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24 September 2017
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Belt and Road initiative leads economic globalization onto new path13.05.2017
International affairs  11:52
China. 13 May. Kazakhstan Today - The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing on May 14 and 15 and 29 heads of state and government are scheduled to attend the forum. Despite suspicions and criticism over it from the very beginning when the Belt and Road initiative was envisioned, it is now welcomed by many countries and regions. What's the reason behind this change? What does the Belt and Road mean for globalization? Global Times (GT) reporter Yin Yeping talked to Li Junru (Li), former vice president of the CPC Central Committee's Party School, on these issues.

GT: When the Belt and Road initiative was first initiated, doubts and suspicions were prevailing. Now, it has become popular among many countries around the world. What are your views on this change?

Li: The initiative could be thoroughly understood in the context of economic globalization.

The suspicions that it is China's Marshall Plan or a neocolonial approach should be dispelled. The goal of the initiative is to promote economic globalization.

The Belt and Road initiative not only conforms to the requirements of economic globalization, but also has ushered economic globalization into a new era, forming a new pattern.

GT: What role has the Belt and Road played in bringing economic globalization into a new era?

Li: Economic globalization is an irreversible and unstoppable trend, and it is accompanied by anti-globalization movements. We understand that economic globalization is a double-edged sword, but its benefits far outweigh its costs. As a result, we pursue a policy of magnifying its advantages while avoiding its disadvantages.

Forcing China into globalization was an ideological assimilation strategy used by Western countries. However, the strategy failed and the Chinese economy developed rapidly in the process.

At present, economic globalization has encountered many setbacks. Globalization was dominated by Western countries. However, Western economies are now facing economic problems, including economic hollowness, unemployment, trade deficit and financial speculation and so on. Domestic tensions have escalated as a result, leading to the rise of populism.

Many have blamed globalization for these problems. But more precisely, these problems are brought about by globalization that is led by Western countries. It requires we reform the international economic order, improve global economic governance and drive globalization into a new era.

Globalization in the past depended on navigation technology. Nowadays, the highway and high-speed rail have broken the limits of inland and maritime economy. The recent launch of a freight train from Yiwu, Zhejiang Province to Europe is one such example.

As a result, the impact of the Belt and Road initiative not only lies in strengthening economic cooperation, but also ushering economic globalization into a new era.

GT: Progress has been made in the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. What are your thoughts on the delay in construction of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road?

Li: The Maritime Silk Road mainly relies on navigation and information technology. While high-speed railway and highway helped open up inland regions, the Maritime Silk Road lacks new technologies.

The construction of the Maritime Silk Road requires the participation of many island countries.

On the one hand, they hope to join the initiative, but on the other, they worry their cooperation with China will impact their relations with other countries such as India and the US.

Nonetheless, we should not worry too much about the Maritime Silk Road, since after the Silk Road Economic Belt succeeds, it can be a driving force for the development of the Maritime Silk Road.

GT: The world is witnessing surging trade protectionism and populism while at the same time the popularity of the Belt and Road initiative is increasing. How do you explain this phenomenon?

Li: One contradiction of economic globalization led by Western countries is the differentiation in social structure and the challenges of underprivileged people. The deep-seated contradictions and problems in economic globalization are caused by the gap between the Western countries' national interests and the global interests and the divergence in the interests of these countries' domestic capital and the interests of their people.

In recent years, when participating in economic globalization, China pays a lot of attention to solving social conflicts, and has done much to alleviate people from poverty, which enables China to better enjoy the fruits of globalization, and actively promote globalization.

Source: Global Times, People's Daily

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