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SECOND BELT AND ROAD FORUM

On the eve , China inaugurated the Second belt and road forum. With all its
grandeur and exciting reception, it was an invitation to the world to come and observe the
progress that has been made since the inception of One Belt One Road Project and its flagship
program CPEC that directly engages countries of South East Asia and the Middle East. The
event was attended by representatives of over 150 countries while 37 heads of State were present
to be part of the regime. President Xi Jinping has truly made a mark for himself. The Chinese
Government has made solid progress in promoting the idea of Global Co-operation in reviving
the Silk Route in terms of trade and economic exchange. Different parts of the world are
responding differently to BRI(Belt Road Initiative), Canada, USA and UK gave the least
attention while Europe seemed to be warming up, countries of South Asia, East Asia and Middle
East have now become the most ardent supporters of BRI owing to the aggressive campaigning
of the Chinese Government, overall, it’s a story of positives and negatives. Pakistan, in
particular, continues to enjoy a unique position in the expansion of BRI. The second forum on
BRI gave out a strong message that there is no lack of commitment among the major players of
the world in the success of One Belt One Road Project.
In an attempt to gauge the magnitude of milestones achieved by BRI, one can easily look at the
volume of trade agreements that have crossed 80 Billion $ as of today. The theme of the Second
Forum was “Global Co-operation”. State heads of 10 ASEAN countries were available to
promote BRI and their willingness to invest and reap the benefits. Another success on the event
was the presence of leaders from Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan. The forum was also
fully recognized by the United Nations with the presence of its Secretary General. Apparently,
the slogan of BRI to promote global co-operation instead of parochial nationalism is in line with
the aims of the United Nations. The Deputy Head of National Development of China
commented, “a more open and efficient international cooperation platform; a closer, stronger
partnership network; and to push for a more just, reasonable and balanced international
governance system.” 37 Heads of States and representatives from over 150 countries actively
engaged in the details of progress that has been made in BRI and the prospects for the next 5
years. The Forum was a comprehensive event to strengthen the trust of partner countries and
attracting affluent investors.
One of the most notable features of the Second BRI Forum was the presence of European
diplomats. Initially, during the first forum that was held in 2017, European countries like France,
Germany, Spain, Portugal and Norway had shared their reservations regarding the expansionist
policies of the Chinese Government. With the slow-down in the European economies, BRI now
seems like a more plausible alternative. 12 out of 37 heads of State were from Europe in the

Second Forum. China has successfully sparked the interest of European countries and their
greatest triumph is the signing of co-operation agreements worth billions with Italy and Portugal.
China’s One Belt One Road project has crossed over to Europe and its branches are looking
healthier than ever.
Global and Regional Co-operation among countries and maximization of trade and services was
the epitome of the second BRI Forum. Donald Trump has blatantly attacked International Trade
and the charters of the World Trade Organization which promotes free Trade of Goods and
Services. Increased tariff lines and banning imports from specific countries to safeguard national
interest is the hallmark of Western powers in the current era. UK has opted out of the European
Union and continues to explore the possibility of finding economic prosperity in the
controversies and frustrations sparked by Brexit. India, after the event of pulwama attack, raised
the Customs tariff on imports from Pakistan by 200%. Similar scenarios are visible in Africa,
Middle East and South America. With such grave nationalist agendas, BRI is a breath of fresh
air. The Second BRI Forum was a display of commitment of major powers of the world to give
Globalization another chance. Certainly, Globalization goes hand in hand with regional co-
operation and expansion of trade and commerce. BRI was looked at, atleast in the start, as the
tool of Neo-colonial expansion of a rising super power that is China. But, the argument seems to
be turning into something much more wholesome and progressive. The Chinese philosophy
behind BRI is that it is not only a project to promote global and regional trade, but also,
exchange of cultural, economic, technological and strategic ties. This is more than just trade, it a
strategic partnership for tremendous mutual gains.
Pakistan is still at the helm of affairs. There has been considerable progress but there is a long
way to go. The Government of Imran Khan has sought review of the terms and conditions
associated with CPEC. As the economists and financial experts of ace organizations, criticized
CPEC as a debt trap for countries like Pakistan, hence, the current regime has made it a priority
to make the conditions of CPEC beneficial for both the nations. The tax breaks given to Chinese
companies and the loan structures, which seemed skewed towards big Chinese firms, have now
been put to the table for fair play. The Second BRI forum formally addressed these concerns.
The Chinese Premier openly explained that the Chinese Government is committed to
transparency, integrity and mutually beneficial prospects of BRI. Prime Minister Imran khan is
giving a new face to the collaboration between the two countries. During the event, Imran Khan
applauded the efforts and vision of President Xi Jinping and shared his views and progress on
CPEC since 2013.
The Chinese Government has signaled to the world that BRI is an all-inclusive project. For
decades, Chinese manufactured goods and their services were considered sub-standard as
compared to their Western counterparts. Clearly, the tables have now turned. China and BRI now
represent a brand that is attractive to all businessmen across the globe. During the forum, Xi
Jinping announced the addition of 100 Billion Yuan just to attract more investors and
stakeholders into BRI. Moreover, the Second BRI Forum was a challenge to the state-centric
politics and trade profiteering of the United States. If all goes according to plan, especially
within the context of previous forum to the present one, China is set to become the real champion

of Globalization of the modern world.

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