Executive Intelligence Review


Wang Yi Tells CELAC: Build the BRI, Take the ‘Express Train of China's Development'

Jan. 21, 2018 (EIRNS)—The title of the China-CELAC Forum (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) which will begin tomorrow in Santiago, Chile, "Working for More Development, Innovation and Cooperation for Our People: A Common Destiny—the Belt and Road," is most telling.

As China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi explained in an interview published today in the Chilean daily El Mercurio, the message China wants to transmit to the representatives of the 33 Latin American/Caribbean (LAC) nations attending the summit is this:

"China is willing to continue considering [the LAC nations] as priority and important partners and deepen cooperation in the framework of the China-CELAC Forum, as well as joint construction of the Belt and Road, aiming for shared development and adhering to the principles of mutual respect and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit."

After offering a detailed description of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), its motives and global success, the number of countries participating, projects underway, financing, etc. Wang elaborated on the idea of the two regions jointly building the BRI.

First, he said,

"as an intimate friend and great partner of Latin America and the Caribbean, it's natural for China to want to see all the nations of the region participate in the process of jointly building the Belt and Road, so that they make take the next ‘express train' of China's development"

(that is, develop as rapidly as China has) "and share the enormous opportunities, and dividends offered by this platform for global cooperation." Secondly, he pointed out that despite the great geographical distance, the LAC region was part of the Maritime Silk Road historically,

"and it is a natural extension of the current one.... It is our hope that more and more countries of Latin America and the Caribbean come to know and participate in the Belt and Road, to inject an even more energetic driver to the cooperation between China and the region, through the joint construction of this project."

He emphasized that China cooperates with all nations of the region, regardless of their political persuasion.

In Santiago today, the main activities consist of a meeting between Wang Yi and his Chilean counterpart Heraldo Munoz, followed by meetings between Wang Yi and Munoz with the four-nation CELAC leadership "quartet"—El Salvador, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. Tomorrow, following a plenary session, the foreign ministers will issue an action plan for the next three years and hold a press conference.