allocation and the principal performance would be given by enterprises.

Any acts that goes against the market rules would undermine the credit of the Belt and Road Initiative from the root, frustrate the companies involved and eventually spoil the potential for sustainable development.

According to Jin Qi, chair of the 40-billion-U.S. dollar Silk Road Fund established by the Chinese government in late 2014, the Belt and Road is constructed under the three basic propositions of market-driven, internationalization and professionalism.

From project design to financing arrangement, at engineering, operation or management level, every segment of implementing the Belt and Road Initiative would be activated by market.

Descending from the ancient glory maritime and land-based trading Silk Routes, the Belt and Road Initiative inherits and amplifies human’s instinctive desire to seek benefits, also the essentials of market economy.