On April 18, 2017, when answering questions from journalists at the briefing for Chinese and foreign media held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed that, it is necessary to understand the historical background of the “Belt and Road” initiative before understanding its connotation and objectives. The world economy has been sluggish and trade and investment have remained depressed since the outbreak of international financial crisis. According to the latest report of UN Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank, foreign direct investment around the world has dropped by 13 percent in 2016, and the trade volume has grown by slightly above 1 percent, which is the worst performance since the financial crisis in 2008. In the meantime, against the backdrop of unprecedented productivity development, we do not lack the resources or ability to address our problems, but the current fragmented and exclusive international cooperation makes it difficult to effectively integrate resources. The world today is in urgent need of an open, inclusive and shared cooperation platform that brings all parties together to jointly cope with global challenges.
Under such a general background, the “Belt and Road” initiative came into being naturally, creating a timely platform for international cooperation and providing a shared plan to pull the world out of the economic mire.
Wang Yi noted that the “Belt and Road” initiative advocates shared development of all nations, so it has abundant connotations and an extensive range of cooperation. At least four aspects should be included to summarize the goals of the “Belt and Road” initiative. Firstly, we need to align the development strategies and policies of various countries, so that we can complement our advantages and develop in a collaborative way to deal with the imbalance of global development and the fragmented international cooperation. Secondly, we need to work together to break the bottleneck of inadequate infrastructure, explore the economic growth potential from the supply side and improve cross-boundary connectivity to generate radiating effect in a bid to realize interactive development of all countries. Thirdly, we need to strengthen financial cooperation and build a system to support sustained world economic growth and to consummate regional industrial distribution. Fourthly, we need to deepen friendly exchanges among people of all countries to form a positive cycle between economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, and create a peaceful and tranquil environment for development.