The joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) achieved sound results in the first half of this year despite the pandemic, as reflected in the steady promotion of key projects, growing economic and trade cooperation as well as rising international consensus on joint cooperation under the initiative, Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
Construction of key projects along the BRI routes has been carried out in a stable manner in the first half – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has witnessed high-quality development, and the building of China-Laos Railway, Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, China-Thailand Railway and Hungary-Serbia Railway has advanced smoothly.
Strengthened pandemic control efforts by related Chinese enterprises prevented wide spread of COVID-19 in areas where BRI projects are located, according to Meng.
“Economic and trade cooperation under the BRI have also improved both in quantity and quality,” Meng said. During the first half, goods trade between China and countries along the BRI routes rose 37.9 percent year-on-year to $824.55 billion, according to data released at the press conference.
China’s non-financial direct investment in these countries reached $9.58 billion, up 18 percent on a yearly basis, and foreign contracted projects completed a turnover of $39.35 billion, up 10.6 percent year-on-year.
The rapid growth of the China-Europe freight train service has contributed to stabilizing international logistics and supply chains. From January to June, the total number of China Railway Express trips hit 7,377, with 73 lines for the freight trains reaching 168 cities in 23 countries, Meng said.
In the past half year, President Xi Jinping delivered a series of important speeches on multiple occasions such as the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 and the Global Health Summit, expounding the proposition of jointly building the BRI and responding to social concerns, which won the respect and praise of the international community, Meng noted.
In a bid to confront challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, China has strived to provide more than 700 million doses of vaccines to countries across the world. “China will unswervingly promote the high-quality development of the BRI and contribute to the establishment of a new development pattern and global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era,” Meng said.