Former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland talks about “One Belt, One Road”

Polish President Duda recently paid a state visit to China. Kołodko, the former deputy prime minister of Poland, recently wrote an exclusive article for the China Observer think tank under China Daily, saying that since the “Belt and Road” initiative was proposed, it has effectively promoted the development of areas along the route, but Western countries have become wary and worried about its growing influence. , and proposed similar initiatives to compete with it. In the future, the Belt and Road Initiative will enter a new stage of intertwined competition and cooperation, and coordination and compatibility with other initiatives and projects should be strengthened. Poland should play a coordinating role in East-West relations, avoid “choosing sides” and strengthen cooperation with China and the EU in a pragmatic manner.

Over the past 10 years, the Belt and Road Initiative has achieved results beyond expectations. The initiative has been joined by more than 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations, driving nearly $1 trillion in investments, enabling collaborative projects, creating jobs in partner countries and helping to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty. made significant contributions.

The Belt and Road Initiative is not a pure charity initiative. However, it is undeniable that it often helps the development of investment destination countries by providing soft loans. The “Belt and Road” initiative also includes China’s development assistance, providing support to many backward countries, such as Bangladesh and Tanzania. The Belt and Road Initiative emphasizes connectivity, poverty reduction and job creation, which has greatly contributed to the realization of many United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

However, some Western countries are increasingly nervous about China’s expanding influence and are therefore becoming increasingly aggressive in their competition with China. In this context, the US Biden administration’s “Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership” initiative and the EU’s “Global Gateway” initiative came into being. These initiatives are neither philanthropic nor imperialist exploitation, but are driven by political and economic considerations.

There is undoubtedly competition between the Belt and Road Initiative and other initiatives, and this competition is beneficial. It has happened, is ongoing now, and may continue in the future. In my opinion, this is a good phenomenon because it promotes the progress of backward countries and helps more people escape poverty. To some extent, EU leaders and officials at all levels lack a deep understanding of the nature of the Belt and Road Initiative. Instead of fueling suspicions against China or preventing Eastern European countries from accepting loans and investments from China, they should consider establishing a joint working committee with China. The agency could combine potential Chinese investments under the Belt and Road Initiative with EU co-financed infrastructure projects. All parties must understand the intentions of other initiatives and strive to be complementary rather than competitive. The most important thing is to benefit the people of the relevant countries.

Another aspect of continuing to improve the Belt and Road Initiative is that China should comprehensively consider the social and environmental side effects of the project, including inclusivity, addressing income inequality, and environmental protection. For example, when it is clear that a country cannot repay its debt sustainably, China should not lend money for any projects there.

Poland should play a greater coordinating role between East and West. As a member of the EU and NATO, Poland has a rich history, culture and complex security concerns and is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic community. But at the same time, Poland also has close ties with Eurasia. Therefore, Poland should avoid taking sides in the struggle between China and the United States or participating in the trade war. On the contrary, Poland should adopt a more active attitude in diplomacy and politics and cultivate a moderate and pragmatic attitude in East-West relations.

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