As the world eagerly awaits the commencement of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, scheduled to be held in Beijing from October 17 to 18, anticipation and enthusiasm are at an all-time high. Under the theme “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity,” this forum is poised to be a pivotal event in the realm of global diplomacy. The significance of this occasion is underscored by the presence of President Xi Jinping, who will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.
Pakistan Prime Minister’s participation
A noteworthy highlight of the forum is the attendance of Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar from Pakistan, reflecting the warm relations between China and Pakistan. Prime Minister Kakar’s participation is not merely symbolic; it signifies a deep commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The prime minister is undertaking the visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Foreign Office spokesperson said at a weekly press briefing. According to the spokeswoman, PM Kakar will also hold a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping, key Chinese officials, and other leaders present at the Belt and Road Forum. According to the foreign office, the prime minister will also meet with influential Chinese businesspeople to boost bilateral trade and investment. He will also visit Urumqi and meet with businesses and government leaders there to strengthen commercial, investment, and personal ties. The visit comes in the backdrop of the ongoing celebrations marking the ten years of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor flagship project of the Belt and Road initiative.
This gathering of minds and nations is monumental, marking the 10th anniversary of the BRI, a visionary project that has transformed the global approach to development. With representatives from 130 countries and 30 international organizations, the forum promises a diverse array of perspectives, especially from Latin America and Africa, contributing to the global tapestry of cooperation. According to the Chinese International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) the BRI has so far completed over 3,000 projects in the last ten years. This expansive effort has garnered support from more than 180 countries and international organizations which is a good omen for the regional as well as international economy.
Hopefully, the next decade would also be full of economic, industrial, green energy transformation, human capital development, health, climate change and last but not the least, true reflection of multiculturalism in which Global South will achieve its desired goals of socio-economic prosperity and sustainable growth. Moreover, despite severe geopolitics of the US, EU and now India to contain China and collapse its economy have announced their own trans-regional projects namely Build Back Better World (BBBW), Global Gateway (GGW) and India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) but all of these projects have not yet “surfaced” and “materialized”. The most recent Israel-Hamas war would further produce strains on IMEC and BBBW.
During the forum, major accomplishments and upcoming goals of the CPEC will be highlighted. The BRI’s spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits will be reiterated, emphasizing the inclusivity and openness of this initiative. China’s commitment to supporting high-quality development in Pakistan and the tangible benefits brought by the CPEC, including substantial investments, job creation, and infrastructure development, will be reaffirmed.
According to reliable diplomatic sources, Pakistan and China are set to sign over two dozen pacts at the 3rd BRI Forum. The Chinese embassy has confirmed that the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) has proposed to sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with relevant Pakistani authorities during Caretaker Premier Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s upcoming visit to China to attend the forum. The agreements will cover eight key areas: Urban Sustainable Development, major issues of Belt and Road Cooperation, Mineral Development and Industrial Cooperation, Research on Routes for Industrial Cooperation, Expert Exchange Mechanism, Expert Communication Mechanism on Gwadar Port Development, Green and Low-carbon Development, and Digital Economy Cooperation.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Mission in Beijing has shared a list of 19 MoUs which are expected to be signed/announced during the visit of Mr. Kakar. Moreover, Main Railway Line-1, Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), realignment of KKH (Thakot-Raikot) will also be discussed during the 3rd BRI forum. D I Khan- Zhob Road Project, Mirpur-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra road, Babusar tunnel and Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) will also be discussed.
China has shared a draft MoU on development of renewable energy projects in Pakistan on September 26, 2023. Pakistan is reviewing the proposal.
The Pakistani side has completed all formalities pertaining to 1320-MW Thar Block-1(Shanghai) and 300-MW coal project Gwadar, hopefully both sides will make substantive progress.
Vital Forum at a critical time
It is predicted that the genie of geopolitics would further divide the world in the future. The regional as well as global economies would be on the mercy of obsessive power politics of the US and the West. The incidents of de-coupling and de-risking would be further accelerated creating serious hurdles in global value supply chains.
The BRI, over the past decade, has become a beacon of cooperation, breaking down geographical barriers and fostering economic growth. China’s dedication to openness, inclusiveness, and equal partnerships is reflected in its collaboration with more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations. As the world faces challenges like geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainties, the BRI stands tall as a testament to the power of international cooperation.
Representatives from 130 countries as well as 30 international organizations will participate in the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing this month, a Chinese official said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The forum is not only the highlight in a series of commemorative events to mark the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’s 10th anniversary, but also an important platform for all partners to plan high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, Li Kexin, director general of the Department of International Economic Affairs of China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a conference about the publication of a white paper on the BRI.
In its third edition, the BRF has become a crucial multilateral platform for countries and regions participating in the joint construction of the BRI to take stock on the progress and draw plans for future cooperation. The second BRF was held in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s BRF carries extra significance as it also marks the 10th anniversary of the proposal of BRI.
Participation in the forum has greatly exceeded expectations, which shows that all parties have attached great importance to it; the current complex global geo-economic situation also means that the forum will draw attention from around the world, said analysts.