Roundup: Former French, British PMs hail "Belt and Road" initiative for boosting Asia-Europe links

2016-06-13 21:40:42 GMT2016-06-14 05:40:42(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LONDON, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Former British prime minister Gordon Brown and former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Monday hailed China-proposed "Belt and Road" initiative for boosting infrastructure links between East Asia and Europe.

Speaking during the ongoing Sino-European Entrepreneurs Summit (SEES) here, Brown noted that Chinese leaders, while spelling out the Belt and Road initiative, "talk about the benefits of convergence -- convergence of interest and the community of interest of the rest of the world."

This vision of a "world working together, integrated, interdependent, entangled" was a vision shared by European nations, he said.

"The convergence of interest and the community of interest that is your view of the future of the world is absolutely and directly relevant to the development of the Silk Road," said Brown.

Addressing the same event, Raffarin hailed the Belt and Road initiative as a major international infrastructure investment, saying it is a "gathering together of Asia and also an opening up."

"There is a need to cooperate, no country can succeed on its own. Partnership allows opening up, which is why this conference is important for all of us," he added.

Wu Jianmin, co-chairman of the SEES and a veteran diplomat from China, told an audience of several hundred Chinese and European entrepreneurs and businesspeople that he believed the timing of the summit was good.

"From the Chinese perspective, after more than 38 years of reform and opening up to the outside world we are entering a new phase of opening. 2014 was a turning point because this year China's outbound investment for the first time overtook inbound investment," said Wu.

"This is only the beginning because Chinese companies are going global. Chinese companies need it for their own development and the world will need Chinese investment," he added.

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, said that the Belt and Road initiative would provide "multiple benefits".

Liu said that the initiative would effectively promote trade and investment cooperation between China and countries along the road, and greatly facilitate cross-border flow and integration of capital, technical knowledge, information, professional and other factors.

Noting that Europe is a home to the largest concentration of advanced economies and is the biggest trading partner for China, he said, "If China and Europe can join hands and advance the belt and road initiative this would create much benefit to the world."