A recent American research report on Chinese projects abroad under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) points to many major problems like corruption, labor violations, environmental risks and public protests, causing that participating countries' willingness is fading. What is your comment on this? Besides, what is China's role in foreign assistance and international cooperation regarding the BRI? Thank you!
This is a very good question. To build a community with a shared future for mankind is the essence of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and the BRI cooperation has been considered as an important platform. President Xi Jinping on Sept 21 proposed a Global Development Initiative, which was highly spoken of by the UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the UN would support and cooperate closely with China to further promote the Initiative when he met with President Xi yesterday via video link.
This question has also attracted much attention. I will invite my colleague Deng Boqing to answer it.
Thank you for your question. As the most significant platform for building a community with a shared future for mankind, the BRI highly resonates with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has been widely recognized by the international community. To date, up to 140 partner countries and 32 international organizations have signed documents on Belt and Road cooperation with China. Over 90 bilateral mechanisms have been established.
We follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and champion the philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation, in a bid to make Belt and Road cooperation high-standard, people-centered and sustainable. With regard to a blueprint and specific project for the BRI, we always act in the spirit of broad participation and equal negotiation in a public and transparent way and take a "zero tolerance" approach to corruption. Recently, President Xi Jinping announced that China would not build any new coal-fired power plants abroad, which are highly praised by the international community.
It is our important responsibility to serve the BRI. President Xi Jinping announced a series of foreign assistance measures at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), including that China will provide assistance worth 60 billion yuan to developing countries and international organizations participating in the BRI and China will launch 100 "happy home" projects, 100 poverty alleviation projects and 100 health care and rehabilitation projects in countries along the route. We have fully implemented these measures and make greater efforts to support the BRI. The overall effects of China's foreign assistance are on a consistently upward trajectory.
Since the pandemic, some projects have been affected. However, it is an indispensable obligation for China to help other countries fight against COVID-19 and restart development. During the pandemic , China has stepped forward to inject impetus into the implementation of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Instead of hitting the "pause" button, we have continued to jointly build the BRI despite challenges and promote global development and cooperation with great zeal. We noticed that during the pandemic, a series of major projects such as the China-Laos Railway and the Hungary-Serbia Railway made breakthrough progress. Meanwhile, China-Europe freight trains and traffic volume throughout the year expanded 50% and 56% year on year, respectively. In addition, China's non-financial outbound direct investment to countries involved in the BRI rose by 18.3% year on year.
We will continue to act according to our capability and try our best to help those countries in need without any political conditions by the principle of equal treatment and mutual respect, to better serve the Belt and Road Initiative. Thank you.