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Minister Ma Hui Attends Seminar at Cambridge University on the Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications on the Future of the World

On June 12, 2019, Minister Ma Hui attended the Seminar organized by China Business Society of the Cambridge Judge Business School entitled the Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications on the Future of the World and delivered a speech. Chairman Stephen Perry of the 48 Group Club, CEO Henry Tillman of Grisons Peak, Chairman Martin Jones and Director Mei Jianjun of Needham Research Institute, University of Cambridge, and more than 70 teachers and students from the Cambridge Judge Business School were present.

Minister Ma noted in his speech that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 has received extensive support and positive response from the international community, despite of some discrediting and defaming talks. He shared his perspectives on the significance of the BRI from four aspects. First, it is the 21st century version of the ancient Silk Road focusing on reviving the spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win results. Second, it is an upgrading of China’s opening up policy aimed at all-round and high-level opening up. Third, it is a new platform for eliminating development deficit and achieving common prosperity while advancing China’s own progress. Fourth, it is an important vehicle to practice the idea of building a community of a shared future of mankind and a beautiful ecological world with lasting peace, common security and prosperity, openness and inclusiveness under the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit.

Ma added that the world today is at a crossroads. It matters enormously whether countries choose to build walls or build bridges, help each other or beggar thy neighbour, to pursue multilateralism or resort to unilateralism, to promote globalism or focus on “us first”, and to foster dialogue or incite conflict between civilizations. Building the Belt and Road Initiative is to support an open world economy and a global partnership. With the growing awareness of the merits of the BRI, more countries and enterprises will participate in it.

Minister Ma answered questions of the students from China, India, Ghana and etc. about the benefits of the BRI to China’s development, the significance of China’s wisdom to global governance, what China would do to help African countries achieve development, China-US trade frictions and consultations, and the US ban on Huawei. Ma shared his views on the truth behind the severe setbacks in China-US trade talks and refuted the allegations, such as “the US is suffering from losses”, “Tariffs are good for the US”, “China goes on its word”, “Huawei threatens American security”, and “intellectual property theft”. He pointed out that the trade wars clamoured by some in the US who pursue “America First” would suppress Chinese high-tech enterprises, increase international trade costs, curb global trade and economic growth, disrupt global supply chains, and impose heavy burden on US companies and consumers. This is harmful to not only the world but also the US itself. China does not want a trade war, but if the US insists on provocation, China is not afraid of it. Banning a Chinese private enterprise Huawei is a violation of the market principles and an apparent attempt to curb China’s progress. However, no one could stop China’s development. He expressed the hope that the British side would make a right decision on Huawei's involvement in the British 5G network construction, which would be in line with its national interests and help promote China-UK cooperation.

Relating their own experiences in exchanges and cooperation with China, and based on a large amount of data and facts, Perry and Tillman emphasized that the BRI has made rapid progress and achieved remarkable results, greatly promoting the economic growth and social development of many countries, including Pakistan, Greece, Ethiopia and Oman. The BRI would bring profound changes to many developing countries and the world at large and have a positive and significant impact on the future of the world. Expansion and hegemonism are not in the Chinese DNA. New China’s diplomacy is always in accordance with the principles of mutual respect, peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit. It is China’s sincere wish to help developing countries to promote their economies and improve their livelihood. The BRI, proposed and led by China, is in line with Chinese traditional culture and foreign diplomacy. China has responded to the concerns of all parties in good faith and adopted practical measures to promote the high quality and sustainable development of the BRI.

Jones and Mei Jianjun said that Europe and the world have benefited from China’s inventions. Carrying forward the spirit of the ancient Silk Road to build the BRI is conducive to world peace, development and prosperity.

The teachers and students expressed appreciation to Minister Ma and other speakers for helping them to see beyond Western media reports and enhance understanding of China’s policies and positions, which is very helpful for their study, teaching and research.

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