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Address by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Jinxiong Seminar on OBOR Opportunities for China-CELAC Cooperation
2017/12/07

Your Excellencies, Ambassador Halfhide, Ambassador Kolader,

Minster Hoefdraad, Minister Welzijn,

Governor Gersie,

Professors,

Colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for attending the Seminar on OBOR Opportunities for China-CELAC Cooperation, an event co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy and BUZA.

In the autumn of 2013, during his trip to Kazakhstan and Indonesia, President Xi Jinping proposed to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, known as OBOR or the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past four years, China has been committed to enhancing connectivity in five areas, namely policy, infrastructure, trade and investment, finance and people-to-people exchanges under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. To date, over 100 countries and international organizations have supported and got involved in this initiative. Important resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council contain reference to it. Thanks to our joint efforts, the vision of the Belt and Road Initiative is becoming a reality and bearing rich fruit.

A few figures merit mentioning here: China has signed more than 130 bilateral and regional transport agreements with OBOR countries. China has invested more than 50 billion U.S. dollars in countries along the Belt and Road. China has contributed 40 billion USD to set up a Silk Road Fund to finance projects, with 5.3 billion dollars already being allocated. China will continue to scale up financing support for the Belt and Road Initiative by contributing an additional RMB 100 billion to the Silk Road Fund. The China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China will set up special lending schemes respectively worth RMB 250 billion equivalent and RMB 130 billion equivalent to support Belt and Road cooperation on infrastructure, industrial capacity and financing.

During the 19th National Party Congress concluded this October, President Xi stressed that China will continue to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority to achieve shared growth and work together with the rest of the world in building a community with a shared future for mankind, and an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Latin America is a natural extension of the Maritime Silk Road. Our relationship and profound friendship dates far back into history. We have similar experiences in fighting for independence. Our economies are highly complementary. With China opening up wider and connecting closer to the rest of the world under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, there definitely will be more opportunities for China-CELAC cooperation. We stand ready to strengthen policy coordination with our Latin American and Caribbean partners to draw synergy out of our respective development strategies so as to generate more productive collaboration that will further benefit our two peoples.

Now some critical question remain. How can we get there? How this country in particular can make the best out of the Initiative? Though confronted with tremendous challenges, Suriname is a land with great potential. The Surinamese Government has targeted diversification of its economy and improvement of people’s lively-hood as priorities in its strategic plan for development. Many of my friends here have certainly noticed the unprecedented connectivity and salient achievements brought by the Belt and Road Initiative. I have been frequently asked what needs to be done if Suriname wants to board the express train of Initiative. That is precisely why we are here today. We have experts from China, the US and Suriname, policy makers, diplomats, bankers, and entrepreneurs present here today. I look forward to listening to your thought-provoking observations and I challenge you to inspire us all to come up with brilliant ideas so that we can make the Belt and Road Initiative more inclusive in this region.

Thank you. I wish the seminar a complete success!

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