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Foreign Relations, Belt and Road Initiative

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Notes from the Symposium on China Studies Beijing July 24-5 2018 – Dave Bromwich

Unilateralism and protectionism has no future: currently we are undergoing the most dramatic turmoil since the cold war.

A need to create a new model for a community of shared human destiny for the future, a new philosophy for development, creating harmony in diversity.

Abandonment of old fashioned Confucianism – conservative, but also a review can give an intrinsically innovative model.
Xi Jinping’s thoughts for Chinese diplomacy in the new area:

  • Shared community for a common destiny with mutual respect and diverse thinking.
  • Openness, inclusiveness, respect differences – co-existence rather than conflict
  • Dialogue for conflict resolution
  • Common prosperity
  • Environmental protection

Establishing a new type international relations, first proposed in 2013: a model for global governance:

  • Brics as an example to develop economies, inclusiveness
  • Implementation of BRI initiative (cf strategy): interconnectivity as international relationships
  • A social cultural initiative of benefit for all rather than solely a profit driven materialistic approach
  • BRI is for mutual benefit, rather than pointing the finger at China as a threat, or a new form of imperialism.

Stages of China’s development:

  1. Opening up period 1978
  2. Going out, phase one: join the world, WTO; also includes opening up to Chinese people, transparency.
  3. Going out phase two: BRI as extension of going out -: policy, infrastructure, trade, finances/investment (AIIB, BRIC development bank, etc total 380 billion rmb), minds- people to people exchanges.

Good governance needs to include robust local community participation, wherever it reaches out.

Some comments from country representatives

Romania

Cucuteni Culture and Yangshao Culture (banpo, near Xi’an in Shaanxi province) connectivity 5-7000 years ago presents a new understanding of the period of contact between European and Chinese cultures. (An article for the future?)

Ethiopia
BRI is in harmony with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, especially no.s 8 &9 https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html

Burundi
In response to a question about the threat of China as a new colonial power, the speaker stated firmly that Burundi, as with most African nations, have suffered the consequence of European colonial imperialism for a considerable period. The Chinese presence was not like this at all, it is respectful, transparent and participatory with shared benefits.