MONDAY 5, May: Beijing is hosting a high-level international cooperation forum, dubbed “One Belt, One Road,” which brings together dozens of heads of state and government, along with financial organizations and hundreds of business representatives and entrepreneurs from the 14 to 15 May, 2017.


At the opening ceremony of the two day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation High-Level Dialogue, which the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Secretary General, François Martel was formally invited to, China’s president, Xi Jinping, provided a platform for building a new reality of fair and mutually-beneficial cooperation and pledged $124 billion for the ambitious Belt and Road initiative, saying it will promote global trade and sustainable development.

“We should jointly create an environment that will facilitate opening up and development, establish a fair, equitable, and transparent system of international trade and investment rules,” said President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese President vowed to give 60 billion yuan ($8.7 billion) in aid to countries and international organizations that take part in China’s new Silk Road project. The Chinese leader also said that the project is open to all countries, including those in Africa and Europe, including a link to the Pacific Islands.

“It is indeed a pleasure to represent the Pacific Islands Development Forum in this meeting being held in China, a country that has emerged as a leader in important development areas such as climate change action, low-carbon development, green growth and renewable energy, so important for Pacific island countries,” said the PIDF Secretary General.

“The flip side of the coin is that those commitments being made at regional and international level need to connect with our national priorities. This is not always easy in an environment where we now have a plethora of international and regional conventions and declarations.  The alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the 2030 Agenda Framework and the Paris Agreement was strongly emphasized by the President of the General Assembly, HE Peter Thomson of Fiji and the UN Secretary General in their key note addresses to the Conference” further added Secretary General Martel.

The Belt and Road Initiative was first proposed by China in 2013. It envisions two components: the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that are expected to cover more than 60 percent of the world’s population and more than one-third of the global economic output.  The Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama was in attendance at the High-level Dialogue meeting, and the Forum was also attended by Pacific high-level delegations from Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa.